East Carbon City's Planning and Zoning board may be on hiatus after two more board members turned in their resignations to the city.
Board members Helen Garr and Carolyn Abeyta both turned in their resignations to the city within the past two weeks. Reasons for their resignation were not immediately known as Garr could not be reached for comment. When reached by telephone, Abeyta said she served for three years on the board but declined to comment on the issue.
The Planning and Zoning board began losing board members when Joyce Caviness, who served as chairperson, turned in her resignation to the city last month. In a fax sent to the Sun Advocate, Caviness said she was resigning because she was "tired of the politics" and "people looking to place blame".
Caviness said she loved serving on the board for the city, especially for the people of East Carbon. But recent discussions at city council meetings about property sales caused her to reevaluate her choice to serve as chairperson.
"It was just enough," she said. "I am very happy to have served the years I have for the city but I will not serve any more under this mayor and city council."
Councilman David Avery said he thought one of the reasons Caviness, Garr and Abeyta resigned was because of what has been said at city council meetings including being told they were not doing their job correctly.
"They were all doing the best they could and were following their jobs," Avery said.
Avery said that people have complained about what takes place at Planning and Zoning meetings but they have never asked to see the minutes from the meetings or requested a special meeting to discuss issues.
Property sales have been a topic of discussion for the past few months and Mayor Orlando LaFontaine, city council members and those looking to purchase properties have been questioning why the process has been considered by some to be long and drawn out. Caviness said she believed the city council did not set and follow the correct procedures for purchasing property from the city. But she acknowledged that the process is not something that can be finished in a day.
"Buying land from the city is not an overnight deal," she said noting the applications, hearings and discussions with city council that must take place.
Caviness said she also felt there was some unfair criticism towards the board when Mayor LaFontaine said during a public hearing last month that the Planning and Zoning office was a "disgraceful place". Caviness said that "homeless articles" from around City Hall were put into the office space during the refurbishing period causing problems for people looking for information.
Avery said that the office is filled with many items from around City Hall, including a piano. Because of the extra materials in the office, he said looking for maps of the local area in the office has become much harder to do.
Members still left on the Planning and Zoning board include Councilman Darrell Valdez, Marcus Palacios, Sherry Shaff, Liz Ferguson and Earl Gunderson. Councilman Avery attends the meetings as a liaison between the board and the city council.
"It's sad to see good people resign from the board," Avery said.
Avery noted that the city will begin looking into advertising for new board members and will need to name a new chairperson in the coming weeks. Until new board members are announced, no meetings can take place as there are not enough people for a quorum, he said.