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Galt Planning Commission votes to increase number of commissioners

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Posted: Saturday, February 9, 2013 12:00 am

The Galt Planning Commission could be growing after the Galt City Council gave direction to add two additional commissioners. The change still requires a vote to change the city's municipal code, expected next month.

Council members Curt Campion and Barbara Payne voted against moving forward with the change at a meeting earlier this week.

The Planning Commission holds hearings in a public forum to review a multitude of projects related to land use planning for the city. Its members may also review proposed city ordinances, the annual Capital Improvement Plan and other issues related to consistency with the city's General Plan.

There are currently five commissioners, each appointed by a respective council member. Until June 2011, there was an alternate commissioner appointed by the entire city council, who participated in meetings and voted on items when one of the five was absent.

But Payne said the position was eliminated by the council because that person was increasingly participating in discussions instead of acting as an alternate.

She thinks the number of commissioners is perfect at five, as each one was appointed by a council member. The two new commissioners would be appointed by the entire council.

"Some people are under the impression that if they're appointed by a council member, they should be voting as that council member would," Mayor Marylou Powers said.

But City Attorney Steve Rudolph said that once appointed, a planning commissioner serves at the pleasure of the entire council.

The number of planning commissioners vary by city and is typically set by the city council. In Lodi, for example, there are seven members on the Planning Commission.

Powers, who is a former Galt planning commissioner, was joined by Councilman Mark Crews and Vice Mayor Mike Singleton in supporting an increase to the number of commissioners.

"We're going to be doing a lot of great things in the future, and the more people involved (the better)," Powers said.

But Campion, who worked for the city, favored when a prior council voted to remove the alternate member, as he believed that Galt was the only city in the state that had one.

Instead, he said if there is an issue with attendance and meetings being canceled due to a lack of a quorum, one must look at the actual members of the commission, weigh their dedication and determine whether someone should be removed.

But that hasn't been an issue; since the elimination of the alternate, the commission has only been unable to meet once due to a lack of a quorum, according to Rudolph.

"I don't feel there's a need to fix something," Campion said.

The new ordinance will be introduced at the March 5 meeting, and most likely adopted on March 19. If adopted, it will become effective 30 days thereafter.

Contact reporter Jennifer Bonnett at jenniferb@lodinews.com.

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  • Josh Morgan posted at 2:54 pm on Sat, Feb 9, 2013.

    Josh Morgan Posts: 529

    I am pleased that individual council members in Lodi do not appoint planning commissioners. Each planning commissioner needs the majority vote of the Council. Planning Commissioners need to serve the entire community, not just the Council member that appointed them.

  • Doug Chaney posted at 6:30 am on Sat, Feb 9, 2013.

    advocate Posts: 499

    That's why the planning commissions in both Galt and Lodi are heavily stacked to accommodate the needs of the developers/realtors/investors/good ol' boys and well connected and appointed by the council persons themselves, seemingly a good acquaintance or large contributor to their campaign. These planning puppets should be appointed on a two or three year basis just like council candidates. The outcomes of most of these highly nepotic planning commissions are seemingly always in favor of controversial issues that most taxpayers are against, yet are passed by the same old stacked deck while those who don't have the connections are usually shut down. I believe these appointments made by the council members themselves are just another roundabout process of keeping the good ol' boys regime alive, wealthy, profitable and always dominant in the business and finance climate.



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