Graham’s city council appointed a new member for its planning and zoning board Tuesday night; as such, the appointee will also serve as a member of the city’s board of adjustment. The planning board consists of seven members, five from within the city limits who are appointed by the city council and two from the extraterritorial jurisdiction outside the city who are appointed by Alamance County’s commissioners.
Appointed to the board was John W. Wooten, 387 Carolina Circle, who received the unanimous nod from council members after Wooten and two other applicants briefly spoke to the council about their interest and qualifications.
The new council, sworn in on December 14, postponed making a decision the first time this item was on the council agenda that night, when two names were offered for the vacancy: Melissa Clay Barnes and Shanelle Harvey.
Council members said at the time that they were uncomfortable making a decision and also wanted to be sure the public was aware of the vacancy, in the hopes that additional residents would offer to volunteer for the board. The planning board seat was previously held by Bobby Chin, who was elected to the city council in November.
In addition to hearing from Wooten, who described himself as a having lived in Graham 22 years and said he appreciated that “Graham has retained its unique character,” the council also heard from Melissa Clay Barnes, who said she has studied planning at UNC-Chapel Hill; and Keith Michaels, who described himself as transplant from Chicago, living in Graham the past 9 years.
Other applicants were Harvey, Emily O’Dell, and Jim Young. Council members decided that Jim Young’s expressed request to be removed from consideration for the council seat, mentioned earlier in the meeting, did not apply to a request to be considered for the planning board seat.
However, The Alamance News has learned that the two men are not the same; while they both go by “Jim Young,” the council applicant listed his address as 1615 Broadway Drive and listed his occupation as Salvation Coffee Company. The planning board applicant named Jim Young listed his address as 207 Banks Street and his occupation as a human resources manager with Burlington Finishing Plant.
According to their applications, only Wooten and Michaels said they had ever attended a Graham planning board meeting.
Wooten is expected to be sworn in and begin service at the planning board’s meeting next week, February 15. His term will be through June 30, 2023.
Meanwhile, another vacancy has emerged on the seven-member planning board, comprised of five city members and two from the extraterritorial jurisdiction (ETJ) outside the city limits but within its planning jurisdiction.
Justin Moody, who has been an ETJ member for several years and serves as the board’s vice chairman, submitted his resignation on Friday ” due to [his] continued health issues,” which is reported to be cancer.
Moody has missed at least the last three monthly meetings of the planning board.
Alamance County’s commissioners are responsible for the appointment of the two ETJ members of Graham’s planning and zoning board, and applications should be submitted there. Moody’s remaining term, like the one filled by Wooten, is through June 30, 2023.