Newly elected City Council members this week chose two new planning commissioners for next year.
Roy Richardson, chairman of the city’s Environmental Advisory Board and a leader of a citizens’ slow-growth movement, and Susan Newman, a pro-development former planning commissioner, are scheduled to join the commission Jan. 1. The first meeting of the newly aligned Planning Commission is scheduled Jan. 8.
Newman and Richardson will replace Edward Mountford and Barry Williams, who voted with the pro-development majority on most issues.
Newman is described by her supporters as a outspoken advocate of continuing the city’s pattern of development. Councilman Jack Kelly said she also has strong law-enforcement ties.
“She has no trepidation about speaking out. And that’s one important thing for me,” Kelly said. “And she has an influential awareness of the community at large.”
Richardson said he is “interested in slow and controlled growth, as long as it is beneficial to the citizens and community as a whole.”
Current commission Chairwoman Geri Ortega, the most outspoken of the commission’s two slow-growth members, said she welcomes the philosophical “balance” Richardson will bring to the board. Ortega was reappointed to the commission this week by Councilwoman Grace Winchell, who won re-election last month.
The other newly elected council member, Earle Robitaille, reappointed Ken Bourguignon to the commission. Bourguignon is former mayor Thomas J. Mays’ commission appointee.