LOGANSPORT — a board that has become something of a lightning rod in the community would be eliminated under an ordinance to be considered by the Logansport City Council next week. The ordinance approved this month by the Logansport plan Commission would end the Downtown Development Review Board. Arin Shaver, the city-county planning director, said she hoped the change would streamline the development process for local businesses. “as a department, we’re trying to be more efficient and more customer friendly,” she said. Shaver acknowledged that the review board had gotten caught up in the Logansport city election as candidates criticized the layers of bureaucracy facing prospective businesses. Critics cite the case of the fire Stone Grill, a proposed restaurant whose owner has taken her fight against such regulations to court. Shaver denied, though, that the candidates’ criticism had led to the plan to eliminate the review board. “no, actually, we started talking about it probably a year ago,” she said. Mayor Mike Fincher confirmed that. he said Shaver approached him a year ago, soon after taking over as planning director, to suggest changes in the local planning process. he noted that the review board was created to help prospective businesses deal with regulations. “According to Arin, she can do it better,” he said. “If it enhances customer service, that’s what we’ve got to do.” Tom LaDow has been a member of the review board for several years, but he said he likely wouldn’t have trouble filling the two or three hours he normally spent sitting in board meetings each month. “I’m sure I’ll find something to do,” he said. LaDow said he supported the idea of making the process easier for applicants. “Some people who have their plans together might be able to walk into the planning department and get approval right there,” he said. “I’m all for getting things done more quickly.” LaDow, who owns Creative Promotions and The Trophy Factory downtown, said he liked the idea of people with an interest in the downtown sitting on a board to make sure that development plans match up with the vision for downtown. “But the people in the planning department know the rules,” he said. “they can act on the plans as well as we can.” LaDow said he had been thinking about stepping down from the board anyway, saying it was time for some new blood. “so for me, the timing was pretty good,” he said. Depending on the complexity of the proposal, the plans can be considered by the planning commission staff, by the commission’s development plan review committee or by the full commission. The commission, though, will have the ultimate authority. Shaver noted that the change would affect only the process. “The standards will still be in place,” she said. “The historical character of downtown will still be maintained.” Another ordinance under consideration by the city council would change the makeup of the plan commission. The commission currently has 11 members, but one of those has been Logansport’s deputy mayor. In a community without a city engineer or deputy mayor, Shaver said, the law calls for a nine-member commission. “so unless we fill that deputy mayor’s position, we have to change the makeup of the commission,” Shaver said. The new lineup would leave one of the remaining 10 members out of a job. “so they’re still working back and forth on how that will work,” Shaver said. a council committee briefly discussed the change at a meeting last week, but Shaver said it was unclear whether the ordinance would be ready for consideration at next week’s meeting. “until we have that figured out, we’re just operating with the current ordinance,” she said. • Kelly Hawes is managing editor of the Pharos-Tribune. he can be reached at 574-732-5155 or .