Eagle County’s Ryan: No retribution in Roaring Fork planning board picks | AspenTimes.com

Eagle County’s Ryan: No retribution in Roaring Fork planning board picks

Jill Ryan
Courtesy photo |

Eagle County’s decision not to reappoint two longtime members of the Roaring Fork Valley Regional Planning Commission had nothing to do with politics and everything to do with diversity, Commissioner Chairwoman Jill Ryan said Tuesday.

“The recommendations seemed solid,” Ryan said.

The county commissioners earlier this month endorsed a recommendation by Damian Peduto, community development director, not to reappoint Cathy Markle and Raul Gawrys, who had both served for more than three years on the planning commission. Their terms were up but both applied to continue serving on the volunteer board.

Ryan said the commissioners “really empowered” Peduto to review the 11 applicants and recommend who should be appointed. The commissioners didn’t interview the applicants, as they did in the past.

The commissioners are moving in the direction of leaving recommendations on appointments in the hands of department heads.

“The bottom line is we trust Damian,” Ryan said. “We think he does a really good job.”

Peduto wanted to open the board up to new perspectives, she said.

Temple Glassier, a longtime member of the planning commission and its chairwoman, was reappointed. Alternate member Phillip Ring was elevated to a voting member. Curtis Vaughn also was appointed to a seat.

The planning commission advises the county commissioners on land-use items and tackles details such as land-use master plans.

Markle and Gawrys questioned if they were removed because they spoke up about flaws they saw in the Eagle County review process and voted differently than the commissioners on two recent midvalley applications: the Tree Farm and The Fields.

The planning commission and county commissioners met this fall and discussed how to improve their communication and interactions. Ryan said Markle and Gawrys made comments similar to those made by other members of the planning commission.

“We really welcomed their critiques,” Ryan said.

Plus, she said, the county commissioners have acted on issues related to the critiques — replacing some Community Development Department employees, exploring changes to the land-use code and considering if the Mid Valley Area Master Plan should be altered.

Ryan said the announcement of the decision not to reappoint two longtime members of the planning commission could have been handled better. She said she didn’t realize how “attached” they were to the service.

“In hindsight, it definitely feels like it” could have been handled more personally by the commissioners, she said.