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Changes appear to be coming for Howell Planning Board

HOWELL – A change in membership appears to be in store for the Howell Planning Board, which is the municipal body that hears applications for development in the community.

During the March 1 meeting of the Township Council, Councilwoman Evelyn O’Donnell, who was serving on the Planning Board as a representative of the governing body, announced she was resigning from the board.

O’Donnell cited a health issue as her reason for resigning from the Planning Board.

“As a result of this, I would like to nominate (Councilman) John Bonevich to accept the Class 3 seat (on the Planning Board) for the remainder of 2022,” O’Donnell said upon announcing her resignation.

Bonevich’s initial response to O’Donnell was, “If I have the time, sure.”

Township Attorney Joseph Clark informed the council members a motion would need to be made, seconded and voted upon for Bonevich to accept the seat on the Planning Board.

O’Donnell made the motion to appoint Bonevich to the Planning Board and Deputy Mayor Pamela Richmond seconded the motion.

Following that action, Bonevich said, “With the summer coming up (and professional responsibilities), I am not going to have the time for that. I regrettably can’t do it.”

Bonevich said if the motion that was pending was passed and he was appointed to the Planning Board, he would resign from the board. He said it would have been better to discuss the situation prior to the council meeting.

O’Donnell said the issue came up that afternoon.

On a roll call vote, the three Republicans on the council – O’Donnell, Richmond and Councilwoman Suzanne Brennan – voted “yes” on the motion to appoint Bonevich to the Planning Board.

The two Democrats on the council – Bonevich and Mayor Theresa Berger – voted “no” on the motion.

The 3-2 vote meant Bonevich was appointed to the Planning Board.

Berger said it did not make sense to appoint Bonevich to the Planning Board after he said he would immediately resign from that board.

“What is the sense in that? I don’t understand,” Berger said.

Someone in the audience said “politics,” to which O’Donnell replied “no, it’s not politics.”

Richmond said she had already served on the Planning Board and put her time in.

Berger recommended nominating Brennan to serve on the board, but Richmond said the council members had already voted to appoint Bonevich.

“If (Bonevich) wants to submit a resignation, then we can discuss who is going on (the Planning Board) at the next meeting,” Clark told the council members.

Regarding the appointment of Bonevich, a Democrat, ahead of Brennan, a fellow Republican who was recently appointed to the Township Council, O’Donnell said she was thinking of a senior member with experience and time on the council when she nominated Bonevich for the open seat on the Planning Board.

After the council meeting was adjourned, Bonevich said, “We couldn’t go one night (without an issue), one good night. Good job, O’Donnell. (Crap) on every parade.”

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