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City Council close to extending boundaries for those appointed to planning commission

The Sunnyside City Council this past Monday night moved one step closer to implementing an ordinance that will open the door for a new set of people to serve on the city's planning commission.

Councilman Jim Restucci wanted to discuss the issue of extending the boundaries for people living outside of the city's Urban Growth Area to serve on the planning commission. People interested in serving on the planning commission must currently reside within the city's Urban Growth Area. Restucci said it was brought to his attention the city was turning away people who were interested in serving on the planning commission because they live outside of the city's Urban Growth Area. Restucci said he believes if someone meets the qualifications of serving on the planning commission, but lives outside of the Urban Growth Area, they should still be able to serve on the board.

The planning commission is a seven-member body appointed by the city's mayor. Council approves each recommendation of the mayor for a seat on the planning commission.

Interim City Manager Mark Kunkler presented Council with a draft proposal concerning changes in the ordinance appointing planning commission members. Mayor Ed Prilucik drafted the section dealing with membership criteria.

Prilucik's draft called for potential planning commission members to demonstrate they are qualified for the position. Applicants also have to reside within the boundaries of the Sunnyside School District to be considered for a position on the planning commission. At the mayor's recommendation, Council sent his proposal to the planning commission for suggestions. Upon any recommendations from the planning commission, Council is expected to adopt the changes expanding the boundaries for people to serve on the planning commission at a future meeting.

Council deleted a section of the mayor's draft concerning a requirement to have residency or own property within the Urban Growth Area. Several Council members expressed concern that anyone owning property, but living out of town would be eligible to serve on the commission. Council didn't want a person from another community with a minimal vested interest being able to make decisions regarding community matters. Several Council members also didn't see it as all that important for any potential candidates to own property to be able to serve on a city board.

Prilucik assured Council that it would never be asked to approve a planning commission member that he didn't see as being qualified for the position.

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