Lakewood Ranch Herald

Jim Hill hopes experience serving Country Club West can be put to use as Manatee County planning commissioner

Country Club West District supervisor eyes seat on Planning Commission

LAKEWOOD RANCH -- Although he faces competition from 21 other candidates, including two incumbents, Country Club West District Supervisor James T. Hill said he is hoping for a chance to serve on the Manatee County Planning Commission come November.

The seven-member planning commission, which makes recommendations to the Manatee County Commission on land-use issues, has two vacancies since the four-year terms of Commissioners Timothy Rhoades and John Delesline expire Friday.

Both have filed intentions to serve another four years, according to Bobbi Roy of the planning department.

Hill, vice chairman of Country Club West Community Development District, for which he has another two years to serve, said he welcomed the opportunity to help the community in two capacities.

"I believe I can balance the two of them. I truly enjoy keeping up with what's going on in greater Lakewood Ranch and being a CDD 6 member provides me constant input," said Hill, adding he is preparing to meet with all seven county commissioners Thursday.

As a possible liaison for Lakewood Ranch, Hill said: "Call it synergy. Even though it's an elusive word. I can definitely see benefit to the CDDs and Lakewood Ranch having representation on the planning commission. I have dealt with land-use issues and know well the often very detailed work required to give all parties a fair hearing and to render a well-considered decision."

Hill said he decided to run after Lakewood Ranch developer Schroeder-Manatee Ranch Inc. asked Manatee County for a variance to build a seven-story condominium rather than the original five-story condo planned behind the Lakewood Ranch Cinema across from Lake Uihlein in a section called University Lakes.

The planning commission, appointed by the Manatee County Commission, meets at 9 a.m. the second Thursday of each month in the Manatee County Administrative Building. No planning commission member can be employed by the county or be a member of another land development-related advisory board serving unincorporated Manatee County.

Hill, 70, a retired chemist and businessman who lives with his wife in the Edenmore neighborhood of Country Club West, lived in Birmingham Township, a county in Chester County, Pa., where he served on the planning commission. He spent his corporate career as a chemist and businessman, holding multiple senior-management positions globally for the DuPont Co.

Kathryn Moschella, Lakewood Ranch reporter can be reached at 941-745-7010. Follow her on Twitter@MoschellaHerald.