Council fills set of vacant commission seats

Fresh from being named La Cañadan of the Year earlier this month, Terry Walker is taking on a new challenge: She's the newest member of the city's Planning Commission.

The City Council unanimously appointed Walker to replace Michael Cahill on the five-member commission Monday. Incumbent Jonathan Curtis was appointed to a second term.

Walker, with a long history of community service, said she's looking forward to the new challenge.

“You can't get these awards and go, ‘OK, good, I've been recognized, now my job is over,'” she said.

Walker currently is finishing her four-year term on the city's Public Works and Traffic Commission, and previously served stints as president of the La Cañada Chamber of Commerce and as a member of the La Cañada Unified School District's budget oversight committee.

“I've learned a heck of a lot as far as how the city works and what the process is, so I'm looking forward to taking that knowledge and applying it on a broader level,” she said.

Walker joins the commission that evaluates all development and construction in the city at a time when several important projects are on the horizon, including a multi-year redesign of the Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy campus, continued work on sound walls along the Foothill (210) Freeway and the city's implementation of the Mills Act historical preservation ordinance.

Robert Stanley, the city's director of community development, said the city also must implement the newly updated General Plan, which will involve zoning and code amendments.

The Planning Commission must address “state laws that we have to comply with that the other commissions don't, in terms of zoning,” Stanley said. “I think the Planning Commission has a lot more work — it meets twice a month, and the agendas have more on them.”

Planning Commissioner Rick Gunter said the job requires a lot of time and focus and has lasting significance for residents.

“Oftentimes I think the decisions made at the Planning Commission have a greater impact on day-to-day lives than things that happen in D.C. or Sacramento,” he said.

On Monday the City Council also filled vacancies on the city's other commissions: Leonard Pieroni and incumbent Laura Stetson were appointed to the Public Works and Traffic Commission; Kay Linden and Andy Beattie, both incumbents, were reappointed to the Public Safety Commission; Incumbents Gordon Hoopes and John Roberts were reappointed to the Design Commission; Nicholas Berkuta III and Charlie Kamar were named to the Parks and Recreation Commission for the first time; and Brad Schwartz was appointed and incumbent James Poindexter reappointed to the city's Investment and Financing Advisory Committee.

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