Hart is new Planning Commissioner pick

Santa Clarita City Hall is located on the 23900 block of Valencia Blvd. File Photo

Santa Clarita City Council formally confirmed new Planning Commissioner Phil Hart on Tuesday to fill a vacancy on the Planning Commission during the council’s April 24 meeting. Hart was selected on the recommendation of a community-driven advisory panel, and will replace Chuck Heffernan, who resigned in March.

“Phil has great knowledge of the area and what is going on in our community. I feel he will be an outstanding planning commissioner for our city,” Councilman Bob Kellar said.

Kellar had previously appointed Heffernan, so he was also the council member who appointed his replacement.

Hart, a Santa Clarita resident since 1988, is retired, but served as executive vice president and chief operating officer at Logix Federal Credit Union for 28 years as a member of the senior executive team. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of St. John’s Seminary in Camarillo and is a past member of the Santa Clarita Valley Economic Development Corp. Board of Directors from 2013-2017.

“I have seen the city grow significantly over the past 30 years,” Hart said. “I would like to give back to the community I love so much, and help it grow responsibly for the next 30 years. I feel my work experience provides me with a balanced perspective on growth and the needs of the community.”

Hart was recommended to the City Council for appointment from a pool of eight applicants by a five-member advisory panel, comprised of Santa Clarita business and community leaders. Panel members Tom Cole, Holly Schroeder, Richard Wirthlin, Fred Arnold and Tami Edwards conducted an interview process with each candidate and subsequently recommended Hart to Kellar. The City Council voted unanimously 4-0 to approve his appointment.

In addition to Hart, the applicants included Corey Alan Carter, Sarah Darabi, John Lewis Dortch, Mark Elfont, Jason Warren Gibbs, Dan Masnada and Gary Morrison.

“I just want to say, Phil, what a privilege for you to come on board,” Kellar said. “I know you’re going to be a phenomenal commissioner.”

Hart will serve for the remainder of Heffernan’s four-year term, set to expire on Dec. 31, 2020.

Kellar has used the panel system for the past decade to appoint commissioners, he said.

“This system (of selection) has never failed me,” Kellar said. “I’ve always had good people selected, and it’s worked remarkably.”

Regarding Heffernan’s tenure, Kellar said, “(He) did a phenomenal job as a planning commissioner.”

The Planning Commission advises the City Council on major development projects, property acquisition, specific plans zoning and other planning matters. The five-member Planning Commission meets on the first and third Tuesday of the month, at 6 p.m.

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