A clearly opinionated Chaffee County board approved an amended motion during its Jan. 15 regular meeting, appointing four new members to the Chaffee County Planning Commission; Dave Kelly and Hank Held to three-year terms, and Marjo Curgus and Anderson Horne to one-year terms.
The move returns the Planning Commission to a nine-member board; with eight men and only a single female member, who is now reappointed to a single year of service. Eleven people submitted applications to serve on the Planning Commission, including five women. The commissioners did not share the scoring mechanism with the public.
“I suggest we reappoint Curgus to a three-year term until 2022, then talk about the three to replace vacancies … there is continuity and she has reapplied for her seat,” said Commissioner Keith Baker in making the initial motion. It would have reappointed Curgus for a second, three-year term, with Kelly and Held appointed to new three-year terms, and Anderson Horne to a one year term (completing the term of Planning Commissioner Tracy Vanderveer, who has resigned from the Planning Commission).
Baker’s motion hung without a second, with new commissioner Rusty Granzella objecting to the re-appointment of Curgus. He said he would not provide a second because in his opinion, there were other more qualified applicants according to his candidate scoring. “ I didn’t feel she was the strongest at all in that respect as far as a team player,” said Granzella.”
“The Planning Commission has to be able to deliver a comprehensive plan, that’s the big project over the coming year,” said Baker…”I scored her very high on strategic planning and experience …and she’s involved here, representing the planning perspective with other community groups.”
“I scored Marjo high too, for the same reasons Keith did,” said Chair Greg Felt. “I want her around … what she brings to this is continuity, knowledge, background, connections, experience in planning … I think she is clear in sharing her knowledge and opinions, she understands people sharing their views. I personally struggle sometimes with her delivery, but she lives in that planning world where she is so fluent in it, it can be hard to slow down and help people understand. Out of the whole board, with the exception of Mike, I would say she is the person who comes forward with the examples of what you are talking about to help resolve impasses. I feel she is a valuable member. She has had conflict with some of the members, but most of that conflict is stepping off the board.”
Baker said he had scored Horne highly, but he was fairly new to the county and was not involved in the Envision process. In his view this is very important, because it will inform the development of the county’s new Comprehensive Plan. Regarding Curgus he added “Other people on that board, you’d think she might have conflicts with them, and they get along great,” said Baker. “They have respect for each other.”
Granzella reiterated that he would not support the original motion. “I would prefer others – there are others I scored higher.”
A long silence ensued.
Finally Felt reminded commissioners that they were not bound to follow the exact same appoint schedule from the past, and suggested that perhaps the motion be amended to make two one-year appointments of Curgus and Horne, and two three-year appointments of Kelly and Held.
Baker agreed to amend his motion to reflect that suggestion. Granzella seconded and it passed unanimously, with Granzella commenting that “It’s kicking the can down the road,”
Completing three-year terms on Planning Commission are Karin Adams, Rob Treat and Tracy Vanderveer, who resigned from the Planning Commission, leaving one year left on his term. Continuing planning commissioners include: Bruce Cogan, Dan McCabe, Mike Allen, Bill Baker and Joe Stone.
The county is creating a new code of ethics oath for boards coordinated with new oversight rules, and planning commissioners will be sworn in on Jan. 29.