Dozen apply for 3 planning spots |

Dozen apply for 3 planning spots

by Susie Vasquez

A dozen Douglas County residents have applied for one of three positions on the Douglas County Planning Commission.

One of the three seats is that of Chairwoman Nancy McDermid, who won election to the Douglas County commission and will take her seat for the first time on Thursday.

Appointments are expected to be made at Thursday’s county commission meeting.

Planning commission members provide advice on land use planning matters, review development applications for compliance with county ordinances and provide oversight in the master plan process. Seven members hold four-year terms.

A brief summary on each candidate follows:

n Sheena Beaver, a Douglas county resident for eight years, graduated from Douglas High School. A governmental affairs director, she has put her pursuit of a business degree on hold to focus on her career and the planning commission.

“Once accepted to serve Douglas County’s Planning Commission, I will be dedicated to all aspects of the communities’ interest, with particular focus on attainable housing and its placement within the community,” she said.

n Bob Conner, who was appointed to the commission in December 2003, is seeking a second term.

“I’ve enjoyed doing this and I’ve learned a lot,” he said. “I feel there are still some things I would like to assist in implementing, including the finalization and implementation of the 10-year update to the master plan.”

Conner, who moved here from Seattle in 1995, is a consultant for physicians with respect to managed care and other insurance companies.

n Carson Valley resident and former congressional candidate John Dicks, is an attorney who retired from the Dow Chemical Company after 32 years. In an effort to involve himself in local government, Dicks has applied for openings on numerous other Douglas County boards.

“I am seeking ways to become more involved with and contribute to Douglas County,” he said.

Dicks has pursued a number of interests during his retirement. He’s been a member of both the Douglas County Sheriff’s Posse and Douglas County Search and Rescue. He is currently representing three pack stations on the western side of the Sierra in litigation before the Federal District Court in San Francisco.

n Stateline resident Ryan Forvilly, a business owner in Douglas County for 18 years, is a member of the Sierra Nevada Association of Realtors and the National Association of Realtors.

He holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, Calif., and is a member of the Lake Tahoe Community College Foundation board of directors.

“I believe my connection to the community, business experience, leadership and overall integrity reflect what I can bring to the commission,” he said.

n Greta Hambsch, a real estate broker with a specialty in property management, lives in Stateline. She has been a Douglas County resident for 26 years. In that time, has served as president of the Tahoe Tallac Association, president of the Heavenly Ski Foundation and past chairman of the Heritage Murals of Lake Tahoe.

She holds a bachelor of arts degree from the University of California at Irvine, Calif. and holds both elementary and secondary teaching credentials in California.

“I have an avid interest in government and appreciate the opportunities for citizen participation,” she said.

Hambsch ran for Douglas County commission against McDermid.

n Stateline resident Lawrence Howell, an executive director with Rite of Passage Inc., has served on a number of local public entities over the years, including the Barton Hospital Foundation and Douglas County Sheriff Search and Rescue.

“I believe I have the necessary education, experience and enthusiasm to add value to this very important advisory board,” he said.

Howell sought a school board seat in the 2004 election.

n Minden resident Stuart Posselt, a retired California architect, has over 30 years in real estate development.

He earned a bachelor of arts degree at the University of Illinois in 1960 and has prepared and/or reviewed numerous environmental impact reports including the very first one in San Diego, Calif.

“I am knowledgeable in land planning issues and principles as well as general plan and zoning procedures,” he said.

n Rick Ross, general manager of the Topaz Lodge for more that five years, has served one year on the planning commission. He was appointed to replace Kevin Lane who resigned before his term expired.

He has worked in casino and resort management for over 20 years and is a member of the Carson Valley Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Committee. He co-chaired the Carson Valley Tourism Committee for fiscal year 2004-05.

“The knowledge and experience gained during the past year . . . will prove invaluable to both myself and as a continuing member of the Planning Commission in the years ahead,” he said.

n Lifetime Carson Valley resident and attorney Judy Sheldrew said she has a long history of public service, including serving as the State Budget Director and chairwoman of the Public Utilities Commission.

“I have lived in Carson Valley all my life and witnessed the effect of growth on the valley,” she said. “With the understanding that growth will continue, I believe it must be done with proper planning.”

n Brad Spires, a Minden resident and real estate broker, has been in the business for 16 years. He is currently developing “The Village at Monte Vista.” A retired U.S. Air Force officer, Spires is a certified residential specialist.

“I believe we are at a pivotal point in this community. We must reach a consensus on controlling our future growth,” he said. “My experience will help me in building that consensus.”

n Minden resident Steven Swabacker spent 30 years as an executive in various Fortune 50 companies specializing in business technologies. For example, he built offices and technical systems around the world for American Express.

He would like to see a more balanced planning commission, he said.

“We need to build trust in our county officials,” he said. “That should be the theme.”

n Gardnerville resident Leonard Winstead, a rental property manager, moved here from San Rafael, Calif., in June of 2006.

“I am interested in the development of my town, and in serving and planning for our town’s future,” he said.

n Susie Vasquez can be reached at or 782-5121, ext. 211.