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Covington planning commission to vote on meeting times
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A vote will be held Tuesday afternoon at the Covington Planning Commission's monthly meeting on whether or not to move the commission's public hearings to a time later in the day in order to improve public access.

The rationale behind the proposal is that by moving the public hearings to the evenings after work hours, a greater number of the public will be able to attend.

There is also reasoning that in the future, when the city council and mayor need to appoint new members to the commission, they will be able to select from a larger portion of the city's population who do not have work constraints which otherwise would keep them from serving on the commission.

 The Covington Planning Commission currently holds its work session at 2 p.m. on the first Tuesday of the month and holds its monthly public hearing and regular meeting at 2 p.m. on the second Tuesday of the month.

Also to be voted on at Tuesday's hearing is whether or not to move the monthly work sessions to a time later in the day.

Covington City Manager Steve Horton said the proposal was brought forward at the request of Mayor Sam Ramsey. Horton added that one of the reasons the city council holds its meetings in the evening is so that a greater percentage of the general public will be able to attend.

Planning Commission Chairman John Presley said that while he hasn't decided how he will vote, he did feel that the change in meeting time would increase public access.

"It's probably a good proposal as far as the public is concerned," Presley said. "I think if we had a night meeting maybe more people could be there and it may even help the city council and the mayor to be able to choose a bigger variety of people to be on the Planning Commission."

Horton said he has heard comments from commission members both for and against the change in meeting time.

"It doesn't really matter to me what time we do them," said Horton who attends the meetings. "I think they'll vote like they want to."

Planning Commission Member Paul Oeland said that he was in favor of the proposal.

"My two cents was that they ought to be able to be moved," Oeland said. "I can manage it (attending the meetings) certainly but I can understand how other people would not be able to."

The city council has the option of voting against any decision that comes out of the Planning Commission but Horton said the council typically respects the decisions of the commission.

There are nine members currently serving on the Covington Planning Commission.

The commission will meet at 2 p.m., Tuesday at the Covington City Hall located on Emory Street.