Council to make key commission appointments

City of Santa Clarita City Hall

With the Whitaker Bermite site in the center of Santa Clarita nearing cleanup — and representing a 996-acre blank slate – the Planning Commission figures to play an especially significant role in the coming few years in shaping the city’s future.

Tuesday night, two commissioners will be appointed to four-year terms on that panel, while three other commissions will also get a pair of appointees — highlighting the agenda of the City Council’s first meeting of 2017.

In addition to the Planning Commission, the Council is expected to fill two spots each on the Parks, Recreation and Community Services Commission; the Arts Commission; and the Open Space Preservation District’s Financial Accountability and Audit Panel (FAAP).

The Council also is slated to fill one seat on the county’s Vector Control Board, which handles mosquito and other pest-control matters.

Appointees will be drawn from a list of those who have applied, and will follow nomination by a Council member.

On the Planning Commission, the four-year terms of Charles Heffernan and Diane Trautman expired on Dec. 31.

Heffernan, a nominee of Councilman Bob Kellar four years ago, is seeking another term – one of five residents who has applied for the two vacant spots. Trautman is not seeking another term, though she was one of the 50 people to apply for the vacant seat on the City Council seat.

Also applying for a Planning Commission seat are Renee Berlin, Stacy Fortner, Philip M. Hart and Judy Penman.

“One of the proposals that is likely to be presented is the planning of the Whitaker Bermite property,’’ Heffernan, a civil engineer, wrote in his application. “This property is a blank canvas, but its orderly planning is crucial to our city’s long ranger goals.

“Development of its roads, trails, parks, job sustaining, commercial and light industrial development must be leveraged to ease some of Santa Clarita’s existing challenges.”

Berlin, who retired in December as a senior executive officer of the L.A. County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, cited her “knowledge and ability to work with the City of Santa Clarita’s Planning staff,’’ and said she would push for “greater cooperation between the city and county” over infrastructure and resource management.

Fortner, an account executive for Frontier Communications, said she is “very familiar with the financial oversight responsibilities that come with this appointment.”

In her application, she included a letter of recommendation from Rep. Steve Knight and another from Supervisor Kathryn Barger, though Barger’s letter was specific to Fortner’s application for a spot on the open space perseveration panel. Fortner also applied for a Parks and Rec appointment.

Hart, an executive VP for the Logix Federal Credit Union in Burbank, cited his role as board member of the Santa Clarita Valley Economic Development Corporation, saying it “has given me knowledge and insight into the opportunities and challenges facing the further development of our city.” He also applied for spots on the Arts, and Parks and Rec, panels.

Penman, who also applied for a spot on the Parks and Rec Commission, is a former Martinez, Calif., marina commissioner. A retiree with an MBA, she said, “I want to make sure (controlled growth) continues, and new development is reviewed so that no adverse effects will affect our community’s integrity.’’

On the Arts Commission, eight residents have applied for the two spots, including incumbent and founding member John Dow; Sara Brown, a charter-school community outreach coordinator; Hilary Darling, an artist and CalArts director; Dakotah Rains, a photographer and substitute teacher in the Hart High School District; Eric Schmidt, a freelance composer; Andree Walper, a retiree; Vanessa S. Wilk, wife of Santa Clarita’s state senator, Scott Wilk; and Hart.

Nine residents applied for the two Parks and Rec posts. They were: incumbent Donald S. Cruikshank; Jamie Alfaro; R. Patrick Comey; Rachelle D. Jackson; Robert E. Norman; Judy Penman; Kieran Wong; Fortner; and Hart.

Six applied for the two spots on the Open Space Preservation District’s Financial Accountability and Audit Panel (FAAP). They were: incumbent James V. Farley; Eileen Blankenhorn; Douglas Fraser; Fredrick Andre Hollings; Henry Rodriguez; and Fortner.

One resident applied for Vector Control Board spot – Heidi Heinrich.

The newly named commissioners are expected to be sworn in at the next City Council meeting, on Jan. 24.

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