The Barnesville Town Council last week hastily voted to readopt its Planning and Zoning Commission, after being notified by the state legislature that the commission's operations have been technically invalid since 1975.
Town Clerk Julia Jeffers said the council members did not know they had to periodically vote to readopt the commission. "We've never had any great activity outside of a few building projects. We issue permits to control what is built and where," she said.
"This was sort of a warning, so we decided to do it before we had any trouble, though we didn't expect any," Jeffers said.
The notice from the legislature cited several sections of the state code specifying rules for readoption of commissions. The notice did not mention any penalty for missing the deadline by eight years. However, it referred to another town that failed to comply and was defeated in court on this technicality when it tried to deny a building permit.
Jeffers said the permits issued by the commission since 1975 remain valid, despite the commission's technically invalid status.
Barnesville, which has a population of 149, has no commercial zoning, so all businesses are built with special permission. Jeffers said the town is not expecting any large businesses and it does not want any. "We're trying to stay just a small, quiet village," she said.