BoCC demands planning commission resignations

The Archuleta County Board of County Commissioners requested resignations from all members of the county planning commission Jan. 22, and the move comes as town and county officials seek ways to merge their respective building and planning departments and possibly the planning commissions.

Although Archuleta County Commissioner Bob Moomaw said the resignation requests didn’t stem from the board’s dissatisfaction with the commission, planning commissioner attendance at meetings, or lack thereof, played at least a partial role in the board’s request.

According to the planning commission bylaws, at least 75 percent attendance is required of planning commissioners, although, according to county documents, three have dipped well below that mark.

In addition, a county staff report also indicates all the county planning commissioners fail to meet their own bylaws in regard to guidelines for technical knowledge and professional qualifications needed to serve on the advisory board. The report also cites leadership issues, conflicts of interest by some commissioners and a lack of balance in opposing views on land use issues.

As of press time, only three of the planning commissioners had submitted written resignations.

Moomaw has indicated the board of county commissioners is willing to work with the planning commission on ways to restructure the panel. In addition, part of the recruitment process will likely include the opportunity for town officials to review, or provide input on applicants.

To apply for the county planning commission, the preferred applicant must be a resident of the county for at least the past six months and must anticipate uninterrupted continued full-time residence, due to attendance requirements.

In 2009, the planning commission will be charged with reviewing and updating the Archuleta County Community Plan, the County Zoning Map and portions of the County Land Use Code. The Commission will also hear applications for commercial and residential development, including subdivisions and planned unit developments, zoning variances, and other regulated land uses, such as mining, quarrying, and oil and gas development.

The Archuleta County Planning Commission By-Laws and American Planning Association (APA) guidelines recommend that members have a land use or technical degree, license or work-related background in architecture, landscape architecture, land use law, planning, engineering, construction, commercial or residential development, real estate, resource development, preservation or management, including land, water, minerals, forestry, wildlife, ranch or farmland.

Applicants with a practical knowledge of zoning and land use regulations will be given preference, but a balanced representation of the community is being sought.

Those interested should contact Rick Bellis, director of county development, by e-mail at: rbellis@archuletacounty.org, or (fax) 970-731-3881, with a brief resume or letter outlining your area of interest and qualifications.

For more information, go to www.archuletacounty.org.

james@pagosasun.com