County board approves appointment to planning and zoning commission

YORK – Luke Gruber has been appointed as a member of the York County Planning and Zoning Commission, for a three-year term.

Two weeks ago, the county commissioners reappointed four existing members for 3-year terms. There was a vacancy in the fifth seat and York County Commissioner Chairman Randy Obermier brought forward Gruber’s name as a nomination. He explained how Gruber had approached him about serving on the planning and zoning commission.

There were questions, however, from the audience at the earlier board meeting, about Gruber’s intentions. They (audience members) mentioned he is employed by Perennial Power and questioned whether or not that created a conflict of interest because solar field regulations have been in front of the planning and zoning commission for months now and decisions will soon be made.

Several of the commissioners said they wanted to speak with Gruber in person, although that’s not always been the practice when making appointments to volunteer boards, committees and commissions.

This week, during the county commissioners’ regular meeting, Gruber was in attendance.

“He graciously said he would come in today, which we appreciate,” Obermier said. “And it’s important we make a decision about that fifth seat as there is an important meeting of the planning and zoning committee coming up.”

That meeting will be held Nov. 13, at 6 p.m., at the Holthus Convention Center. During that meeting, a public discussion will be held regarding special zoning regulations for solar field projects in York County.

“It’s nice to meet you and it is commendable you are willing to do this,” Commissioner Stan Boehr said to Gruber. “Why do you want to serve on the planning and zoning committee?”

“I just want to serve my community,” Gruber responded. “I went through the zoning process with my own house and I thought I could help streamline the process. I thought it would be something I could be involved in.”

Commissioner Daniel Grotz thanked Gruber for coming forward, volunteering to serve. “There is a lot of stuff going on right now and in the near future we will be updating our comprehensive plan. So there will be a lot for the planning and zoning committee to consider. There were some questions about where you work and how that would tie in with this role. For me, it’s important for us to look at how something affects everyone in the county, not just ourselves and decisions can’t be just about my own opinion. Based on what you said, it appears you want to be involved and help drive York County forward. Do you feel you have no personal agenda? Do you feel you can make those decisions?”

“I have no personal agenda and I strictly want to serve,” Gruber said. “The company I work for has no involvement in the current solar project whatsoever. None. And I have no career agenda or personal agenda in that matter.”

“I had a phone conversation with Luke and that conversation reflected what he is saying today,” said Commissioner Woody Ziegler. “It’s healthy when we get young people involved in the government process. And I appreciate your willingness to serve.”

“And there was some question about if it was right to ask you to come here because no one else typically has when being considered for an appointment, so I appreciate your being here,” Grotz said to Gruber.

All the commissioners voted in favor of appointing Gruber.


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