Doran Samples, Chairman of the Planning and Zoning Commission, has decided that when his term expires at the end of June that he will not seek re-appointment. At 86 years young, he has decided that the Planning and Zoning (P&Z) Commission Chair position needs to be passed down to the next generation. Mr. Samples volunteered his time and expertise for twenty-one years as the Chairman of Planning and Zoning.
Two years after moving to Greene County, what started as a request in August of 2000 by then sitting Chairman of the P&Z Commission, Jim Hunt, to assist in the redrafting of the zoning and subdivision documents, soon became an appointment as the new Chairman of the P&Z Commission. Since that time, he has assisted two different County Managers, and four different Building Officials and a plethora of other Commission members in making recommendations on over 700 items to the Greene County Board of Commissioners on matters such as zoning requests, conditional uses, variance requests, public hearings, and reviewing a wide variety of plats.
While the final decision of these matters did not fall on the P&Z Commission, Samples made sure that everything that came before them was thoroughly reviewed for compliance and listened to every citizen that wanted to make a comment, either for or against the matter, before it was sent to the Greene County Board of Commissioners for either approval or denial. Samples said that sometimes his job could be very difficult. While he had sympathy for the applicants and/or speakers, it was the Commissions job to go by the letter of the law even if it was not the most popular decision.
Samples was not one to just sit behind the microphone and make decisions. Even though the appointment was a volunteer position, he took his appointment very seriously. During the entire twenty-one years, he visited every new site and spent considerable time preparing for the meetings. Samples said that while reviewing one particularly difficult request, since the P&Z Commission only made recommendations to the Board and the Board of Commissioners were the final decision makers, a citizen said, “Oh what the heck, just go ahead and recommend approval and let the Board of Commissioners figure it out”. To which he responded, “No. Our job is to do the best we can and if the Board of Commissioners disagrees then so be it”. Such dedication did not go unnoticed. He was appointed by the sitting Board of Commissioners seven different times during his time on the Commission.
Samples brought a wealth of knowledge to the Commission. He received a degree in mechanical engineering and business administration from a college in Cleveland, OH and then went on to earn his master’s degree in engineering. He worked with a major automotive company in Michigan for 38 years performing a wide range of engineering, manufacturing and management assignments. He also served as the Chairman on the City Zoning Board of Appeals for seven years where he was living at that time.
Samples said that he could not have done such a thorough job without the support of his wife of over 64 years, Mary Jo. During their marriage, she has made his volunteer work possible supporting him through his many volunteer activities. In addition to P&Z Chairman, he was a part-time instructor for twelve years for math modeling and early calculus at Georgia College and State University and for three years he was an adjunct professor for math at Georgia Military College. As devout Christians, he and Mary Jo are members of Lakeside Church and he has been active with Walk of Emmaus and a men’s small group. He said that the one thing that he is most proud of is supporting the Kairos prison ministry.
On June 08, 2021, Chris Peters, was appointed by the Board of Commissioners to be Samples replacement. Samples said he wishes him the very best during his term and went on to say that the new Chairman will be working with an outstanding Board of Commissioners, County Manager and Building Official.
The Greene County Board of Commissioners, County Manager and Building Official would like to thank Samples for his many years of service to the community.