, 2014

Kilmarnock planners recommend
two new commission appointments

The two nominees were approved
by the town council Monday.
by Renss Greene

KILMARNOCK—The Kilmarnock Planning Commission met August 13 to discuss the town’s Comprehensive Plan and two pending vacancies among its membership.

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August’s meeting was the last for longtime commissioner Steve Bonner, whose term is up and who did not seek reappointment. Town planner Marshall Sebra said commissioner Les Spivey has also sent in a formal resignation, cutting his term short because of a career change.

Sebra said two applications for the positions have been received by the town. Both applicants were at the August meeting: Major Christopher Allen, chief of security at the Haynesville Correctional Center, and Patricia “Poppy” Cockrell.

“I just want to see it [the Town of Kilmarnock] continue on the same track it’s on,” said Cockrell. “It’s on such an upward track, I think. The planning commission so far, I think, has done a wonderful job, and I just hope I can be part of that winning team.”

In an interview, Cockrell said she has experience as a community organizer, including working at the polls during elections and involvement with the Holly Ball, a Kilmarnock gathering begun in 1895 which disperses its proceeds to many area charitable organizations.

“I want to see it succeed as well,” said Allen. “I’m raising my family here. We’re invested in this town, we plan on staying here for a long time.” He said he brings experience from working with Department of Corrections leadership to develop the department’s three-year strategic plan and “a unique ability to suspend judgment until all information is in to get a comprehensive and accurate response to any problem” that comes before him.

The commission recommended to the town council that Allen and Cockrell be appointed to fill the vacancies. The town council approved the appointments at its August meeting. Allen will fill Bonner’s seat and Cockrell will finish Spivey’s term, which ends in 2016.

Sebra and commissioner Ann Towner reported to the commission on their progress in updating the Comprehensive Plan. Sebra explained that staff updates have mostly involved updating maps and tables in the plan to include more recent studies and data. When it comes to the policy matters, said Sebra, “It’s going to be the planning commission’s task to look at those policies and decide whether or not they need to be amended, or taken out, or changed somehow.”

“I think we are very close to more of a final draft, where we can review it as a group here in the near future, and then schedule a public hearing,” said Sebra. The updated comprehensive plan will need to go through public hearings and win town council approval before it becomes official.

Council member Shawn Donahue, the council’s liason to the planning commission, posed some questions about the update during the meeting.

“I think Marshall, Ann, you guys did a very, very nice job on this. Congratulations,” said Donahue, before asking questions about sections of the plan involving the Enterprize Zone designation, “gateways” into Kilmarnock, boundary line adjustments and recreation. “Gateways” in the plan refer to routes of access into Kilmarnock.

“Suffice it to say, Marshall and I have spent a lot of time on this,” said Towner.

The planning commission also voted to move its meetings from the second Tuesday of each month to the second Monday. The next planning commission meeting will be on September 9 at 7 p.m.

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