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Six seek three open potisiotns on planning commission

by Christy Chalmers

Douglas County commissioners should easily recognize three of the six people who are seeking appointment to the planning commission.

The three – Al Walker, Ame Hellman and Jay Lather – all sought the planning commission seat that was vacated in June when Susan Southwick resigned.

The seat was awarded to Hellman, a Gardnerville resident, attorney and land-preservation activist, but is now open for reappointment, along with two others.

The seven-member planning commission makes land use and planning recommendations to the county commission. Commissioners serve four-year terms that expire at different times.

A total of six people had applied for the three open positions as of Thursday, a week before the Dec. 31 deadline.

First-time candidates are loan officer Garry denHeyer, a Ruhenstroth resident, Jacks Valley resident Steve Mihelic, an assistant fire chief for Carson City, and Richard Gardner, a Stateline attorney.

Walker is a retired Gardnerville resident. Lather, a Johnson Lane-area resident, is the general manager of the Golf Club at Genoa Lakes.

Outgoing planning commissioners are Brian Krolicki, who is leaving after two terms and will be sworn in as state treasurer Jan. 4, and current board chairman Mike Jarrett, a contractor who was appointed in 1994.

Jarrett said he wants to focus on his business and family instead of seeking another term.

n Paid his dues. “I kind of feel like I’ve paid my dues,” he said. “I was in it pretty thick during the development of the master plan and the 20 to 30 hours of work on that each week kind of took a toll on us.

“I feel really good about my contribution. I think time will prove that we did a good job.”

Jarrett said he hopes Hellman will be reappointed. She was appointed in September to finish Southwick’s term, which expires Dec. 31.

“I think she’s a very bright gal and I think her heart is in the right place,” he said. “I really wouldn’t want to see somebody who is really pro-development and pro-growth. I think we’re really growing fast enough already.”

The county commission, made up of Republicans, split 3-2 on Hellman’s appointment, with the dissenters citing Hellman’s Democratic affiliation and philosophies.

Krolicki isn’t naming preferred successors, but said he hopes a Lake Tahoe resident will take his place. Krolicki lives in Stateline, but the county commission isn’t required to consider residency when it makes its choice. Gardner was the only Tahoe hopeful as of Thursday.

“I just think it’s really important to keep that representation from Lake Tahoe and from Topaz Lake in addition to the Carson Valley,” said Krolicki.

The planning commission now has one Topaz Lake-area resident, Valida McMichael. The other five planning commissioners live in the Carson Valley.

The county commissioners will make their choices Jan. 14.

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