Former Bethany Beach Planning Commission Chairman Phil Boesch exemplified the frustrations of many local planners last Saturday when he resigned his position partly because he felt town officials disregarded the findings or opinions of his commission.
Like many planning commissions, Bethany Beach’s holds an advisory role, meaning they forward along recommendations and don’t really make the decisions. Like some of the planners, many residents get upset when they hear a town or county council goes in a different direction than the planning committee recommended.
But we must keep in mind what the defined roles are for advisory groups.
Members of the Bethany Beach Town Council (who we’ll use as an example) simply do not have the time to study every plan presented to the town. There are too many, and town council positions are not supposed to be full-time positions. Also, like a board of directors in a company, the town council oversees all in the town, while committees — or commissions — are “experts” in singular fields.
Therefore, they depend on the findings of the commission to help them come to their decisions. The recommendations are indeed important, but they are not the only things taken into account.
We understand the frustrations planners or members of other committees might feel when their recommendations are not fully accepted. However, the fact of the matter is these governmental organs are advisory only — for good or bad.
That being said, we don’t find fault with Boesch for stepping away from something that frustrated him, nor for his decision to speak out on the problems. It was a stand, and one that should get attention from all residents.