Conway’s various boards and committees are facing a lack of volunteer applicants to fill positions that will soon be vacated through term limits, and the deadline to apply is Oct. 31.
According to City Clerk Michael Garrett, both the Conway Planning Commission and Conway Board of Zoning Adjustment, which have two and three openings, respectively, have only one applicant.
For the four vacant positions on the Conway Historic District Commission, two vacancies on the Old Conway Design Review Board and three vacancies in the Conway Tree Board, no one has applied, according to Garrett, and only one has applied for the Oak Grove Cemetery Board’s single vacant position.
The city can "go out and beat the bush" to drum up applicants, according to Mayor Tab Townsell, but the city would be better served if "some good people would step up and fill these positions."
"For the citizens of Conway — a city with several institutions of higher learning and a well-educated populace — if they’ve ever wanted to get involved in city government in some fashion, now’s the time," Townsell said.
Board of Zoning Adjustment member Michael Waters is one of three outgoing members of this board. His time on the board has been rewarding, he said, and "if you’ve ever felt like you want to be a part of your community, this is probably one of the best ways in the world that you can do it."
"You don’t have to be an expert," Waters said. "A lot of people think you have to be an expert in the field, but you only have to want to know about it."
Each of the boards performs an important service, Planning director Bryan Patrick said, perhaps none more so than the planning commission, which reviews rezoning requests and sends them on with a recommendation for or against the rezoning for final Conway City Council approval.
The planning commission, Patrick said, is intended to be the main source of public opinion on rezonings, which in the last few years have included several zoning changes to allow — or not allow — large apartment complexes in the city, sometimes in traditionally single-family residential areas.
In 2007, vacant positions generated nine applicants for this board, and 50 applicants for vacant positions citywide.
To nominate yourself or someone else for a city board or commission, go to www.cityofconway.org and follow the City Boards link on the upper left side of the Web page to find the nomination form or request a nomination form at City Hall.
(Staff writer Joe Lamb can be reached at 505-1238 or by E-mail at email@example.com. Send us your news at www.thecabin.net/submit.)