County extends planning commission application deadline

The Archuleta County Board of County Commissioners (BoCC) has extended the deadline for applications to the Archuleta County planning commission to Monday, March 9 , at 5 p.m.

As of Feb. 20, the initial application deadline, the county received 11 applications.

The request for new blood came after the BoCC ousted all members of their planning commission Jan. 22, ostensibly to pave the way for a new county planning commission with Pagosa Springs Town Council representation — or at least the council’s endorsement of appointees.

Town representation on the county planning commission is one of the many bargaining chips the county has offered to encourage the town to participate in the proposed merger of town and county building and planning departments. However, and despite the county’s willingness to merge departments and planning commissions (or at least obtain town council representation on their planning commission), it remains unclear whether the council will opt in.

That said, and according to county staff, the extension will provide time for the possibility of additional candidates to apply. In addition, the extension will give the Pagosa Springs Town Council time to discuss their role and level of representation and participation on the county planning commission during their retreat March 5.

Names of the applicants will be released after the March 9 closing date and interviews will be conducted shortly thereafter.

To apply for the county planning commission, the preferred applicant must be a resident of the county for at least the past six months and must anticipate uninterrupted continued full-time residence, due to attendance requirements.

In 2009, the planning commission will be charged with reviewing and updating the Archuleta County Community Plan, the County Zoning Map and portions of the County Land Use Code. The commission will also hear applications for commercial and residential development, including subdivisions and Planned Unit Developments, zoning variances, and other regulated land uses, such as mining, quarrying, and oil and gas development.

The Archuleta County Planning Commission By-Laws and American Planning Association (APA) guidelines recommend that members have a land use or technical degree, license or work-related background in architecture, landscape architecture, land use law, planning, engineering, construction, commercial or residential development, real estate, resource development, preservation or management, including land, water, minerals, forestry, wildlife, ranch or farmland.

Applicants with a practical knowledge of zoning and land use regulations will be given preference, but a balanced representation of the community is being sought.

Those interested should contact Rick Bellis, director of county development, by e-mail at: rbellis@archuletacounty.org, or (fax) 731-3881, with a brief resume or letter outlining your area of interest and qualifications.

For more information, go to www.archuletacounty.org.

james@pagosasun.com