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Parting Zoning Member Honored, Offers Advice

Edward Porter served on the zoning board for 18 years.

In a changing of the guard of sorts, one long-time public servant retired from the zoning board.

The Springfield Board of Commissioners honored Edward Porter, one of the senior members of the township's Zoning Board of Adjustment.

Deciding zoning variances, signage requests and other matters, Porter voluntarily served on the zoning board for 18 years. 

"It's with pleasure, but also sorrow, that I have the opportunity of honoring one of my residents and one of Springfield's volunteers, who's given many years," said Commissioner Lee Janiczek.

The township presented Porter with a plaque commemorating his tenure at the Nov. 13 meeting.

Later, the governing body voted to replace Porter with Edward Kelly, currently an alternate member. Beth Burkhart—currently on the Planning Commission—was named as a new alternate.

The Kelly appointment drew questions from Porter, who felt the position should go the alternate member with most seniority, in this case Charles Ervin. Alternate members cannot vote on matters unless a sitting board member is absent.

"I have nothing against Ed Kelly. He's good on the board. But why should he go ahead of others who have been on there (longer)?..." Porter asked. "Alternate members, and I'm exaggerating to make a point, have been on there five, 10 years without the right to vote. And I think that's silly."

Township solicitor James Byrne said state law permits the commissioners to appoint whomever they see fit, so seniority isn't required. For instance, the board could have appointed someone completely new directly to the board.

"There really are no (requirements) for seniority. Sometimes it happens that way. Sometimes it doesn't," Byrne said.

Regardless of the law's lack of guidance, Porter advised commissioners in the future to consider seniority. Burkhart's position expires in June 2015.

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