Diverse pool of candidates vying for openings on the Snyderville Basin Planning Commission
Nine people submitted applications to serve on the Snyderville Basin Planning Commission last week, including an incumbent member of the panel and other longtime community members.
There are two terms expiring on the planning panel at the end of the month, currently held by Chair Bea Peck and Malena Stevens. Summit County Councilors will conduct interviews with the applicants on Wednesday during their weekly meeting. The chosen commissioners, who will each serve a four-year term, will likely be appointed sometime within the next two weeks.
Peck said last week she was on the fence about seeking a third term. She did not submit an application to retain her seat. However, Stevens applied in the hopes of keeping her spot.
The two people who are selected to serve on the Planning Commission will be joining at a time when the panel’s work appears to be slowing down. In 2018, commissioners made decisions about several large projects, including the proposed hotel at the former Colby School property and the Woodward action sports camp, and completed their review of the reconfiguration of the master plan for the Canyons Village at Park City Mountain Resort.
But, the Planning Commissions plans to begin looking at the Basin General Plan and the Kimball Junction neighborhood master plan. Both items could take months to sort through.
A summary of the applications:
• Michael Augustine has lived in Summit County for nearly six years. He is employed by Slopeside Capital Partners and said his background in real estate development would prove useful. He said he has worked with planning commissions all over the country and understands both perspectives of promoting growth and preserving growth.
“Land use is a critical part of any community and planning is important to enhance the efficient use of resources with minimal impact on future generations of the community,” he said in his application.
• Christopher Neville, a self-employed software developer, has lived in the county for 10 years. He most recently ran for the District 53 seat in the Utah House of Representatives. He said he is concerned about the growth of the community and wants to help guide it.
“Technology is my specialty, but over the last year I have worked hard to reach out the community and would love an opportunity to serve and bring that experience to the planning commission,” he said.
• David Kottler is currently serving on the Administrative Control Board of the Snyderville Basin Special Recreation District. Kottler, a resident of more than 17 years, first applied to serve on the Planning Commission in 2011. He was unsuccessful in that bid.
“The Planning Commission must grapple with difficult issues, such as transportation, affordable housing, sustainability, and preservation of open space,” he said in his application. “I am confident that my desire to promote responsible growth and my experience and abilities make me an ideal candidate.”
• Crystal Simons is a self-employed professional planner. She has worked in land and natural resource conversation for more than 10 years. She previously worked for Park City from 2005 until 2009, working on the city’s carbon footprint analysis and action plan. She has lived in the county on and off for about four years.
“I want to contribute my skill set as a local resident and professional planner to the Snyderville Basin and assist Summit County and its residents in maintaining this incredible quality of life, in building community and in expanding equity and growing smart,” she wrote.
• Brandi Connolly is a six-year resident and operates Crestline Consulting, a strategy consulting firm. She touted her experience in communications as a business executive and said she understands what it takes to “create, interpret and follow a general (strategic) plan.”
“As an active community member with a young family, I bring a localized viewpoint that is for today and tomorrow,” she stated in her application.
• Jane Yager, who has lived in Kimball Junction for nearly three years, said she wants to contribute to the planning process. She is retired, but previously held positions in resource management and economics. She said she understands the challenges of living in the Basin firsthand.
“I have several years of experience in analysis of the real life impacts of land use issues and regulations,” she stated.
• Edward Panos wrote in his application that he would like to use his knowledge of business, commercial real estate development and finance to give back to the community. He has lived in the county for six years and listed his employer as Pacific Group Properties.
“I have two young daughters who are growing up in Park City and I want them to be able to call Park City their home when they are older,” his application stated.
• Harry Hirsch works for Red Ledges and has lived in the county for five years. He said he wants to help make decisions that impact the community and land immediately as well as in the future. He said he offers a fresh perspective as someone with a background in public service and hospitality operations.
“I’ve reached a place where my experience has allowed me to take all that I’ve learned and once more contribute to my community in a truly meaningful and effective way,” he said.
• Malena Stevens has served on the Planning Commission since 2017. She was appointed to the planning panel alongside Thomas Cooke after two former members resigned. She said she originally applied to serve the community. She has lived in the county for seven years and works for the Park City Police Department.
“I have a passion for government and enjoy increasing knowledge so I can engage with friends, family and other members of the community regarding how the process works,” she said.
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The Coalville native doesn’t see any major roadblocks for this year’s fair, though presenting in front of the County Council is a little nerve wracking.