An attempt by Stephen Weiss to find out why the Richmond Hill City Council wanted to remove him from the city Planning and Zoning Commission failed Tuesday when the council voted 3-1 to take him off of the volunteer board.
The council’s 3-1 vote came during its regular meeting at City Hall following a public hearing in which Weiss questioned the council’s reasoning for his removal though only half of the council was in attendance.
Council members Jan Bass and John Fesperman did not attend the public hearing. Council member Russ Carpenter cast the “nay” vote.
“My proposed dismissal is an active retribution for my voting against a plan that was very much supported by the mayor,” Weiss said during the public hearing.
Weiss in October voted against a recommendation of the Plantation Village development, a 112-acre property off of Highway 144 across from the Ford Plantation, where Weiss lives, to be developed with multi- and single-family residential units and commercial property. That project was passed by the planning commission and later by the council.
Then in January, Mayor Harold Fowler asked Weiss to step down from the planning commission, the seats for which are appointed by the council. According to Weiss, Fowler made his request because Weiss refused to recuse himself from the vote on Plantation Village. When Weiss refused to resign, Fowler tried to remove him from the board.
But the mayor’s authority to take such action without the full council’s consent was questioned, and in February the council approved 3-1 a preliminary resolution for Weiss’ removal with Carpenter casting the “nay” vote.
Fowler said in February he asked Weiss to step down because he believed he did not have “the best interest of the city at heart.”
Carpenter noted Tuesday that before Weiss voted against the development, he was advised by two attorneys there was no conflict of interest with his vote.
Read more in the May 5 edition of the News.