Thursday, October 29, 2015

Notes From My Knapsack 11-5-15

Notes From My Knapsack 11-5-15

Jeff Gill


The Times, and the Sentinel, Are A Changin'



This year is coming to an end with some pretty remarkable changes happening, that in another way, most of you probably won't notice.


My editor in these pages will no longer be ol' Chuck, as Peppermint Patty might say. Charles A. Peterson steps down as editor for this paper and I will, Deus volent, have to get used to a new e-mail address and point of contact for this column . . . should they wish to retain my humble services!


Of all the many editors I've had over the years, here and with the Booster that preceded my Sentinel tenure, and at the Advocate for my other Saturday column on the "Your Faith" page, I have had Chuck as my go-to guy for more years than any of them. It's nice for a writer to know what's being looked for and how they're responding to certain subjects or topics, because every editor is a little different. When they leave and new ones arrive, more changes than just the e-mail.


Chuck has given me wide latitude to try things over the years that aren't common to a community column slot, and he's put me up for awards, which has gotten me feedback from far beyond our circulation area: for all that, and just for being a friendly face with a helpfully critical eye, thank you Chuck, and I will miss you!


Likewise I'm going to find some new adjustments in my work as a citizen who chairs your village Board of Zoning and Building Appeals. As a member for eight years and chair for the last few, I've always worked with Alison Terry as our Village Planner. She has made our lives simpler and more straightforward through those years for all of us volunteers on the panel.


I can't say she's made our lives easier, because that's not within her scope. The challenges that arrive in the village planning offices come with questions and requirements that are often entirely outside of any of our control, and the challenge for the BZBA is to navigate fairly and justly the desires of property owners, the wishes of neighbors, the intentions of council codified in ordinances and further interpreted by appeals court precedent, and to reach decisions that, ideally, won't be overturned. As I perhaps say too often as chair, if it were easy, it wouldn't have gotten to us in the first place.


But Alison's role supporting us in the requests for variances and conditional use permits and such has been invaluable. She is always prepared (would that we all on the panel could say the same!) and has anticipated all manner of twists and turns the discussion takes that we may not have even imagined.


I've not had but two jobs in my life that were eight years and more. The BZBA has had new law directors and new recording secretaries, but Alison has always been there for us, even when we know she'd like to get home to her kids. Well, she's decided that they need to be her first priority, so we lose her as this year ends, but hope to see her around in various roles: just not as Village Planner.


The new planner will have some big, and very stylish shoes to fill . . .


For most of you reading this or in the village in general, life will go on, the paper will come out, and new structures and remodeling of old ones will continue. But for those of us closer to the production end of those processes, it will really be a new year in 2016!


Jeff Gill is a writer, storyteller, and pastor in Licking County; tell him about transitions you see happening at, or follow @Knapsack on Twitter.

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