Blanton said he plans to do consulting work with other planning commissions and developers or perform training for cities and counties across the state. He may also work with accreditation services, he said.
"I'm not retiring because of any particular (issue). Personally, it's just time to change."
Henry Rosenthal, general counsel for the Planning Commission, has known Robert since he started his position.
"I never expected it to be his lifelong career," he said with a laugh.
Commissioner Doug Christopher said in an interview after the meeting that Blanton's knowledge is widely respected.
"I had the priviledge of attending many meetings with Mr. Blanton outside of Clark County, where there were a lot of planners in the room, and he was always the smartest planner there," he said "He served in a very, very difficult position, but he did so in a manner that was truly outstanding. And he will be sorely missed."
"I'm sure he'll be successful in whatever he does with his knowledge and background in planning," he said. "I think it's going to be a loss to the community."
Rosenthal echoed those comments about Blanton's knowledge of planning issues, saying "He was always prepared" and has seen lots of changes in the community in his term.
Commissioner Clare Sipple said she's known Robert Blanton for years, but never really knew him very well until she was appointed to the planning commission. Her work with him there inspired great respect not only for him personally, but for his expanded knowledge of planning issues and related ordinances.
"If you ask him about anything with the comprehesnive plan or different ordinances, he can tell you immediately," Sipple said.
"I attended several different meetings with him â?¦ and Mr. Blanton was always the person who asked the tough questions, and I always appreciated that about him," she said. "He wasn't just a cheerleader for good planning."
She said that someone who could spend 32 years in the same position, one that gets "a lot of abuse," must have tenacity.
"It's not an easy job," she said.
Sipple also clarified that the timing was coincidental, and she knew it had nothing to do with the formation of a committee to study the benefits of splitting the joint planning and zoning commission into independent city and county planning.
Blanton said it was "just the right time," for him to retire, after so long doing the same thing.
In regards to the committee, Blanton said he had just hoped it would have been more representative of the community, perhaps including a Realtor and/or someone from Farm Bureau.
As for his time served with planning and zoning, he said: "You've got a good commission. They've got the community at heart. There's been some memorable occasions. We've had some interesting topics."
Mayor Ed Burtner said this morning that he doesn't have a replacement in mind yet, but the city is considering hiring an interim for about 90 days while the City Commission conducts a search.
"I would hope that we would be able to have a hire ready for the City Commission within that 90-day period," he said. "We are going to try to be as aggressive as we can."
The planning commission had some other personnel changes on Tuesday as Larry Disney, former chairman of the planning commission, was elected chairman to replace Russ Coleman, who resigned at the beginning of the year because of stress-related health problems. Disney served as chairman several years ago, and resigned before he moved away from Winchester.
This was also the first meeting back for new Commissioner Walter Newell, who is filling Coleman's seat. Newell left his position on the planning commission last June.
In other business, the commission:
â?¢ approved a zone change for 1631 McClure Road from agricultural to residential, for a development plan by Robert Rose. His plan will build R1C lots with homes targeted to residents 55 years and older, Christopher said. There will be four homes together that are connected by a common wall or by a garage, and they will be in the $275,000 price range. Rose told the commission that he already had several residents interested in the development, which would be the first of its kind in Clark County. A homeowner's association would also take care of maintenance for the homes, such as mowing the yards, Christopher said.
â?¢ postponed voting on a Verizon cell tower that the company wants on 8493 Wades Mill Road, at the company's request.
â?¢ decided not to make any changes to its current subdivision regulation for agricultural subdivisions, which requires a common entrance for lots of less than five acres.
-Â Reporter Mike Wynn contributed to this story