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The Villages
Friday, February 3, 2023

Planning and Zoning Board members irked after dissing by Lady Lake commissioner

Paul Hannan
Paul Hannan

Lady Lake Commissioner Paul Hannan and the chairman of the town’s Planning and Zoning Board have locked horns over Hannan’s recent dissing of the “dysfunctional” board.

Hannan attended the Nov. 14 Planning and Zoning Board and later reported to the commission that he was so disgusted that he walked out. You can read more about Hannan’s comments HERE

At Monday night’s commission meeting, Planning and Zoning Board Chairman John Gauder read a prepared statement in response to Hannan’s attack on the board.

John Gauder
John Gauder

“No board member should feel he or she has the right to publicly chastise or criticize another board member at any time during a public meeting with vague threats and insinuations. I request Commissioner Hannan recant his statements and publicly apologize to all board members,” Gauder said.

Hannan refused to do so.

“I will not apologize for my words,” Hannan said.

At the heart of the debate is the fact that Planning and Zoning Board members are appointed citizens who serve with no compensation. Monthly Planning and Zoning Board meetings can go on for hours, in part because they frequently include residents’ input and the chairman usually lets those attending speak freely with no time limit. Gauder said it serves as a means for residents to “air out” their concerns without those concerns necessarily going all the way to the commission.

Gauder said he was standing up for other board members, including members of the town’s Library Board, Police Pension Board and others. Lady Lake has had some challenges in the past recruiting members for the various boards.   

“I felt he attacked every board member,” Gauder said.

Commissioner Ruth Kussard said community volunteers play a valuable role in town government.

“These people do a good job. They volunteer,” she said.

Pete Chiasson
Pete Chiasson

Planning and Zoning Board member Peter Chiasson said he was offended by Hannan’s comments.

“Given the serious nature of Mr. Hannan’s comments I find myself left with only two options for dealing with this situation.  First option is for Mr. Hannan to apologize to all members of the P & Z Board in a public forum and for this apology to be published in the online news. As an additional part of Option 1, Mr. Hannan must be replaced as the Lady Lake Commission interface to the Planning and Zoning Board immediately.  If my first option is not implemented fully, my second option is that I will resign immediately from the Planning and Zoning Board as I cannot in good faith work with Mr. Hannan in the future,” Chiasson wrote in a letter to Town Manager Kris Kollgaard.

Chiasson, a Villager, also serves on the town’s Police Pension Board.

Meanwhile, the Planning and Zoning Board will be getting a new member. The commission on Monday night unanimously voted to appoint realtor Carole Rohan to the board.

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