In the past six months, three of nine Moab City Planning Commission meetings were canceled. Some of those were due to lack of quorum, as planning commission members had difficulties making it to meetings. Now, the Moab City Council has expanded the commission from five to seven members. On Tuesday, April 10, the council confirmed three appointments to the commission. Mayor Emily Niehaus thanked the new members for applying and emphasized the importance of attendance and the responsibilities that the job involves.
“It’s going to I think result in a really healthy planning,” Niehaus told The Times-Independent. “I’m really looking forward to the appointments and the activity that we’re going to see with the planning commission.”
Niehaus said that a seven-member commission will “have a greater scope of residence but also more people to do the work because they’re going to be busy this year.”
The city council confirmed Allison Brown, Marianne Becnel and Brian Ballard to the commission. Brown is a reappointment while Becnel and Ballard are new to the commission.
“It excites me to be a part of the community and this is one of the ways that I feel like I can do that,” said Brown.
Becnel said that she looks forward to listening to community input and being a role model for other young people.
Ballard cited his building experience.
“With my experience, I feel that I’d be a good addition to the planning commission,” Ballard said.
Brown added that it is important for a council member to be present at planning commission meetings.
“I think it’s important for you guys to see the process that we go through as we approve or not approve the things that come past our desk,” Brown said. “It’s nice to have that extra set of ears on what we’re doing and how we’re doing it so when it comes to your desk, you have an idea of what we’ve been through to get it there.”
Lisa Church, the communications manager for the city, said that three of the meetings canceled since May 2017 have been due to lack of quorum, while others were canceled due to lack of agenda items.
The council updated the number of commissioners as part of a broader change to Chapter Two of city code. The update also strengthens the role of city manager and gives the mayor authority to do performance evaluations on the city manager.
“I have received some correspondence from people saying this is taking power away from the mayor and what does that mean,” Niehaus said to City Manager David Everitt. “I’m here at least four years and what this also does is put the responsibility on the mayor to perform evaluations of the city manager. Unofficially, right now, you [Everitt] are doing an awesome job and I and this council, we are lucky. But I will hold you accountable.”