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Samson: Planning commission needs more members from Rifle

Pete Fowler
pfowler@postindependent.com
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado ” Garfield County Commissioner Mike Samson worries that the county’s biggest city is under-represented on the county Planning Commission.

“I don’t see anyone here from Rifle,” Samson said Monday about applications for the Planning Commission. “That concerns me because Rifle’s the largest municipality, and we don’t have anybody from that municipality.”

County commissioners reappointed three people already on the planning commission whose terms have expired: Jock Jacober, Bob Fullerton and Sean Martin. They moved Adolfo Gorra and Shannon Kyle from “associate” positions to regular Planning Commission positions. County commissioners also decided to make some time to meet with new planning commission applicants before making further decisions.



The associate planning commissioners are usually the newest appointees. They participate in discussions and vote only when all regular members are not present.

The only person applying for the Planning Commission from Rifle is Kevin Kuersten, owner of Kuersten Construction. No one already on the commission is from Rifle, although Commissioner Philip Vaughan lives in Rulison.



Five positions were up for appointment. The Planning Commission has seven slots for regular members and three for “associate” members.

Earlier in the discussion, Commissioner Tresi Houpt said she’d like to move forward with decisions on appointing “associate” Planning Commission members to the regular Planning Commission. Commissioner John Martin said he’d like to debate those appointments. Samson recommended making time to meet with the new applicants before making further decisions.

Depending on who’s appointed, there could be increased environmental representation.

In a memo, county building and planning director Fred Jarman said county staff recommends appointing Lauren Martindale and Bethany Collins because they “bring very qualified and differing backgrounds that are not represented on the current commission,” which is already “heavily served” by people in construction and engineering. He said they have practical expertise and strong formal education in various facets of land use public policy, which is “severely lacking” on the existing Planning Commission.

Martindale has a background in energy and land use public policy, while Collins has a background in land use and conservation, the memo says.

Martindale has experience as Carbondale’s energy manager and works for Clean Energy Economy for the Region. Collins has experience at Aspen Valley Land Trust and The Nature Conservancy.

Kevin Wasli was the only person besides Kuersten who applied for a spot on the Planning Commission that isn’t already on it. Wasli lives in Carbondale and is a structural engineer at Maggert and Associates.


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