The Carbondale City Council wants to fill the vacancies existing in several of the commissions advising the council. In order to do so, it loosened some of the residency requirements for those who wish to serve on those boards at its most recent meeting.
On Oct. 17, the council approved an ordinance amending the city code to allow two-thirds of all members of commissions to reside within the city corporate limits. The remaining members must live within the 1.5-mile zoning jurisdiction of the city.
Boards such as the sustainability commission, human relations commission, preservation commission, planning commission and the liquor advisory board are affected by this change.
Councilman Jeff Doherty wanted to be sure the council was crystal clear on its intent, so future councils wouldn’t misinterpret the amendment’s meaning. He wanted to make sure the amendment was saying that two-thirds of all the seated commission’s members — assuming there is a full membership — must live within the corporate limits.
The reason for the pause is because empty seats occur, and a situation could arise in the middle of a term causing the balance of membership to swing in violation of the two-thirds percentage.
“I like for things to be clear, so that down the road and we are all gone, it is clear what the intent is,” Doherty said.
Henry said the intention is two-thirds of the “full” membership would be from the corporate city limits.
“That is the way I wrote it,” City Attorney Jamie Snyder said. “If you are in the middle of a term and you end up with less than the two-thirds, that’s not something the city really can’t control, but the intent is that when you are making your appointment, you make those appointments based on the two-thirds.”
The council ended up voting for the clarification that the two-thirds number applies to the full membership and disregarding temporary vacancies. Some boards include members from SIU and Carbondale Community High School, and the ordinance reads those students can live in the corporate limits or the 1.5-miles zoning code.
Councilwoman Jessica Bradshaw said there are four vacancies on the Human Relations commission, one for a SIU graduate student on the Liquor Advisory Board, four on the Sustainability Commission, and one on the Loan and Grant Review committee.
Application forms for committees are available on the city’s website at explorecarbondale.com.