P&Z down to only four
Aspen, CO ColoradoAspen With the departure of Jasmine Tygre Jan. 9, the seven-member Aspen Planning and Zoning Commission will be down to four people. Tygre chaired the commission until she agreed to take departing Councilwoman Rachel Richards’ seat when she joins the board of County Commissioners.But even before losing Tygre, the city was having trouble filling the vacant spots.”I think there’s a feeling that serving on the board doesn’t have the cachet council does,” said Councilman J.E. DeVilbiss.Combine that with a significant time commitment, and many would-be public servants might opt not to apply for P&Z.Both Richards and DeVilbiss said P&Z’s work to make recommendations before a development application reaches the council is important to the process.”I think it’s extremely valuable,” DeVilbiss said. “We may not follow [recommendations], but it provides a jumping off place for discussion.”Commissioner Steve Skadron said he was compelled to apply for P&Z because he felt a personal responsibility to his community.”I wanted some say in the direction my city was taking,” he said. “And I felt the responsibility to get involved.”Skadron says the community as a whole, including developers, might be short-changed when the commission is missing so many members.”I think the interaction between each of the commissioners is important,” he said. “It helps refine perspective, and that’s something I miss.”Those discussions are important for the developers, too, who rely on P&Z to help them reconsider the details of a project before it comes before the council.”P&Z should be more than saying ‘yes’ or ‘no,” he said. “I think the applicant deserves a fair review. It’s extremely expensive and time-consuming for them to get to P&Z in the first place.”Skadron, who works in marketing, said he values the “varied backgrounds” on the commission and that the interaction among P&Z members has helped change his perspective from time to time.The current commission, he said, might be perceived as heavy on the real estate and architectural side because those are the types of people who tend to apply. Skadron said he’s developed interests in new areas since joining the commission, but he, too, recognizes that the time commitment and nature of the work might not appeal to everyone who seeks to get involved in government.”It’s not for everybody,” he said. “It is boring for some and exciting for others. It’s a personality thing.”Twenty-five people applied for Richards’ spot on the council, and most of the council members have said they’d like to see the 24 other than Tygre apply for the open P&Z spots.Several members singled out council applicants Dwayne Romero, development manager at Obermeyer Place, and Andy MacCracken, a senior at Aspen High School, as people they’d like to see apply for P&Z.”I wanted to see the kid go to P&Z,” Tygre said. “He seems like the kind of person who would bring a lot of vitality and interest.”For those who don’t think the job holds the cachet of a spot on the council, Skadron has a different message.”Now is an interesting time, because you have the ability to shape what’s going on in the moratorium,” he said.Applications for P&Z are available in the City Clerk’s office in City Hall or online at http://www.aspenpitkin.com, under City Departments, City Clerk, appointment application.Abigail Eagye’s e-mail address is email@example.com
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