Boundary County Planning and Zoning Commission

July 19, 2012

Members Present: Dan Studer, Marciavee Cossette, John Moss, John Cranor, Ron Self.

Members who notified office unable to attend: Matt Cossalman, Steve Shelman.

Members absent: Bruce Behrman.

Dan Studer called the meeting to order at 5:30 p.m. He announced the only agenda item for this evening is review of applicants for Planning and Zoning Commission. The applicants are: Mike Weland; Caleb Davis; James Robinson; Gordon Newell; and Don Jordan.

Studer reviewed the Ordinance Section 3.6 to refresh members of Qualifications, and Filling Vacancies. Studer said the position vacated was vacated in January 2012, and went ahead to read in the Ordinance 3.6.3 Term of Office: to be staggered so that no more than five terms expire within any two-year period. The commission will review and decide a recommendation to put forward to the County Commissioners for final decision, or table.

Studer mentioned that there might be more than one position on the commission to fill because the Commissioners had expressed interest in filling the vacancy of Mike Weland, Administrator, with Matt Cossalman or Dan Studer. John Moss asked regarding the term of office, if Matt or Dan were selected as Administrator the vacancy term would be for the remainder of either persons term (not the start of a four year term). Studer responded in the affirmative. Matt Cossalman’s term is up in January 2013, along with Bruce Berhman. John Moss clarified that if Cossalman is selected for the Administrator position and we appoint someone to the Commission, the term would expire in January.

Studer said that was his understanding, and at that time the individual may let his term lapse, or write the Commissioners a letter expressing their wish to continue on the Commission, and the Commissioners may decide. John Cranor told the group that that was how it happened with him. Marciavee Cossette also had similar experience with her term in office. John Moss indicated we should clearly explain to applicants we are not just filling a four-month term. Ron Self commented that it might be an opportunity for someone who felt they had made a mistake, to get out of the position without having to resign.

Studer recommended that after our interview we make a motion to fill vacancy 1 (vice-Paul Shelton). Then decide if we wish to make a motion on position 2 (vice- Cossalman or Studer). Discussions lead to agreement with this recommendation.

Studer asked if there were any more discussion questions? Having none he opened the interview with Gordon Newell. Studer told Gordon the members all have his letter of interest with information on his background in the community; would he comment on his interest further?

Newell commented on his background in landscape architecture and park design, which gives him a long background in planning. Newell said he’s lived here four years now and is interested in serving the community.

Studer asked where he was from originally. Newell said he grew up on the West coast and spent most of his career in Seattle.

Cranor asked if he had during his career ever had experience applying for permits or variances? Newell responded yes, he had to apply for many permits during his park planning position.

Studer asked Gordon if he had any experience reading the County Zoning Ordinance and the Comprehensive Plan? Gordon responded he was familiar with other counties plans; however, he had not gone over the Boundary County plans.

Ron Self asked what Gordon felt is important for Boundary County. Newell responded that parks and open areas are important for people in the community. Self asked about jobs. Newell responded that parks attract people and create jobs. It is important to make the community inviting, to attract more people.

Studer commented that sometimes on the commission you are put into controversy or positions where people become adversarial; have you experience dealing with stressful situations where you need to remain calm? Gordon responded that in his letter he stated his last job was a Director for a therapeutic boarding school. Working with parents, students, and therapist would often be stressful. He believes in maintaining composure, and reduced stress.

John Cranor asked what Gordon felt was the responsibility of a member of the Planning and Zoning Commission? Gordon responded the main responsibility is to maintain the ordinance. Also, use knowledge and experience to provide input to the group; add another thought/personality for diverse ideas.

Cranor said the ordinance has to strike a balance between personal property owner rights and the need of the community; people try to wiggle around to their own point of view, and some stress more towards individual property rights – others feel that government control is more important. What is your view of this? Gordon responded there has to be a balance; the property owners hire government workers and the government workers need to respect the owners; and this must be balanced by the need for government, otherwise the whole county would be paved. There is need for government and ordinances to protect people and the environment.

John Moss commended Gordon on his response and the desire to recognize both views and strike a balance. Moss said the underlying duty is to enforce the ordinance. Also, the Commission meets on the third Thursday of each month, would you have any problem meeting that time frame? Newell responded no.

No further questions asked, Studer closed the interview with Gordon Newell and thanked Gordon.

Studer re-opened the meeting with commission members and all members had discussion on all applicants.

There was concern over some applicants not stating clearly that they have lived in Boundary County for two years and meeting that qualification.

Being no further discussion of applicants, Studer asked for a motion to fill the position of Paul Shelton. Ron Self motion to fill the vacancy with Mike Weland. John Cranor second. Vote is unanimous.

Studer asked for discussion of vacancy 2 (vice Cossalman or Studer).

Ron Self, and John Cranor mentioned two applicants they looked favorably towards, Marciavee also.

John Moss brought up the desire to talk to all applicants before making a recommendation. The group agreed that they would not be inclined to vote for recommending applicants who have not come before the commission for an interview.

Discussion within the group was favorable to both parties who have been interviewed.

John Moss lead the discussion towards tabling discussion now and invite all applicants for interview, and have it at a time when Steve Shelman, Bruce Behrman, and Matt Cossalman could attend so they could then hear answers to questions too.

John Cranor motion to table discussion on position 2, and give us time to verify residency qualifications of James Robinson, and arrange a time when Behrman, Shelman and Cossalman can meet with all applicants. Second by Ron Self.

Discussion, John Moss suggested we set up a common list of questions to ask all applicants.

End of discussion Studer called for the question, vote in favor unanimous.

There was no other business; Studer closed the meeting.

Notes by: Dan Studer.