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Richmond P&Z members learn basics of making land-use decisions

October 5th, 2012 Posted in Opinion

By Heidi Vaughan

RICHMOND – Chosen for their ability to lead, the men and women that make up community officials are always aiming to improve. Commission members at a recent Planning and Zoning meeting were focused on just that. With several people new to commissioner positions, training meetings are being held to help them understand their roles.

“See? If you don’t make each decision carefully, you never know where you’ll end up,” says a Calvin and Hobbes cartoon. Sharing the cartoon’s sentiment, County Planner Jay Baker led a discussion on the importance of land use decisions and decision makers. Baker has given similar trainings in most of the valley’s communities, and finds them to be “very beneficial.”

Each city’s elected and appointed officials have been taught through the presentation not what decisions should be made, because each situation presented will be different and as such handled specifically, but how to evaluate what types of decisions they are making. This ensures that they are making good decisions for the community as a whole.

Besides understanding the types of decisions they will be called upon to make, be it legislative or administrative, council members and commissioners were encouraged to work together. For the function of increasing the productivity of both entities, as well as speeding up the processes that the citizens must go through to reach their desired outcomes. Whether it is a proposed business on Main Street, or a home to be built, all the options are weighed with the best interest of the majority molding the final judgment.  

Of the Richmond Planning and Zoning commission Baker said, “At their meetings they will typically see those types of requests, and they will evaluate the requests and decide whether they should approve, deny, or modify them. Other decisions made on less regular basis and are of more importance would be planning decisions, like how zoning should work, what is allowed in commercial and residential areas of the community, where do you see new parks, are we going to need more roads, road improvements? They are to look at these areas as the community grows, and decide what they can do to keep it a great community.”


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