By Liz Wood 

New resident joins planning commission

 

Karl Smith, a recent newcomer to Saratoga, was appointed to the Saratoga Planning Commission Dec. 3 at the town of Saratoga council meeting.

Smith, who has lived in Saratoga for 14 months, works as a civil engineer for PMPC.

Smith brings experience with master plans, as a city planner and as an engineer, to the planning commission.

Smith said he has been on several planning commissions. He moved here from Grand County, Colo., and served on the planning commission for several years. Grand County has had master plans completed every 10 years.

Smith said the master plans were originally introduced because Grand County was anticipating growth. Over the last 30 years, there has been a decrease or no change in population, Smith said.

Smith said he believes that focus is lost in the master plan when towns or counties concentrate on growth, and that they need to focus on what they want their town or county to look like in the future.

Smith said he believes the planning commission is an important commission in most communities. "It's kind of like planting trees, you got to have belief in the future and know that future generations are going to benefit from it," Smith said.

PMPC does projects for the town of Saratoga, but Smith said he has not worked on any town projects since he starting working for them. For that reason, Smith doesn't see his position on the planning commission as a conflict of interest.

Mayor John Zeiger agreed with Smith. "We have contractors on the planning commission, so I think it is OK to have an engineer on the commission."

Smith said he has a lot of experience with how things get built and what is involved. This experience will allow him to follow the guiding documents of the planning commission.

Smith said the hardest part of a master plan is getting stakeholders to the meeting before the plan is developed. They want to comment after the scope of the plan is defined. Smith said he believes it is beneficial for towns like Saratoga to concentrate on what they can protect and preserve rather than concentrating entirely on growth.


Smith said he, his wife Christy and his son Tristan are thrilled to be living in Saratoga.

 

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