MILTON — Cherie Rice, the new chairwoman of the Santa Rosa County Commission Zoning Board, said the replacement members enjoyed their first meeting, even though it lasted about 4 hours, 45 minutes.
“I thought it went great,” said Rice, who was appointed by District 4 County Commissioner Dave Piech. “I wouldn’t say it was hard. We learned the system.”
Sam Parker, the Santa Rosa District 1 commissioner, suggested removing all of the zoning board members at the Oct. 21 board meeting because residents said three of the board members disrespected the voters because they took a stand against the penny sales tax referendum Oct. 8.
“From the brief clip I looked at and everyone I spoke to, I was excited and pleased with the members,” Parker said of the new board’s recent meeting. “It’s one of the most emotionally charged meetings we have. All I want to hear is they are objective. We need a good second set of eyes and ears to help us make important decisions.”
Besides Rice, the other District 4 zoning board member is Kirk Darby. Parker’s members are Adam Principe and Derrick Sammons.
Bob Cole, District 2 commissioner, appointed Rich Santo and William DuBois. Meanwhile, Don Salter, the chairman and District 3 commissioner, appointed his second member, Scott Thomas, who will be voted on at the next board meeting Dec. 12. His other representative is Laurie McGaughey.
Lane Lychard, District 5 commissioner, had both Daniel Bowen and Margaret Neyman named to the zoning board.
Jeremy Reeder, a former zoning board member for Parker, is still angry with being dismissed along with Jim Waite, who served 13 years for Salter, and Scott Kemp, who Cole chose.
“I’m baffled by the citizens,” Reeder said. “They’re a group of individuals who want to stop the county from building by any means necessary.”
Cole was the only one of the five commissioners who had voted against removing his zoning members Kemp and James Calkins.
“They made a few errors but nothing drastic,” Cole said of the new board. “I still think (replacing the zoning board) is the wrong thing to do.”