CIBOLO — A Planning and Zoning commissioner who faced expulsion is keeping her seat thanks in part to public support after she had questions about floodplain issues.
Following a City Council executive session Jan. 22, leaders emerged and unanimously voted to keep Kara Latimer in her role.
Since the only P & Z meeting she participated in occurred just 13 days earlier, discussions of her removal surprised Latimer and other residents.
According to Latimer, the issue at hand was her repeated inquiry Jan. 9 about the identity of the city’s floodplain manager during talks regarding a preliminary plat of the Steele Creek subdivision.
In video footage of the P & Z session, Latimer asked Rudy Klein, city director of planning and engineering, if Cibolo has a floodplain administrator who monitors drainage flow.
When Latimer didn’t receive the response she sought and pressed on, P & Z Chairwoman Karen Hale advised her to cease quizzing Klein until after the meeting. Without a legal objection, Hale pointed out that the plat had to be OK’d.
Latimer drew further admonishment from the chairwoman when she followed up with a query about the “stamping” of the project’s drainage report. Klein showed the commission an engineer-stamped copy of the preliminary stormwater management plan.
“We are violating what is on the agenda by discussing something other than the approval of the plat,” Hale told Latimer.
In an interview days after the council’s decision, the commissioner stated her questions about the stamp was for clarification of the land study’s duration, which can’t have more than a five-year time frame.
Latimer was “shocked” to learn her actions might escalate into a possible ousting from office.
“(A council member) told me (before the Jan. 22 meeting) that somebody (from the council) thought I was rude to Ms. Hale and I needed to call her up and get it straight,” said Latimer, who declined to reveal the person upset with her. “I called up Ms. Hale right away and told her that, ‘Somebody said I offended you,’ and she said, ‘No, I understand why you would want this stamp and I am going to talk to the staff about it.’”
Hale couldn’t be reached for comment.
During the public portion of the Jan. 22 session, the community voiced support for Latimer and told city officials she didn’t act inappropriately.
“Kara’s comments were far less heated, rude or forward and much more on topics than other comments and discussions that have been held during numerous committee, commission and council meetings I have been to,” said resident Karen Cunningham. “Knowing Kara, she is not going to stop (asking questions). She will keep researching and keep reaching out. She just does not make things up and run with them.”
Latimer’s tenacity regarding the identity of Cibolo’s floodplain manager did result in a name.
In a Jan. 23 email released to LOCAL Community News, she was informed via Texas Water Development Board official Yi Ling Chan that Klein is the city’s floodplain head.
Meanwhile, in closing remarks, the council indicated members would work with the commissioner on improving knowledge of P & Z “policies, procedures and best practices.”