Councilman charges Planning Board exceeded power


Pensacola City Councilman Charles Bare several months ago submitted to the council a food truck ordinance. The City Council asked the Planning Board to review it.

Councilman Bare has written COO Tamara Fountain charging the Planning Board exceeded its authority, as set for in the city code, and has drafted a significantly different ordinance with the help of city staff. He believes that the Planning Board does not have the authority to draft ordinances.

The city has made that Planning Board ordinance available on its new “Transparency Section.” However, the site doesn’t have Bare’s original proposal or any video and audio of the council and planning board discussions.

Here is Councilman Bare’s email to COO Fountain:

To: Tamara Fountain

I am very concerned about the role of the planning board in the food truck debate. Below you will find the ordinance that prescribes their powers and duties. They are staffed by mayoral employees who conceivably guided them in the production of an ordinance related to food trucks that was significantly different than the ordinance sent to them. I don’t believe their review was done with a prescribed template such as the comprehensive plan. I believe that the personalities of the board took charge. I also believe that legislating goes beyond their charge. In this case, their actions have undermined my authority as a legislator. Now, they are conceivably left without a sponsor for legislation that they should not have authored in the first place.

Here are the ordinances that Bare cited that lay out the powers of the Planning Board:

(F) Authority and duties of the planning board. The planning board shall have the following authority and duties:

(a) To advise the city council concerning the preparation, adoption and amendment of the Comprehensive Plan;

(b) To review and recommend to the city council ordinances designed to promote orderly development as set forth in the Comprehensive Plan;

(c) To hear applications and submit recommendations to the city council on the following land use matters:

1. Proposed zoning change of any specifically designated property;

2. Proposed amendments to the overall zoning ordinance;

3. Proposed subdivision plats;

4. Proposed street/alley vacation.

(d) To initiate studies on the location, condition and adequacy of specific facilities of the area. These may include, but are not limited to, studies on housing, commercial and industrial facilities, parks, schools, public buildings, public and private utilities, traffic, transportation and parking;

(e) To schedule and conduct public meetings and hearings pertaining to land development as required in other sections of the code.

(Ord. No. 34-99, § 5, 9-9-99; Ord. No. 16-10, § 227, 9-9-10)