New planning manager will supervise busy department


Staff Writer

Archuleta County hopes to have a planning manager soon, following three finalists being named for the position.

Following interviews of the three finalists, the position was offered to one of the candidates, Michael Warrix, who declined the offer Wednesday morning. The position is now being offered to a second finalist, Tracie Hughes.

The position was left vacant in late September with the departure of Cindy Schultz.

Warrix received a B.A. in geography with a specialization in urban and region planning from the University of Kentucky in 1985.

According to Warrix’s resume, he most recently worked as planning and marketing director at MSE of Kentucky, Inc., from 2012 to 2013. Prior to that, Warrix worked as vice president of planning at Keck & Wood, Inc. in Georgia from 1997 to 2012.

Hughes previously worked as an associate planner for Archuleta County from 2006-2007, as well as a planner for La Plata County from 2007-2011, most recently serving seasonally as a data steward for the Santa Fe National Forest in 2012 and 2013.

Hughes obtained a B.S. in English and geography from Frostburg State University in Frostburg, Md. in 1997, and a M.A. in rural geography with an emphasis in planning from Northern Arizona University in 2004.

The third finalist, Michael J. Markus, obtained a B.S. in political science and a legal assistant certificate from Colorado State University-Pueblo in 1985, and completed graduate studies in law and public affairs at the University of Nebraska and University of Colorado between 1985 and 1990.

Markus most recently worked for Olsson Associates in Grand Junction as a project scientist from 2010 to 2012, following serving as a compliance and permitting specialist at the same business from 2008 to 2009. Prior to that, Markus served as a planning and development manager at Development Construction Services, Inc. in Grand Junction from 2006 to 2008.

But despite the lean staff within the planning department it, as well as the building department, reached four-year highs for third quarter activity, as was reported at Tuesday evening’s Board of County Commissioners meeting.

Both reports were presented by Public Works Director Ken Feyen.

According to copies of the reports attached to the agenda, the planning department took in fees totaling $24,543.75 through the third quarter, “which is the highest total through the third quarter in the last four years.”

The department took in 15 projects in the third quarter and processed to completion 16 lot consolidations and six other projects. Staff also, according to the report, held pre-application meetings for 11 general projects and 19 lot consolidations.

The building department, too, set a four-year high with its third quarter numbers — the department collected fees totaling $150,507.53.

Additionally, the report indicates, there has been a total of 208 permits on the year, with 49 permits for single-family homes. That number, too, is a four-year high.

On the year, the department has completed 388 inspections, with inspectors traveling over 4,500 miles, Feyen said.

“I think this is very good news for our community,” commissioner Michael Whiting said.

Upon hearing the reports, the BOCC and county attorney praised the staff of the department, primarily technician Sherrie Vick, for “outstanding and exemplary” service.