Public hearings should include the public |

Public hearings should include the public

Dear Editor:

Restoring trust and building community require community participation. That is why the first point in my 10-point plan to restore trust and build community is changing the time and place of public hearings.

Public hearings must be held at a time and place that is convenient to most working people in your community. For example, if a developer is requesting to upzone a parcel in Edwards, El Jebel, Eagle-Vail or another area of unincorporated Eagle County, there should be a public hearing in that area of the county at a time when most people are not working. In fairness to the current board, they have held some meetings in the Roaring Fork Valley, but they have been in the middle of the afternoon, when most people are at work.

The towns are way ahead of Eagle County in this area. Towns hold public hearings in the evening, when more people are able to attend and make their voices heard. The county needs to make more of an effort to listen and reach out to the citizens by changing the time of public hearings. Currently, public hearings on most topics are held in the middle of the afternoon on Tuesdays. This means that the regular working person has to use vacation time in order to attend a public hearing. This system needs to be improved to make it easier for more people to have their voices heard by the people elected to represent them.

In cases that will directly affect a particular community the Board of County Commissioners should hold a hearing in that community before making a decision. In addition to holding meetings in communities in order to get input on special projects, the Board of County Commissioners should hold town hall meetings on a regular basis throughout the county. This forum is more comfortable for some people and gives the commissioners another opportunity to listen to the citizens. Several years ago, the town of Avon started holding an annual community meeting in Wildridge.

This meeting has always been well attended and has brought ideas, issues and solutions to the town officials that may not have been heard in other forums.

As county commissioner, I will support implementing public hearings and public meetings that are more convenient for the public.

Debbie Buckley

candidate for Eagle County commissioner


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