Zschoche Returns as Mayor of W.P.
In Whispering Pines, the new mayor is the same as the old.
Bob Zschoche was re-elected to the post by the Whispering Pines Village Council during its regular meeting Wednesday afternoon.
Before the vote, Zschoche, Randy Saunders and Paul Sams were installed as council members. Sams replaced Frank Zamaroni, who did not seek re-election. Both Zschoche and Saunders were incumbents who recaptured their seats in the November election.
Zschoche is serving his second two-year term as mayor. Molly Boggis was elected mayor pro tem, while Saunders was elected treasurer.
Gebhardt praised Zamaroni for being "consistently one of the most prepared members of the council" and for his detail-oriented approach to council matters.
Zamaroni served four years on the council. Zschoche presented him with a proclamation and a clock to recognize his service to the village.
"The biggest thing I can say is, thank you all," Zamaroni said.
Prior to installing its new members, the old council unanimously rejected an amendment to the village ordinances that would have tightened restrictions on entities that use water from village lakes for irrigation.
The ordinance came about over concerns that the level of Pine Lake drops significantly during the summer, and the low level adversely affects businesses and property values. The Country Club of Whispering Pines draws water from Pine Lake to irrigate its golf course.
Gebhardt and Saunders opposed the ordinance, because they felt the owners of the club would file a lawsuit against the village if the ordinance was enacted.
"I think that's a bad idea," Saunders said. "We need to sit down with the powers at the club and say, "We've got a problem and the problem occurs at this level' -- whatever that level is. When we get to that point, what can we do to slow down the water you're taking out. I don't know what the answer is."
Saunders said a potential lawsuit, win or lose, would cost the village money and could harm its relationship with the club, which is the largest taxpayer in the village.
Zschoche raised several questions about the language of the proposed ordinance.
The council agreed to continue discussions with the owners of the golf course in hopes of reaching a solution that is a win-win for both sides.
After the installation, the new council discussed revamping the architecture review board so that members did not all have to reside in the village or its extraterritorial zoning jurisdiction (ETJ). Currently the board is under the umbrella of the Community Appearance Commission and members, by state law, must live within the village or its ETJ.
Gebhardt proposed the item because he thought it imperative to have skilled members on the board, and the action would allow the village to draw from a larger pool of talent.
Saunders said he agreed with the idea of forming the review board and having professionals serve on it, but he preferred to have residents on it, instead of nonresidents.
Boggis opposed the idea of having nonresidents serve on committees, calling it a "bad precedent to set."
"It's like carpetbagging," Boggis said. "They don't have a vested interest in the village."
After some discussion, Gebhardt withdrew the item from consideration for a vote. After the withdrawal, Gebhardt and Saunders said they would support an architecture review board that would be separate from the appearance commission, but not in the proposed ammendment's current form.
The council appointed Bill Wade and Kath Sponsler to the Community Appearance Commission and reappointed James Clark to the Board of Adjustments.
It also voted to hold a retreat Feb. 13 and approved its meeting schedule for January to June 2010.
Contact Tom Embrey at (910) 693-2484 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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