The Coast News Group

Oceanside selects two new planning commissioners

OCEANSIDE — Oceanside City Council appointed two new planning commissioners at its meeting Wednesday.

Colleen Balch and John Scrivener were appointed out of a candidate pool of seven, which included current commissioners Robert Neal and Robert Ross.

Several council members said they were looking for some new faces to serve the city.

“It’s time to put a new voice out there with a different point of view,” Councilman Chuck Lowery said.

The last time the City Council voted on planning commissioners Councilmen Jerry Kern, Jack Feller and former Councilman Gary Felien voted in business friendly candidates.

Following the meeting Mayor Jim Wood said the newly appointed commissioners are in tune with community interests.

Balch will serve on the commission for the first time, and brings to the position her experience working as deputy fire marshal for the city of Carlsbad.

Her work experience includes reviewing plans, city zoning, and helping residents through the city planning process.

Like fellow candidates she said she favored smart growth, and a pedestrian and bicycle friendly city.

“There’s ways to accommodate that,” Balch said. “There’s never a no.”

Councilwoman Esther Sanchez gave kudos to Balch for her work with Carlsbad while the city was going through great growth. Sanchez said Balch’s experience would be put to good use as a commissioner.

Sanchez added Balch’s interest in jobs creation, and water conservation makes her a first-rate fit for the position.

Scrivener formerly served as planning commissioner, and has a background working in technology.

“He has experience and expertise,” Sanchez said.

Lowery said he appreciated Scrivener’s thoughtful replies to interview questions. Lowery added that thoughtfulness would be an asset to the commission.

Kern and Feller voted against both elected candidates.

During the public interview portion of the meeting Kern asked candidates to share their thoughts on balancing city housing and commercial development, to which most candidates replied there is a need to increase commercial development.

Feller stressed the benefit of the free market in improving the city’s economy over recent years.

Balch and Scrivener will serve four-year terms as planning commissioners through April 2019.