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Columbia Missourian

City Council extends deadline for Planning and Zoning Commission applications

By Abby Rogers
June 17, 2009 | 12:01 a.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — The City Council decided Monday to extend the application process for the empty seat on the Planning and Zoning Commission.

Third Ward Councilman Karl Skala said the council is reopening the application process because it is unhappy with the fact that there weren't more applications.

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Skala said he thinks the lack of applications could be attributed to the economic climate. The position is unpaid and requires a lot of work, and it's more difficult to attract volunteers in an economic downturn, he said.

Skala said he hopes to interview applicants between now and the council meeting on July 20.

The Planning and Zoning Commission sent the council recommendations for the ideal candidate, which Skala said was well received. The commission recommended a candidate who understands the time commitment and who has a high level of enthusiasm and passion for Columbia.

There is a potential for conflicts of interest, Skala said, but that should not be an issue if it only occurs occasionally. People have abstained from voting in the past on certain issues they are involved with, and it doesn't become a problem until it affects too much of their work, he said.

Skala said the City Council won't make that call until after the interview process.

Three other applicants applied earlier for two vacant positions. Doug Wheeler was reappointed for one, and the council reopened the application process to gather more applicants for the other position.

Don Stamper and Rusty Strodtman are the most recent applicants. Stamper is a former Boone County presiding commissioner, former County Planning and Zoning commissioner and current executive director of the Central Missouri Development Council. Strodtman is the senior leasing manager for Forum Development Group.

Prospective applicants can check the city's Web site later this week for more information about the position. Applications will be due to the City Clerk's office at noon on July 6.