Coppola to remain on Planning Commission

The council voted 4-1 to allow Planning Commissioner member Dee Coppola to remain on the board and finish her term, even though she is moving outside the city.

The vote comes after the council moved to continue a motion for Coppola to remain on the commission at the July 23 meeting. Coppola’s term expires Dec. 31, 2015.

City Attorney Greg Jacoby told the council that municipal code allows the council — on a case-by-case basis — to decide whether to allow a Planning Commission member to continue serving even if they are non-residents of the city.

“It’s on a case-by-case term,” Jacoby said. “You’re not extending a commissioners’ term or changing the basic requirements for seven residents and one non-resident. You are making an exception as your code allows.”

Councilman Fred Chang said the issue is: Does the city want to have the Planning Commission represented by residents who have chosen to remain in the city limits?

Coppola said she wants to see progress in the city and that she has only missed one meeting since joining the Planning Commission.

“The only meeting I missed was the last meeting because I was uncertain if I was permitted to come,” she said during public comment period.

Coppola said she prepares herself for each commission meeting by doing research on issues.

Also during public comment, Gil Michael, a Planning Commission member, said according to city ordinance, only one of the eight commission members can reside outside the city.

According to the city’s municipal code, Michael said that seven commission members must be city residents and one may be a non-resident of the city limits unless the mayor and council by resolution temporarily extended the term of a commissioner who moves outside the city to provide continuity of specific projects and planning processes.

“I don’t know of any current specific projects — in my opinion — that meets the criteria of excluding city residents to apply for the vacated Planning Commission seat,” Michael said.

He said former mayor Lary Coppola designated Robert Baglio as the one commissioner who is a non-resident of the city.

“There is no provision for a second commission member — in our code — to reside outside the city and remain serving on the planning commission,” Michael said.

He added the Planning Commissioner didn’t meet in July.

The Planning Commission meets at 7 p.m. on the third Monday of every month in the City Council Chambers, 216 Prospect St.

Councilman John Clauson was absent from the Aug. 13 meeting.

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