Friday, December 09, 2005

Help Wanted: Thankless job in search of applicants willing to work for nothing under a microscope

The county Planning Board is again short on bodies.

This and the previous vacancies have been problematic because the board is involved in many of the county's most complex and controversial issues. The five-member board at times has been reduced to three, the legal minimum to conduct business; at other times its deliberations have been slowed as new members try to acquaint themselves with the issues and zoning policies before the panel.
I very much appreciate those who dedicate countless hours to serving the county on various boards and commissions, but I often have to question their sanity, especially the members of the beleaguered planning board who get beat up from both sides seemingly every time they hear a case. What's more, they're just average, caring citizens forced to parse arcane zoning regulations under cumbersome rules of order to justify what are usually common sense rulings. Is it any wonder the county has had trouble keeping people on this panel?

The most recent vacancy came after having a full board for less than a year. Jennifer Terrasa resigned following her announcement that she would seek the district 3 council seat vacated by Guy Guzzone.

In somewhat related news, Terrasa, who has been leading a loose coalition of parents urging CA to erect a fence at the tot lot on Lake Elkhorn after a child drowned in the lake a few months ago, was not pleased with the outcome of a consultant√É‚’s report that said such a fence was not needed.
Terrasa, who has three children, ages 2, 4 and 6, said she does not take them to the Lake Elkhorn tot lot because it is too difficult for her to supervise them. She said she has received "many countless" e-mail messages from parents who share her concerns, and she does not understand why the Columbia Association does not take the parents' word for it that it is a dangerous playground without a fence.

"We ask [parents] to supervise their children," Terrasa said. "We ought to help them do that."

You’ve got to give the early lead in the district 3 race to Terrasa, who is up against Donna Thewes, for making herself known throughout the county. Local elections are often decided based on name recognition, something Terrasa seems to understand quite well.

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