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Gibbs joins planning commission

Raynard Gibbs is the Smithfield Planning Commission’s newest member.

He replaces the seat held by Dr. Lilton Marks, who resigned Dec. 1 for personal and family reasons. Gibbs will fill the rest of Marks’ term, which is set to expire on Jan. 31, 2024. Town Council approved the appointment at a Jan. 5 meeting.

“Even though I’m not from this area, I love this community,” Gibbs said. “It reminds me so much of home.”

He moved to Smithfield about a decade ago from the Hampton and Yorktown area. Gibbs has attended church in Isle of Wight for about two decades “and we had a lot of friends in this area and I really liked the small town feel,” he said. “When me and my wife were looking to relocate, we knew that this was going to be home.”

Gibbs is a graduate of Old Dominion University and a Navy veteran who served for 27 years. After leaving the military, he started a real estate development company. In his latest role as a commission member, Gibbs said he plans to take a holistic approach to community development and growth.

“I wanted to be a part of the planning commission because it gives me an opportunity to be part of the growth. You want the community to develop as a whole — from infrastructure to aesthetics.”

In short, he said, being part of the commission is an opportunity to positively shape a community’s future.

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

Town council member Randy Pack is the commission’s chairman. In addition to Pack, the other commission members are vice chairman Charles Bryan, Michael Swecker, Julia Hillegass, Dr. Thomas Pope and Michael Torrey.