Dunsmuir council decides 7 is a good number for commission

Richard DuPertuis
Dunsmuir Lodge owner Jon Jeffers argues before the city council to leave the number of seats on the planning commission at seven. Council members heard several others speak during the June 16, 2011 meeting against a proposal to reduce the commission to five seats, after which the council voted to not reduce the advisory body.

The Dunsmuir City Council voted to keep the number of planning commission seats at seven during its regular meeting Thursday night, June 16, 2011. A proposal to reduce the number of seats to five was abandoned after several audience members spoke in favor of continuing to include more members of the community on the advisory body.

From the podium, Dunsmuir Lodge owner Jon Jeffers referred to the four letters of interest that have been submitted for three open planning commission seats.  “Why decrease the size? There's no justification here,” he said.

Ed Steele, the only council member who spoke against the idea, said, “The more people we have, the quicker and better we get the job done. This town runs on volunteers.”

Council member Chris Raine, arguing in favor of the reduction, said, “It would run leaner.” He also cited the tendency of the planning commission members to vote the same anyway.

A few audience members also spoke for the reduction, saying that more members are unwieldy and that a small group is more efficient.

“The city council only wants to streamline,” said Sandy Raine. “I don't think we're asking for less input.”

City manager Jim Lindley said that five is the most common number for cities of any size.

Just before the council vote, Mayor Nick Mitchell said he was swayed by the display of community spirit. “I don't think it's broken,” he said.

“It's no big deal to me that it's seven. I guess I'm not supporting my own idea anymore.”