Lakewood Forms Zoning Code Committee

LAKEWOOD – The Lakewood Village Board has formed a committee to re-examine its zoning code.

On Monday, David Wordelmann, village mayor, announced his recommendations for those he wants on the new committee. His recommendations included Susan Drago, village trustee and deputy mayor; William Chandler, village Zoning Board of Appeals chairman; Jon Pearson, village Planning Board chairman; Charles Smith, village code enforcement officer and building inspector; Edward Wright, village attorney; Joseph Johnson, village clerk; one member from both the Zoning and Planning boards selected by the chairman of each; and himself as chairman of the new committee.

In addition, Wordelmann recommended a subcommittee that includes David DiSalvo and John Jablonski III, village trustees. During a Village Board meeting in May, the committee to re-examine village codes was discussed, with DiSalvo and Jablonski stating one of them, if not both, should be on the new committee. DiSalvo said with two members of the Village Board with master’s degrees in urban planning, with particular expertise in zoning and planning, Jablonski and himself could be great assets in the process.

On Monday, Wordelmann said because of the state’s Open Meetings Law, a quorum of any of the village boards cannot be part of the committee without having to publicize each meeting and opening it to the public. Wordelmann said he recommended the subcommittee so DiSalvo and Jablonski can meet and pass on ideas to committee members.

DiSalvo said with two paid professionals on the Village Board – Jablonski and himself – he would recommend one of them be selected for the committee instead of Drago. Wordelmann said he picked the deputy mayor because she has been on the board longer than any other members of the Village Board other than himself.

”I do want to include your expertise,” Wordelmann said to DiSalvo and Jablonski.

Jablonski said he agrees with DiSalvo that one of them should be on the committee.

”The most qualified people should be on this committee,” he said.

The Village Board members then discussed having the meetings to discuss village zoning open to the public. The mayor said, in his experience, the more people you bring into the discussion the longer it takes to get anything accomplished. He did say that instead of waiting to have public hearings on the possible changes to village zoning at the end of the process, that they can have public hearings throughout the process so the committee knows what village residents want from possible changes.

The Village Board then voted on forming the committee that passed 3-2, with DiSalvo and Jablonski voting no.