Saturday, August 15, 2009

Become a Eugene Planning Commissioner!

Many AIA-SWO members are aware that John Lawless, principal with TBG Architects & Planners, has served on the City of Eugene’s Planning Commission for two consecutive four-year terms. His tenure (along with those of two other commissioners) is drawing to a close. Accordingly, the City of Eugene is seeking applicants to fill these vacancies. John is presently the only architect and AIA-SWO member on the commission; his presence and influence will be sorely missed once his term expires. The Planning Commission needs the professional perspective, education, and comprehensive understanding about issues related to the built environment that architects or landscape architects bring to the table. It should be our goal to ensure that the commission includes amongst its numbers at least one licensed design professional to represent the broad interests that we share.(1)

Volunteers who serve on the Planning Commission provide an invaluable service to our community. They advise the City Council and City staff on a variety of subjects by making recommendations on important policy matters affecting the livability of Eugene. Without their assistance, many complex and significant matters might not be brought to the City Council’s attention and risk receiving only a limited review. Now is an especially critical time for the Planning Commission to make a difference in Eugene’s future as the city is in the midst of many important projects that will define our community’s character for years to come.

Serving on a commission is an excellent way to participate in local government, and to contribute to the improvement of our community. The traits of an exceptional planning commissioner include interest in and commitment to:
  • Preserving important community resources for future generations
  • Promoting livability in the greater Eugene community
  • Facilitating wise public and private investments
  • Representing the city on behalf of all residents of the community
  • Learning and thinking critically about a broad range of land use planning issues
  • Connecting with different communities and considering the needs of all stakeholders
  • Collaborating and working toward consensus
  • Guiding and implementing land use policy and regulations, and related legal obligations

Planning Commission meetings are typically held during the day on Monday, with occasional Tuesday evening meetings.(2) If you are interested in learning more about being a planning commissioner, call John Lawless at 687-1010, or the City of Eugene’s planning director, Lisa Gardner, at 682-5208. Information about the commission may be found online at the City’s website. The City is accepting applications through September 18, 2009.

(1) There are nine positions on the Planning Commission; seven at large citizen positions and two ex officio positions. The Oregon Revised Statutes require that no more than two commissioners can be engaged in the same occupation, business, trade, or profession, including the buying and selling or developing of real estate for a profit. The two ex-officio members are staff who have content area knowledge. The Council appoints the seven at large members; the City Manager appoints the two ex-officio members.

(2) The Planning Commission meets 3-5 times each month.

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