The Red Bank City Commission on Tuesday night debated whether a member of the city's planning commission should be chosen from those who own property in the city.
The vote on first reading was 3-2 to keep in a clause written by City Attorney Arnie Stulce that calls for property ownership as a requirement.
Attorney Stulce said he added the clause on the grounds that a property owner would be more in tune with issues about property.
However, Commissioner Rick Causer said that meant the requirements to be on the planning commission were more stringent than those to be on the city commission.
Commissioner Kenneth Welch noted that many young people choose to be renters - including young professional people. He said, "They don't want to own a house. They don't want to mow grass."
Vice Mayor Floy Pierce said she had some concerns about opening the door to renters being on the panel. But Mayor John Roberts said he saw merit in the requirement.
Citizens who voiced opinions also had divergent views.
The vote wound up Roberts, Welch and Eddie Pierce in favor of approving it as written and moving it on to a second vote and Causer and Floy Pierce opposed.
The vote on second reading will be Jan. 8.
The planning commission membership is being cut from seven to five. They will be chosen by the five commission members. Mayor Roberts said that gave "checks and balances" rather than a plan where the mayor picked the members and could pack the commission.
Commissioner Causer will go on the board of the Hamilton County Water and Wastewater Treatment Authority, replacing the man he defeated in the election - former Mayor Monty Millard.
It was the first meeting for new City Manager Randall Smith to be up on the bench with the commissioners, though he attended the last session. Interim City Manager John Alexander, who has returned to duties as finance director, was given a plaque of appreciation.