City still accepting applications for planning commissioner


Kenny Wiegel

Kenny Wiegel



Zack Plair


The contents of this article have been modified since its original posting.


The city of Columbus is seeking applicants to fill a vacancy on its Planning Commission. 


Earlier this month, the city council reappointed longtime member Annette Savors and appointed new member Melissa Smith to the commission, leaving it with one remaining open spot. 


As of the close of business Thursday, no one else had applied for the vacancy. 


The Planning Commission has spots for eight voting members, all of whom are volunteers. Commissioners consider proposals for subdivisions, planned unit developments and changes to city zoning, as well as permitted use requests. 


All Planning Commission votes serve as recommendations that automatically go to the mayor and city council for final approval. 


"This is certainly an important job because it helps determine where the city will develop and the types of development being considered," said Kenny Wiegel, the city's building official who advises the Planning Commission. 


The commission meets the second Monday of each month. 


Terms for Savors, Jason Bigelow and Major Andrews IV all expired Dec. 1. While Savors applied for reappointment, Andrews could not because they both have moved outside the city limits. Bigelow opted not to reapply. 


Savors has served on the commission for decades. She is a 1973 graduate of Mississippi State College for Women (now Mississippi University for Women) and has worked the last 23 years as the official court reporter for Chancery Judge Dorothy Colom. Before that, she worked 18 years as a legal secretary. 


Smith is a professor of communication at MUW who has previously taught at the University of Alabama and Mississippi State University. She holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from Auburn University and earned master's and doctorate degrees in communication from Alabama. 


She worked professionally as a journalist in print and television in Alabama before entering teaching and often covered issues taken up by planning and zoning commissions. Plus, Smith said, she wants to serve her city. 


"I think I can bring a fresh pair of eyes and ears to the commission," Smith told The Dispatch. "I'll bring a willingness to listen and make good decisions that will move the city forward." 


Applications for the remaining vacancy can be submitted at the mayor's office in City Hall. Applicants must be at least 18 and a Columbus resident. 




Editor's note: Revised version corrects misstatement that Jason Bigelow has moved from the city limits, which The Dispatch obtained from a city official.  



Zack Plair is the managing editor for The Dispatch.



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