"It's up to the legislative body to decide what the residency requirements would be for your Planning Commissions," Summit County Chief Civil Deputy Attorney Dave Thomas said during the Feb. 6 work session. "You could have individuals who live in municipalities or individuals who live only in the unincorporated county. The issue is that right now in our Snyderville Basin Development Code, it says the planning commissioners need to reside within the planning district."
Summit County has been out of compliance with allowing municipal residents to serve on the Planning Commission. Currently, there are two planning commissioners who live in the Park City municipal boundary: Chuck Klingenstein and Bruce Taylor.
Community Development Director Don Sargent said staff doesn't have a problem with the commissioners who reside in municipalities, but said they would like to have the issue clarified for the Development Code.
"At the end of the day, the council selects the commissioners anyway, whether they are in a municipality or not. If the council feels like the commission is getting overbalanced with municipal planning commissioners, they don't have to appoint municipal members," he said.
Sargent added that there are pros and cons to both sides.
"In the pros, you obviously get a larger pool of applicants if you open it up to municipalities as well," he said. "For most of the jurisdictions I'm aware of, one of the main reasons they encompass municipalities is to make sure they get an adequate pool of applicants. And you also have more diverse people when you include municipalities."
On the other hand, Sargent said, a commissioner may have a bias towards his or her community.
"If there is a conflict between the two, it could be a potential bias," he said.
Councilmember Chris Robinson said he is in favor of preserving the flexibility of allowing municipal residents to serve on the Planning Commission.
"But what bothers me is that we're now hearing about it after nine years," he said.
Sargent said the issue would arise whenever the council interviewed someone from a city, and the code would be broadly interpreted each time.
"So it's good to finally get some clear direction on what the council would like to do," he said.
Council directed staff to amend the Snyderville Basin Development Code to allow members to reside anywhere in the planning district. The Planning Department is expediting the process so that it can go before the County Council for final approval on March 13.
Until then, Klingenstein and Taylor will continue to attend meetings and receive commissioner materials, but will not be able to discuss or vote.