Nine considered for three planning commission seats
One seat likely to go to incumbent, who reapplied
Last updated 11/27/2020 at 4:32am
Mill Creek’s Planning Commission is preparing for new faces after nine applied for three open seats.
Current chair Stan Eisner has reapplied for his own seat, and is hoping to serve another term. That commitment ends in 2023. The public is welcome to apply for Eisner’s seat, as he will have to reinterview and is not guaranteed the role, said Tom Rogers, Planning and Development Services manager.
Other openings are due to resignations. Dennis Teschlog has resigned because he is moving away, Rogers said. April Berg is overbooked with a legislative seat and school board services. She is also a Democratic precinct committee officer.
Teschlog's replacement will serve through April 2023.
Berg confirmed with the Beacon that she will not reapply for her seat, which ends Dec. 31. She is leaving the Planning Commission to focus on other leadership roles. Her replacement will serve through April 2022.
“It’s all so interesting,” Berg said of her civic involvement. “I’d like to do it all.”
Berg, a Democrat, drew 52% of the vote in a race against Republican Mark James for Position 2, representing the 44th District in the state Legislature. Berg will continue as a school board member.
The Planning Commission is a nonpartisan body, and its members do not need to live in the city. The City Council is scheduled to fill vacancies in its Dec. 8 meeting, Rogers said.
Other commission members are Brian Hyatt, Daniel J. Mills, Matthew Nolan, and Nicolas Marin. Planning Commission meetings are normally held at 7 p.m. the third Thursday of each month, but every meeting since May has been canceled.
“I wish we could have had some on Zoom,” Berg said.
Duties and responsibilities include preparation of the comprehensive plan, as well as conducting public hearings on land use. That plan can shape a city as it contributes to issues such as transportation, utilities, land use, recreation and housing. It also influences development of land and building uses within the city. The city’s most recent plan is at https://bit.ly/3pBPW1a. It must be updated every eight years, and has to be reviewed periodically to ensure compliance with the Growth Management Act.
Berg encouraged women to apply for planning commission openings. A female voice is important because “it’s perspective, it's lived experience,” Berg said.
She said the view of an at-home parent, regarding land use, adds perspective that may be different than that of a business owner, or some other currently represented role on commissions and boards. She said that insight is relevant to city development because planning is about land use.
Stephanie Vignal, who serves on the Mill Creek City Council and as mayor pro tem, has echoed that sentiment. She encouraged women to apply the last time the City Council had open seats.
“It’s important that we have women from our community involved at all levels of leadership in our city. Their perspectives are unique and their voices are needed as we shape our community going forward," Vignal said. "The city benefits when we have diverse backgrounds and perspectives, and I’m looking forward to seeing more women involved.”
Of the nine applicants, two to three are women, said Shari Ringstad, associate planner for the City. She was counting emails the day after the deadline, and the names shown were not a clear indicator in order to get an exact count, of male and female candidates.
For more information on what is involved in commission roles, go to https://bit.ly/2UASkH9.