Marks resigns from planning commission

Published 2:55 pm Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Dr. Lilton Marks has resigned from the Smithfield Planning Commission effective Dec. 1.

In an email to The Smithfield Times, Marks confirmed he stepped down for personal reasons.

“The fact is that because we do not have any immediate family in the area and we are at an age that we need to be closer to our family,” Marks said, “the wife and I decided that it would be better to be closer to them when the time comes that we may need their help. So, we are moving to the Atlanta area where we have children, grandchildren, nieces and a nephew along with several close friends.”

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The group’s chairman, town council member Randy Pack, also confirmed Marks’ departure, which was noted in the commission’s agenda for its upcoming Dec. 8 meeting. The town received Marks’ emailed resignation on Nov. 27. John Settle, the town’s community development and planning director, made the resignation letter available at the newspaper’s request.

“Dr. Marks brought a terrific perspective to the Planning Commission,” Pack said in an email. “His wisdom and community reach will be missed and difficult to replace. We wish him well in his new journey and thank him for the service he provided.”

Appointed in January 2020, Marks’ term on the seven-member commission was set to expire on Jan. 31, 2024. He is a retired Army officer, military chaplain and pastor with academic degrees in business and public administration, pastoral care and divinity, according to his social media profiles.

All commission members are appointed by town council and sworn in by the Isle of Wight County Circuit Court to serve staggered four year terms, according to the town’s website. The commission’s responsibilities include reviewing and issuing recommendations to town council on land use, development, planning and zoning matters.

Town council members Valerie Butler and Beth Haygood are expected to jointly nominate someone to replace Marks, said Pack. The name of the candidate will be presented for the full council’s approval. Whoever is appointed will fill the remainder of Marks’ unexpired term.

“Any resident that is interested and qualified is encouraged to fill out a talent bank form at the Town Manager’s office so they can be considered for the position,” Pack said.

Settle said the process usually takes 30 days. Although there is no public hearing necessary to fill the vacant commission seat, Settle said the public comment time of town council meetings is an opportunity for people to voice their concerns about potential candidates for the position.

In addition to Pack, the remaining members of the commission are: vice chairman Charles Bryan, Michael Swecker, Julia Hillegass, Dr. Thomas Pope and Michael Torrey. Pack, Bryan and Swecker are slated to serve until 2022; Hillegass, Pope and Torrey’s terms on the commission expire in 2023.

“I will always remember your leadership, support and personal interactions from which I have benefited greatly,” Marks said in his letter. “The Town of Smithfield is truly on a journey of growth and I feel confident the Planning Commission will manage the growth for the benefit of the entire community.”