Originally created 12/06/01

Planning official gets replaced



AIKEN - Aiken's Planning Commission, criticized for having members with personal interest in the city's development, will replace one such member in January.

Tad Barber, a commercial land broker and principal partner of Palmetto Properties, will not be reinstated, said Aiken City Councilwoman Lessie Price.

City council members appoint the planning commission's members. Mrs. Price nominated Mr. Barber in fall 2000. He is finishing the two-year term of William "Buzz" Jackson III, which expires Dec. 31.

Mrs. Price said she plans to appoint Aiken native Roscoe Stanley to the planning commission and will make her nomination to the city council Monday night. The council must approve the nomination.

Mrs. Price said not reinstating Mr. Barber had nothing to do with criticism of developers on the planning commission.

"He served well," Mrs. Price said. Her decision comes at a time when the city's growth has been scrutinized.

Mr. Barber voted in favor of annexing Woodside Plantation's third phase, for providing water service to a proposed hotel/conference center - with stipulations to the design plan, and cast the lone vote of support for 46 acres of commercial/residential development at Whiskey and Powderhouse roads.

All three issues faced public criticism. Residents said the projects would create traffic congestion and safety issues.

Mr. Barber said the planning commission needs members involved with development because of their expertise.

"I'm pro-growth, but I also lived here in the day when there wasn't anything around," Mr. Barber said Wednesday. "I understand the process of developers."

City Councilman Dick Smith, who was elected in November, said the planning commission needs to represent the "broader interest of the community."

"From my viewpoint, him leaving and being replaced by someone not in the development field is good," Mr. Smith said. "He's been an enthusiastic supporter of growth at any cost."

Mr. Stanley, 68, served 12 years on one of New York City's borough planning commissions. He moved back to Aiken three years ago.

Reach Josh Gelinas at (803) 279-6895 or josh.gelinas@augustachronicle.com.