Members of the Grandview Heights Charter Commission agreed April 23 to recommend revising the city charter to increase the number of planning commission members.

Members of the Grandview Heights Charter Commission agreed April 23 to recommend revising the city charter to increase the number of planning commission members.

The commission agreed to recommend that two seats be added to the planning commission.

Members also agreed to recommend that the charter's current requirement that planning commission members must possess knowledge in at least one of several areas not be applied to the two additional appointees.

The commission recommended revising the charter language to state that "at least three members appointed by the mayor shall possess specific knowledge in one or more of the following areas: urban planning, architecture, engineering, historic preservation and real estate development."

The charter currently states that all members appointed by the mayor must meet those qualifications.

Planning commission members are appointed by the mayor with the concurrence of council.

In their discussion, charter commission members agreed that adding two members of the general public might bring a different perspective to the planning commission and would help reduce the impact if a commission member in a planning-related profession has to recuse him or herself because of a potential conflict of interest.

Another revision the charter group agreed to recommend would clarify that the voting members of the planning commission shall elect the chair of the planning commission from among their group.

The charter commission also agreed to recommend that the mayor and city council representative no longer be voting members of the planning commission. Instead, they would serve as ex-officio members.

In other business, the commission agreed to recommend clarifying the portions of section 13 of the charter relating to the rights of the mayor and city department heads to participate in council meetings.

The commission will recommend that the word "public" be added before "council proceedings" to clarify that the mayor and department heads do not have a right to attend executive sessions. They must be invited by council to attend the closed-door sessions.

The commission agreed to recommend deleting the words "and deliberations" after "proceedings" in the two portions of the section.

The group also reached consensus to recommend revising the portion of section 13 that gives the mayor the right to introduce ordinances at council meetings.

The word "ordinances" would be changed to the broader term "legislation" to reflect that the mayor could introduce ordinances or resolutions.

The commission also agreed to recommend:

Revising the "Council Meetings" section of the charter to add that council should elect one of its members president "at the next regular meeting upon a vacancy of the presidency."

The charter currently only states that a council president is elected at the first regular meeting in January following a regular municipal election.

Making a minor change in section 5's statement that the mayor's office "shall be in the Municipal Building of the City." The commission agreed to recommend simply changing "the Municipal Building" to the more general and lowercase "a municipal building."

The commission has three more regular meetings scheduled to complete its review of the charter.

The commission has scheduled a final meeting for May 22. Residents will be invited to attend that meeting and give their thoughts about the recommended charter revisions before the commission finalizes the set of proposals it will send to council.

The commission must forward any recommended charter amendments to city council by June 30. Council will decide whether to place any proposed amendments on the November 2008 ballot.

All proposed amendments would be included in one ballot measure, meaning residents would be asked to vote on approving all or none of the changes to the charter.

afroman@thisweeknews.com