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The Spring Hill Municipal Planning Commission is debating whether to extend its site plan application process for developers by 30 days.

Planning director Calvin Abram said the extension would allow better customer service to applicants, while still giving city staff more time to review site plans before appearing before the planning committee or other government programs.

The subject emerged as an item of discussion during the planning committee’s working session on Monday. It will be presented as a formal voting point during the September / October series of meetings. The topic will then be transferred to BOMA, who will vote on the final approval.

Although the intention was to give city staff, who currently operate without a city engineer, more time to review applications, some planning board members were unsure whether more time was needed.

“Maybe 18 months or two years ago, we already added two weeks to the start of the application,” said Alderman Matt Fitterer. “In general, I have always been sensitive to the length of our process, and I would like it to be as short as possible.”

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City administrator Pam Caskie responded by saying that city staff wished not to unnecessarily prolong the application process for all developments, but there are some cases where more time is needed.

“We’re looking at a variable conversation that says, ‘If you’ve got this, then you need that kind of time,’” Caskie said.

Fitterer said he understood the intent of the proposed change, as well as the relief it would bring to an already small staff.

There was also a period when the deadline for site plan requests was weeks or even days.

Hearing how such a strict deadline was once administered by the city, Caskie in disbelief simply said, “Damn it.”

She also added that there are other aspects of Planning Commission meetings that could be adjusted, much like the new BOMA process that includes elements of voting during the working session – elements of the working session also appearing during voting meetings.

Caskie believes the same can be accomplished by the planning board, especially things like bonds – they don’t require outstanding approval conditions.

City attorney Patrick Carter said he agreed and there may not be a need to submit every item to the working session discussion process and subsequent vote for two weeks. .

“Is there a reason we can’t say, ‘Okay, there are these obligations that are on your agenda. Does anyone have questions or concerns about any of these? “” Carter said.

“And if it’s ‘no’, we move on to the next section.”

Fitterer said his main argument was not to come up with an allowance that would potentially prolong the approval process more than necessary.

“It wasn’t that long ago that we had a three week process,” he said. “Now we have a six-week process. I don’t want to do without a 12-week process.”

Alderman Trent Linville concluded the discussion by asking if the proposal was based on municipal staff shortages or if it was the right policy.

Caskie responded by saying that when she oversaw city administration in Sevierville, the policy was to give candidates a full month for the exam. It was also a much less complicated order to navigate.