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ORANGE : Planning Head Quits, Cites Foe on Council

David V. Hart, chairman of the Planning Commission, resigned Monday, citing conflict with City Councilwoman Joanne Coontz.

Hart, who has served 19 years as a commissioner, submitted a letter of resignation to Mayor Don E. Smith Monday evening which was presented at this week’s City Council meeting.

“It is my understanding that Councilwoman Joanne Coontz has expressed dissatisfaction to (Smith) about my service as a planning commissioner for the City of Orange,” Hart said in the two-paragraph letter.

Hart served on the Planning Commission from 1963 to 1968 and has served continuously since 1976, including several years as chairman. He asked that his resignation become effective immediately.

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Coontz said Hart’s resignation had been discussed for months but that his reasons for stepping down came as a “complete surprise.”

In a prepared statement, Coontz said she had not talked substantively with Hart about any development issue this year and was “shocked and surprised to be singled out by Mr. Hart as the reason for his resignation.”

Planning Commissioner Don Greek said he might also resign because of what he called a “list of gripes (against Coontz) that go years back.”

“What I am seriously considering is running for City Council,” Greek said, adding that he would wait to resign from the commission before announcing his candidacy.

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Coontz and Councilman William Steiner are up for reelection in November.

If Greek runs for a council seat, Hart said, he would be “very anxious and willing” to manage the campaign.


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