Former Councilman applies for Planning Commission
By Peggy Kelly
Santa Paula News
Published: December 14, 2012
It could be out of the frying pan and into the fire for Fred Robinson, whose last appearance as a City Councilman was Monday and who will be considered for a seat on the Planning Commission just one week later.
The council will meet December 17 at 5:30 p.m. in the City Administration Room to interview candidates for the Planning Commission. Along with Robinson, who was defeated November 6 in his second bid for council by newcomer Martin Hernandez, the council will also interview applicants Rita X. Stafford, Timothy J. Hicks, Miriam Zamora and Catherine Carter.
The agenda for the interviews notes the council will appoint a Planning Commissioner for a four-year term, but the recruitment notice in the Santa Paula Times supplied by the city notes: There is currently one unscheduled vacancy for a Commissioner position that is scheduled to expire June 2014.
In recent months Rita Graham - who served several terms at different times as Planning Commissioner - announced she was moving out of the area, creating the vacancy mid-term.
As a general rule the Planning Commission meets at City Hall Council Chambers on the 4th Tuesday of the month at 6:30 p.m.
When Robinson gave farewell remarks at the December 10 meeting, he noted one thing he would not miss about elected office was the required state paperwork. Ironically, those appointed to the Planning Commission will also be required to complete and file a Fair Political Practices Commission Statement of Economic Interest. Commission members are compensated $25 for each meeting attended.
The Planning Commission considers a wide range of land-use and zoning issues as they comply with law and city code. Decisions made by the commission can be appealed to the council, which has the final authority in such matters.
The Planning Commission is expected to consider several developments and issues in the near future, including Limoneira East Area 1 and East Area 2, as well as Fagan Canyon. Voters rejected a proposed development of approximately 2,100 homes in the latter in 2006.
Robinson started his political career as an opponent to the development. During his council farewell remarks a week ago he noted the issue of the potential development had been highly controversial and cautioned against same in the future.
The Planning Commission itself has caused and been mired in controversy, with one commissioner removed in recent years and others not seeking reappointment due to the turmoil.