Seymour man retires after 32 years on plan commission

The Seymour Plan Commission recently filled a spot occupied by a man who served the city for 32 years.

Mark Hays participated in his last plan commission meeting Nov. 11, 2021. On Feb. 10, he was replaced by Darren Richey.

Born and raised in Seymour, Hays attended Seymour High School before going to Hanover College.

At Hanover, Hays was an athlete, involved with student government and the judicial review board and was a residential adviser. He returned to Seymour upon graduation.

Hays would go on to fill a vacant spot on the Seymour Plan Commission left by Tom Trimpe, a family friend.

Before Trimpe left the plan commission, Hays said he told him he was interested in taking his spot.

“I just felt like I needed to do something to serve the community,” Hays said.

A county commissioner would have to appoint Hays to the plan commission due to his residence in Seymour’s 2-mile fringe, and after talking to former commissioner John Schafstall, Hays was able to get his blessing and serve on the plan commission.

Mike Jordan was credited as a mentor to Hays in his early days on the plan commission.

One question from Jordan that guided Hays’ decisions, he said, was “Is this in the best interest of the city of Seymour as a whole?”

Across Hays’ 32-year term, he worked with four District 2 county commissioners, four Seymour building commissioners, four city engineers, three city attorneys and four mayors, he said.

Hays said his favorite aspect of being on the Seymour Plan Commission was that the governmental body did not have the final decision on the cases brought to them and instead forwarded recommendations to either the Seymour Board of Zoning Appeals or Seymour City Council.

A difficult part of the job, he said, was that there were decisions that were hard to make and plan commission members have to separate the personalities that come before them from the ordinances that must be enforced.

“Either those ordinance are good and should be enforced or why even have them,” Hays said.

He attended the Feb. 10 plan commission meeting to receive a gift for his years of service to the city and left with a parting message.

“You have to have ordinances and you have to enforce them or what good are rules,” Hays said.