ENCINITAS — Over the past few months, Tasha Horvath has become a regular in the City Council chambers, becoming the unofficial voice of the Paul Ecke Central Elementary School community in its quest for safer traffic conditions around the school.
Now, Horvath will see a lot more of the council chambers as a planning commissioner, as the City Council voted June 10 to select her as the Old Encinitas representative on the five-member panel.
Horvath, 42, replaces Kurt Groseclose, who moved out of Old Encinitas and was ineligible for the position.
“I look forward to listening to the people and really helping the planning commission do what it is intended to do, and that is apply those rules and regulations set by the council in the cases that come before (the commission),” Horvath said.
The planning commission is considered the most high profile of the city’s advisory boards, as it is the only board aside from the council with decision-making authority. The commission decides a number of planning and land-use matters at its level, although its decision can be appealed to the City Council.
It has worked hand-in-hand with the City Council on a number of projects, including the city’s ongoing housing element, for which it held several joint sessions with the council.
Horvath cited her political science, marketing and communications backgrounds — she worked for several years in Germany for Deutsche Telekom and T-Mobile International — as well as her recent interfacing with city staff and stakeholders as equipping her with the experience to be a strong planning commissioner.
“I got involved with Paul Ecke Center and had the very rewarding opportunity of working and collaborating with staff and other community members to improve the transportation options for our school,” Horvath said. “But it also showed me how much I loved working to improve the city.”
The council voted 5-0 with no discussion to appoint Horvath, who was the only applicant after a second person withdrew their application the day of the meeting.
“Tasha has been involved in advocating for safer conditions around Paul Ecke School and will be a great addition to the Planning Commission,” Councilwoman Lisa Shaffer said in a weekly newsletter to her supporters. “She replaces Kurt Groseclose, who we are sorry to lose as he was an outstanding commissioner and chair.”