During last week's Sunnyside Planning Commission meeting, there were two new faces in the group. The Sept. 8 meeting marked the first public appearance of new commission members Theresa Hancock and Ken Bierlink.
Both Hancock and Bierlink were appointed to the board, and both decided to take the leap and jump into local politics as a way to help the community they both grew up in.
Hancock, owner of the Funny Farm in Sunnyside, said when she threw her hat into the ring for the available city council position earlier this summer, she learned the city council wasn't the only community board in need of assistance. She added that after not being selected for the vacant council seat, she was told by several people that she should try to stay involved in the community.
Hancock said she learned that there was a need for community involvement on both the planning commission and the Board of Adjustment.
"I thought the planning commission sounded like something that interested me," Hancock said.
Hancock said since being appointed to the board she has been trying to get up to speed on a lot of the city's codes and ordinances.
"I just want to do the best job I can do, whatever it takes," Hancock said.
Looking toward the future, Hancock said she feels one of the biggest challenges the planning commission will face will be working to maintain the integrity of local neighborhoods, while still allowing people to do what they want with their property.
Bierlink, owner of Bierlink Construction in Sunnyside, said he sees the biggest challenge facing the commission being the need to work with everyone to make things in the city, like zoning, work the way they need to while still ensuring that citizens' needs are being met.
Bierlink said he is looking forward to working with other members of the planning commission on the implementation of the city's new comprehensive plan.
Bierlink said he first became interested in serving on the planning commission after he was asked if it would be something he was willing do.
"They needed someone to serve and I was more than happy to do it," said Bierlink, who has worked as a general contractor for the past 30 years.