Two new members appointed to the Basin Planning Commission | ParkRecord.com

Two new members appointed to the Basin Planning Commission

Police department staffer secures a spot

Two people were appointed this week to the Snyderville Basin Planning Commission after former members Greg Lawson and Julia Collins unexpectedly resigned.

The Summit County Council selected Malena Stevens, the Park City Police Department's victim advocate, and Thomas Cooke, the owner of a local software development company, to serve on the seven-member board. Their terms will expire on Feb. 28, 2020. Stevens and Cooke were chosen over two other applicants, Georgi Gold and Tim Nemeckay.

"I'm excited and I have a little bit of anxiety to get started, learn a lot and be a part of the process," Stevens said.

Cooke, who is 48 years old and lives in the Silver Summit neighborhood, does not consider himself a "politician or a planner," adding "I'm a bit of an entrepreneur and an engaged citizen." Cooke said he wants to be a part of the planning process while it happens. Cooke had previously interviewed with the County Council for openings on the Snyderville Basin Special Recreation District's Administrative Control Board. He was not selected.

"I've lived in Park City since 1993. I'm not motivated by politics. I'm not a lawyer or a developer. My motivation is simply to be a little more a part of the process," Cooke said. "I don't have experience as a planner. I just hope to bring to the table some creativity and way to look at planning as a process to solve, mitigate and avoid problems in the future."

Cooke moved to the Basin from Park City in 2000. He runs a digital agency responsible for developing tourism and travel software out of his home. He has previously worked on marketing projects with the local ski resorts.

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"One of the big projects of my life is I was involved in the 'Life Elevated' state tourism campaign," Cooke said.

Stevens, who is 31 years old, has lived in Kimball Junction for five years. Since 2013, she has worked with the Park City Police Department as a victim's advocate, specifically for those who have suffered a violent crime.

Stevens said her position with the Police Department will not have any influence on her role as a commissioner, adding "there really isn't any overlap."

"I think Park City is a really special place and I just wanted to help preserve that, while understanding that change and growth is clearly going to happen," Stevens said. "I think I have fairly good sense of the community's overarching desires as far as maintaining the small-town feel and promoting healthy growth and our economy."

Stevens and Cooke will join fellow commissioners Mike Franklin, Bea Peck, Colin DeFord, Canice Harte and Chuck Klingenstein. Their first meeting will be Tuesday, Feb. 14. The agenda includes a public hearing about the Colby School development, a project that includes a restaurant and hotel rooms in several new buildings.

The County Council is also scheduled to fill councilor Doug Clyde's former position on the Eastern Summit County Planning Commission on Wednesday, Feb. 15. Clyde won a seat on the County Council and was sworn in on Jan. 4.

County Councilors interviewed former Summit County Community Development Director Don Sargent, Calee Lott, Clinton Benson and Gale Pace for the open seat last week. Clyde's successor will be appointed for the remainder of the term, which expires in February 2018.

At the end of the month, the terms Commissioners Chris Ure, Ken Henrie and Sean Wharton are also set to expire. Ure and Henrie, who are each nearing the end of their third terms, will not be eligible to reapply.

Commissioners serve on a volunteer basis and are responsible for making recommendations to the County Council regarding zoning, amendments to the respective development codes and application reviews.