Avon opens planning board to all county residents
AVON – Most town planning commissions require members be registered voters within the town. But the Avon Town Council recently opened the doors of its commission to anyone in Eagle County.The decision to alter the qualifications for the town’s planning and zoning commission was made at a council meeting on May 10, with a vote of 3-2. Town councilwoman Debbie Buckley cast one of the dissenting votes.”I think Avon should be governed by Avon voters, not by people in Vail or Edwards,” Buckley said Monday. “What do people in Bond or McCoy know about Avon?”The planning commission provides recommendations to the town council on issues from new housing and commercial developments to road projects, signs, town codes and other municipal concerns. In addition to loosening the requirement to include all Eagle County residents, the new rules also stipulate that some members of the commission be industry professionals, such as architects, contractors, developers or contractors. Assistant Town Manager Jackie Halburnt said the council made the change to create a “better balance” on the commission. Of the “2-3 industry professionals” now required on the seven-member commission, the new rules state that two should be architects, landscape architects or designers.”I understand why we would want more architects on the board, but we need to recruit from town,” Buckley said. “There are plenty of architects here.”The way the new rules are written, Avon registered electors are preferred over others. The next level of preference goes to those who own property in town while the third level goes to people with “special skills and experience of particular value ….”Voting against the new rules with Buckley was Amy Phillips. Voting for it were Brian Sipes, Kristi Ferraro and Tamra Underwood. Councilman Mac McDevitt, who voted against the measure on first reading, was not present for the final vote.The town’s planning and zoning commission currently has three vacancies.Alex Miller can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 615, or firstname.lastname@example.org.Vail, Colorado
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