JEFFERSON — Following a delayed influx of applicants interested in serving on the Ashe County Planning Board, the Ashe County Board of Commissioners unanimously appointed the first two people who applied for the position.
At the recommendation of acting Ashe County Manager Adam Stumb, the board of commissioners decided to reappoint Ashe County Planning Board Chairwoman Priscilla Cox of Crumpler to serve another 3-year term, and appoint 6-year Ashe resident David McMillan of West Jefferson, during the commissioners’ regular meeting at 9 a.m. Monday, Feb. 4.
McMillan will fill the planning board seat left vacant since August 2018, when Gene Hafer resigned.
Both Cox and McMillan had applied and were scheduled to be appointed to the county planning board during the commissioners’ Jan. 22 meeting, but their appointments were postponed at the request of Stumb, who said there had been a late rush of applicants after Ashe Post & Times published an article about the planning board vacancies in its Jan. 16 edition. The commissioners voted 3-2 in favor of postponing the planning board appointments until their Feb. 4 meeting, with Vice Chairman William Sands and Commissioner Larry Rhodes casting the dissenting votes.
Regardless of the delayed vote, the commissioners unanimously went with Stumb’s original recommendation to reappoint Cox and appoint McMillan, bringing the Ashe County Planning Board to a full five members after almost six months with a vacancy.
In his application, McMillan, formerly the Novant Health vice president, said he was retired after more than 37 years in the healthcare and healthcare construction industries, and wanted to join the board to contribute to the community.
As of presstime, McMillan was unavailable for comment.
Other Ashe County residents to apply for the planning board vacancy include pastor Sonny Thomas Sr., retired corporate executive manager Barry Thomas, retired Lowe’s Companies property developer Lindsay McGrady, civil engineer Terrance Kepple, retired physician assistant Jerry Heath and former state house representative Jonathan Jordan, according to county documents.
The commissioners voiced their overall satisfaction with the planning board applicants. Commissioner Paula Perry said there were some really good submissions, Chairman Todd McNeill said it took him a long time to go through all the applications, Sands said he agreed with Perry and McNeill, and Commissioner Larry Dix said the high-caliber applications should serve as a challenge to the planning board, and future applicants.
Also during its Feb. 4 meeting, the board of commissioners made appointments to the Farmland Preservation Advisory Board. Cecil Miller, of Creston, was reappointed to a second 3-year term, while Jimmy Cox, of Crumpler, and Loyd Miller, of Creston, were appointed to 3-year terms and Anthony Farmer, of Creston, was appointed to a 2-year term, all at the recommendation of Ashe County N.C. Cooperative Extension Director Travis Birdsell.
The Farmland Preservation Advisory Board appointments were 4-0 votes, with McNeill excusing himself from voting because he leases farmland to Jimmy Cox.