Current seat holders Tim Currin and Sheelagh Williams remain on the commission until the BOCC reappoints or replaces them. Both have applied for reappointment, as has first alternate Dudley Case. Second alternate John Baskfield has applied to be first alternate. Only two other letters of interest were submitted by the Apr. 5 deadline.
On Tuesday members of the public addressed the BOCC and made arguments for delaying its public hearing. County Road 22A resident Dave Beckhardt pointed out the difficulties of finding visual impact information on the county's website. He said when he did find some documents, they were only the draft regulation and the planning commission report to the BOCC. Much more information was generated in the two-plus years the matter was with the commission, he said.
Commissioner Lynn Padgett asked staff to put all documents online and indicate on the county's home page in bold a link to them.
Attorney Andy Mueller, who with Bob Thomas and Mike Hockersmith represent many of the ranches in the county, told the board they are retaining consultants to provide professional testimony at a future hearing. Given that the planning commission hearing minutes were not available until Apr. 24, and the website difficulties, Mueller said their experts need time to review the material and prepare presentations. He also cautioned against a Friday night hearing as had been tentatively scheduled.
Commissioner Don Batchelder echoed the comment, saying it will take him 80 hours to read the packet since up by the planning commission.
After discussion among the commissioners of the merits of July, August and September timeframes considering a busy tourist season, the growing season, school schedule, the availability of the 4-H Center, deliberating while the issue is fresh and how vacationers can submit a comment, they decided to gather public input and wait until May 14 to decide on a date.
One of the reasons the board planned to hold a hearing in May was the necessity of filling the vacant planning commission seats, Padgett said. She was responding to a question from Gail Jossi regarding when appointments would be made.
"We are trying to wrap this up," Padgett said. If for some reason the BOCC sends the proposed regulations back to the planning commission, they could be back to square one if it is a different commission.
Commissioners agreed they would discuss the appointments timeframe on May 14 also.
Discussion next centered on the amount of time members of the public would have to address the BOCC at the hearing and how questions from the public would be handled. It was generally agreed, but not finally decided, that individuals would have five minutes and groups would have 15, and speakers could sign up for a few days prior to the meeting and at the meeting. Also, staff would answer any factual questions posed by the public.
Commissioners asked staff to draft a proposed procedure to consider on May 14.
In a related development, at the planning commission's Apr. 23 meeting, final approval was given to the minutes from the public hearing held Feb. 26 and Mar. 21, to be included in the extensive packet going to the BOCC. Only minor typographical errors in the minutes were changed by the commission.
Planning commissioner Randy Parker abstained from the vote on the Mar. 21 minutes, expressing his frustration with County Attorney Marti Whitmore's direction that substantive changes could not be made to the minutes prepared by BOCC clerk Linda Munson-Haley, even to statements made by planning commissioners. Whitmore was not present at the Apr. 23 meeting, but County Planner Mark Castrodale relayed her instruction.
Parker also suggested that the planning commission conduct a "post mortem" in order to improve the process of making changes to the land use code.
Questioning Whitmore's instruction not to make substantive changes to the public hearing minutes before approving them, Parker said, "I'd like Marti Whitmore to explain why we as speakers can't make changes. I don't think she has the right to tell us we can't make these changes that we believe are correct. I'd like to know what her authority is and why someone else that we have no control over transcribes something and if they make an error we are stuck with it. What if someone left out the word not and you believe you said the word not and you want to listen to transcript. I am not going to vote to approve something I have no control over changing. That's baloney...What are we voting for if we can't change it?"
"If we make assumptions (by making changes) we will taint it," Planning Commissioner Tim Currin responded. "And this whole thing has been a bit of a dark cloud anyway."
The planning commissioners, absent Chair Ken Lipton and alternate John Baskfield, disagreed on whether to go ahead with a review of the process or to wait until the visual impact process, including the BOCC public hearing and aftermath, had concluded. Currin said the BOCC is likely to critique the process in its deliberations, but Williams felt that was unlikely.
Planning commissioners also want to look at staff's role in drafting new code language and perhaps in running the planning commission meetings, to keep them on track and focused.
"I don't think anyone, including the planning commission, was happy with the length of time it (proposed visual impact regulations) took and we have to find a way to move it along faster," Parker said. "If we take this much time every time we do a substantive revision, we do a disservice to the county and to the public. We need to find way to make it work faster."