Pickerington City Council is seeking to reduce the length of time members of the city's board of zoning appeals can serve.

Pickerington City Council is seeking to reduce the length of time members of the city's board of zoning appeals can serve.

Currenlty, members are appointed for life.

On March 20, council unanimously voted to strike the lifetime terms for the Pickerington Board of Zoning Appeals. Under the proposed legislation, which requires two additional approvals from council, three of the BZA's five members would be appointed to six-year terms. Those appointments would come by way of recommendation from council's city administration committee, but also would require approval by the full council.

The other two BZA members would be given initial three-year terms, which likewise would be granted after the city administration committee makes a recommendation that is supported by the full council. At the end of their terms, council could decide to appoint them to six-year terms or appoint new members for three-year terms.

"It's up to council review if, after three years, council puts them on for (another) six years or if we appoint someone new," said Councilman Brian Sauer, who chairs the city administration committee.

Sauer said the BZA members' six-year terms would match those currently extended to those on the Pickerington Planning and Zoning Commission.

However, he noted council has decided initially to pursue the shorter, three-year terms for two BZA members so the board could have a mix of veteran and newer members.

"That way, the BZA terms will be staggered," Sauer said. "By making the others six-year terms, it makes sure we have at least some level of continuity."

The BZA is charged with reviewing and making decisions related to variance requests and appeals on technical issues regarding permitted land uses under the city's zoning code.

Sauer said he doesn't know why past city officials implemented lifetime terms for BZA members.

However, he said he believes the proposed changes would improve the board because experienced, engaged members can be retained for multiple terms, but fresh perspectives can be brought in when needed.

"I believe that by having members serve six-year terms it will enable the BZA to serve the community as it grows and potentially changes over time, and continue to represent that effectively," Sauer said. "Also, it will ensure involved and interested members will be appointed to the BZA.

"It will ensure the BZA has members that are involved and interested and it will give council the ability to appoint members that represent the community at large as it changes over time," he said.