WP Council Fires Incumbent Planning Commissioner


by Rick Langenberg:


If you want to join a volunteer committee in Woodland Park, make sure you show up regularly for meetings, or else you may get your walking papers.

That theme was pronounced loud and clear last Thursday, with the Woodland Park City Council rejecting the return bid of contractor Daniel Vogel for a spot on the planning commission due to his attendance record. Instead, the council opted for new applicant Gerald Penland, who ironically didn’t appear for the appointment interviews because of a vacation in Hawaii.

But several council members and the mayor were bothered by the attendance record of Vogel, who only participated in nine of 16 meetings during his previous term on the planning commission. “If you worked for me (and had this kind of absentee record), you would be out of here,” commented Mayor Neil Levy, who expressed concerns with this many missed meetings.

The incumbent commissioner, though, replied that family commitments stopped him from attending more meetings. He vowed to do better for the next term if reappointed. In one of the more rigorous interview procedures for commission members, the council grilled all three incumbent candidates, including Vogel and current commissioners Geoff Watson and Tom Rollinger. In addition, all three were sequestered during the interview process. Many of the questions dealt with the current housing situation, the comprehensive master plan and key planning and growth challenges. The questions asked were quite extensive for planning commission appointments.

But through their questions, the council tipped their hand a little and made it clear they strongly supported Watson and Rollinger, and had some concerns with the reappointment bid of Vogel. Planning Commission Chairman Jon DeVaux recommended re-appointing all three incumbents. “We have a great group,” said DeVaux, who noted that all three incumbents added to the group’s leadership. “All three (of the incumbents) have contributed.” Moreover, DeVaux supported the return bid of Vogel, saying that he attended all the important sessions and communicated with the commission quite well. “His business background is very valuable,” added DeVaux.

In the final vote, Penland, who currently serves on the city’s Board of Adjustment and is a familiar figure at many council meetings, beat out Vogel by two tallies. The council unanimously picked Watson and Rollinger for the other two spots. When favoring Penland for the final spot over Vogel, Councilman Bob Carlsen said he supported “having new blood” on the commission.