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Commissioner angered by at-large appointment

Novak says approval of Belton to planning, zoning ‘disgusting’ after she tried to remove him

Staff writer

County commissioner Dianne Novak had angry words for fellow county commissioners Tuesday after she alone voted against appointing Derek Belton to an at-large position on the planning and zoning commission a week after she removed him from the board.

Commission chairman Jonah Gehring nominated Belton Tuesday for the position and Novak cast the lone “no” vote.

“I find that very disgusting,” Novak said after the other commissioners voted to appoint him.

She said she’d watched Belton in planning commission meetings and considered him “very biased.”

Dallke said he disagreed with Novak’s assessment.

Novak has been an unabashed opponent of Expedition Wind’s development of a wind farm in the southern portion of the county.

In June, Belton voted in favor of a conditional use permit for Expedition. Also voting in favor were Dwight Flaming, Jim Schmidt, and Glenn Thiessen.

Belton, who lives in Novak’s district, has served two terms on the planning and zoning commission. Planning and zoning regulations permit a board

member to serve as many as three consecutive terms at the will of the commission.

Novak said two weeks ago she wanted to remove Belton and appoint Tampa resident Larry Cushinberry during restructuring of the commission. At that time, Novak cited term limits.

Last week, Novak appointed Cushinberry despite commissioner Randy Dallke’s earlier objection that a former road and bridge department employee might not be the best choice.

“Every appointment I’ve made since I’ve been a commissioner, Randy Dallke fights me on it,” Novak said at that time. “Every single appointment I’ve ever made, Randy Dallke has a problem with it.”

Last modified Jan. 23, 2020

 

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