Proposal hits a Wahl

A proposal to require as many as three members of the city’s Planning Commission to have a background in planning, as recommended by the county Grand Jury in its 2006-07 report, was discussed at length at Tuesday’s council meeting (Nov. 27), until a single comment by Councilman Larry Wahl (pictured) stopped the debate cold.

Before then, there was much discussion of surveying other cities to see what their requirements were and of whether professional planners might be “conflicted out” on votes. Vice-Mayor Ann Schwab suggested the requirement would limit the applicant pool. Councilwoman Mary Flynn noted that both the Architectural Review Board and the Arts Commission have similar requirements.

Wahl then said, “The Airport Commission doesn’t require a pilot and the Park Commission doesn’t require a park ranger.” He pointed out that, with planners on staff, the city had plenty of professionals involved. “It makes sense to have everyday citizens sitting up there.”

When Schwab said she totally agreed with Wahl, Councilman Steve Bertagna joked, “Hold on. The floor’s shaking.” Wahl’s motion to take no action passed 5-2.