The Park Record editorial, February 24-26, 2010 |

The Park Record editorial, February 24-26, 2010

Without these volunteers, we would lose an important voice

It is a never-ending source of amazement to us that citizens continue to voluntarily serve on local city and county boards and commissions.

In Park City, currently, four people have applied to fill two spots on the Planning Commission, a daunting assignment that requires hours of studying and attending meetings, sometimes in front of angry crowds. An official description of the Planning Commission’s responsibilities lists "general plan review, annexation review, subdivision approval, subdivision and record of survey plat and plat amendment review, master planned development approval, conditional use permit approval, appeals of staff decisions, termination of inactive applications, and sensitive land review."

That’s not the kind of stuff that gets broadcast on TV in front of thousands of adoring fans. Instead of a gold medal after a grueling meeting, you will probably be lucky to get reheated leftovers for dinner.

But we hope that those who serve, on the Park City Planning Commission as well as the Board of Adjustment, the Historic Preservation Board, the Recreation Advisory Board and the Library Board, know that their service is integral to the quality of life in our community.

That also goes for residents in the county who consistently volunteer to serve on the Eastern and Snyderville planning commissions, the RAP and Restaurant Tax granting committees and a variety of boards that help to monitor water concurrency, weeds, public health issues, libraries and open space.

Without them, the public would lose an important voice in how their government enforces local land-use codes and distributes funding for arts and recreation.

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Citizen boards serve as a valuable sounding board for the public and, in these days of limited financial resources, they can add vast amounts of expertise to already stretched city and county departments. In the past, architects, builders and homeowners have all combined their varied professional experiences and personal perspectives to come up with creative solutions for very complex issues. With additional growth and fewer resources on the horizon, the decisions ahead promise to be difficult.

The residents of Summit County benefit greatly from the service of these board members but that appreciation, too often, goes unexpressed. As the debates about controversial new developments in Park City, Francis and across the county unfold, take a moment appreciate the effort they are making to come up with the best solution possible.