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Businesses have no business on commission

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The Afton City Council approved a change to the makeup of the planning commission at its April 21 meeting when they approved an amendment to the ordinance to change the requirement for a member of the business community to simply an "at-large" representative.

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Council member Peg Nolz first made this proposal at the council's Feb. 17 meeting when they were appointing the new members to the planning commission.

Nolz said she did not see the benefit of maintaining the requirement for a business member since it is continuously vacant and the council rarely receives applicants that satisfy the criteria.

Nolz also reminded the council that when the ordinance requiring this was first approved several years ago, Afton was in a time of turnover and turmoil. Nolz said she can't recall the ordinance ever being published. Technically, if an ordinance is unpublished, it does not go into effect.

The new ordinance states that each ward must have a minimum of one commissioner and no more than thee in any ward, thus making all seats "at-large."

At the Feb. 17 meeting, and again at the April 21 meeting, council members Randy Nelson and Bill Palmquist spoke up against this change because they saw the benefit of having a business member and felt that this just gave opportunity for other wards to be over represented compared to others.

Mayor Pat Snyder said she was comfortable with this change.

Initially the council had planned to appoint the remaining member of the planning commission at the April 21 meeting as well, but Palmquist brought up the issue that the remaining applicants that they have applied for the advertised seats in Ward 1, Ward 3, and a business member.

The council decided to re-advertise for the one remaining seat as "at-large."

The council will review the applications they receive at its May meeting.

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Amber Kispert-Smith
Amber Kispert-Smith has been the schools and Afton reporter at the Woodbury Bulletin since 2008. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Minnesota. She previously worked as a reporter for Press Publications in White Bear Lake.
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