Loosli proposes a new scope of work and accelerated timeline
Loosli proposes a new scope of work and accelerated timeline which may involve removing P&Z commissioners. Rinaldi gets emotional, the audience jeers. Six P&Z Commissioners air their concerns with the process. No objections from Kunz and Park.
Loosli Presents his accelerated 12-month timeline and new scope of work, which may also include replacing P&Z Commissioners
Mr. Loosli explained that since Commissioner Rinaldi had legitimate concerns about putting sideboards on this process he had developed a 1 year timeline for the process. In his newly proposed scope of work, he would be tasked with producing all of the Tetotn County’s new zoning and development code. It would require the volunteer Planning & Zoning Commissioner to work up to 4-hours per week every week and if they could not meet this workload, then perhaps P&Z Commissioners would need to be replaced.
Park asked if this timeline would overwhelm the Planning & Zoning Commission and County staff. Rinaldi pointed out that development of a new code is “pretty big”. Since the budgeted amount for the HUD grant, was 350K, she wanted to see a price tag for Loosli’s work and more specificity as to what parts of the Comp Plan Mr. Loosli would be working on. She reminded the Board that Code Studio had advised at their April 19th meeting that code writing could not begin until the County got its policies in order. “Do you believe that our policy house is in order?” she asked.
Loosli replied: “It’s in a lot better shape now with your new comp plan. But it’s clear now that it’s not.” Rinaldi expressed concern that she didn’t want a piecemeal implementation of only parts of the Comp Plan. What concerned her was this: “I don’t know that this board has said they are gong to support the policies and implementation of this plan.” She asked Kunz and Park if they supported the new Comp Plan or not. There wasn’t really an answer.
Loosli replied: “I don’t know or understand your concern about the risk.” Rinaldi answered: “What I’m fearful of is that you will implement parts and not others. This all seems rushed. There is about $350K in the HUD grant, and about $75K was set aside for the county to write their new code. That’s almost as much as we spent on the entire Comp Plan process. I would like more as to how paying your for this process that is not going to be duplicative of the work being done by Code Studio.”
Commissioner Park piped up: “My thought process is where he could give input to P&Z on where our ordinances does not match our Comp Plan. We’ve actually wasted a lot of his time because of these complaints here.”
The debate gets heated . . . . .
Sounding frustrated, Commissioner Kunz then chimed in: “I haven’t heard any suggestions from you Kathy. We hired Stephen Loosli for a specific task. I’m exhausted by this process. The Comp Plan, in my view, was rammed through. I’ve come on board with your building. (referring to the law enforcement center) I’m done asking questions about it. We’re not going to ram things through. I feel like he (Loosli) is very qualified. In my mind the Planning & Zoning Commission is not balanced. In order for Stephen Loosli to accomplish his goals, we might need to make changes on P&Z.”
This seemed to strike a chord with Rinaldi, who responded with a trembling voice: “Listen to yourself Sid. You are tearing this community apart. I think this is disrespectful to P&Z. You never took the time to understand any of this. Even Stephen Loosli just said our Comp Plan is good. There’s nothing in there that seems that bad. We are just operating in this murk of fear. P&Z is unpaid, they are volunteers. You make $50 an hour (referring to Loosli). What you’re doing is disrespectful to them.”
As this point in time, some members of the audience shouted out, “You tell her Sid!”
Perhaps sensing that emotions were running high, Loosli then offered: “The discussion of the board does reflect that we do not have our policy house in order. I believe that P&Z is capable and informed. Why not slice up the code into 5-6 chunks for P&Z to work on.”
Park then asked: “Is their anything from the old Comp Plan that conflicts with the new Comp Plan.”
Sounding confused by his question, Loosli asked: “Do you mean the development code?”
Park: “Yeah, like with family (lot) splits.”
Loosli replied in his opinion, yes. He pointed to a procedure that he developed in Fremont County where land owners could develop 6-lot subdivisions without ever having to go through a public hearing.
Rinaldi again asked a price estimate in order to have Loosli implement these changes. Park replied, “I never thought this would be such a debate.“ Loosli replied that the debate existed because: “VARD sees me as a threat to the policies that were put into place when the democrats that were in the administration. That perception is why this process has been so difficult. This is as entertaining in a rural community as it is in the high school football scores.”
Six of the seven Planning & Zoning Commissioners express concerns with this process….
Referring to the three letters written by Planning & Zoning Commissioners Dave Hensel, Shawn Hill, and Chris Larson which outlined their concerns with Mr. Loosli new proposal, Commissioner Park then asked Planning & Zoning Commissioner Bruce Arnold (who was sitting in the audience): “Mr. Arnold, are you threatened by Mr. Loosli coming in? The intent was to lighten the load.” ( Please note however that this new agenda would require P&Z, a volunteer board to work 4-hours a week).
Mr. Arnold replied: “I really can’t speak for the whole commission, but for myself. This is more to do with confusion with the relationship with what Code Studio was going to do. Duplication of costs. Not using grant money. I think it would be very helpful if we had time with him (Loosli). I’ve sat here and listened to him, but I still don’t understand the work he will do. I would like it if you can answer that to me, but I don’t think that you can. I am not clear at all. I’m lost as to who’s doing what here.”
Park replied: “The thought here is that Stephen could maybe help clarify something.”
Planning Commissioner Darryl Johnson then chimed in that he agreed with Kathy Rinaldi and Bruce Arnold. Planning Commissioner Cleve Booker then spoke up that he too agreed with what Johnson and Arnold had said. “I don’t really feel threatened by Stephen Loosli. I think we need to work out which timeline. It looks like we have a little bit of a difference between Stephen Loosli and what Code Studios wants to do. Are we going to have two different products brought to us? I have the willingness to serve as much time as it takes. I know this is volunteer time, but I also work as a consultant, so I know how the billable hour works.”
What decisions were made at the end?
There was no real resolution to this conversation. However two points seemed evident here. First, the Commissioners directed Mr. Loosli to go meet with the P&Z Commission at their June 11th meeting to work on a timeline and task list. Secondly, Kunz and Park seemed to not object to Loosli’s new scope of work where he would produce the new code, whereas Rinaldi did object because she wanted to see a cost estimate and an explanation of how this would not be redundant with Code Studios work.
County Planner Angie Rutherford presents her extensive “To Do” list to the Commissioners
As the lone planner in the County Planning office now that Curt Moore was fired, Angie Rutherford presented her extensive task list to the County Commissioners which includes:
1. Public hearing applications
2. Public inquiries / customer service
3. Department management
4. Administrative applications
7. Recreation Master Plan
8. Comp plan annual report
9. Distressed subdivisions
10.Flow chart for application processes
11.Update applications and checklists
13.Capital Improvements Plan / Impact Fees
17.Digitize paper files
18.Develop standardized filing system
She stated that taking on the work for the entire office by herself has been challenging and she has not been able to cover any of the tasks beyond items 1-12. In addition, on busy months, she does not get past the top few.
Kunz said that Rutherford should not be working on the Recreation Master Plan, impact fees, or the Comp Plan annual report. “I’m not an impact fee fan. I think we should shut them down for awhile.” Park responded that he thought Rutherford should do what ever she thought was best. Rinaldi thought that it was illogical to fund the Recreation Master Plan last month, but then direct the staff not to work on it the very next month. She too supported the staff task list as written, but lamented that Rutherford was understaffed and too busy to be able to really accomplish the priorities on the list.