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Afton planning commission one member short

A seat will be left vacant on Afton's planning commission after councilors decided not to reappoint one member.

At the city council meeting on Feb. 19, the vote came in at four to one not to reappoint Clint Elston, a planning commissioner of three years.

City council members expressed the view that Elston had a potential conflict of interest serving on the commission, owing to his role as the owner of a business offering water recycling and wastewater treatment systems.

Afton Mayor Julia Welter told the meeting, "I have come to feel that Mr. Elston, while very knowledgeable about wastewater treatment issues, has a conflict of interest with his company selling a wastewater treatment system. I would prefer that we would continue to advertise for his seat."

Speaking after the meeting, Elston said, "There's absolutely no conflict of interest -- just because I'm in the water treatment business, it means I know what we're talking about when people come before the planning commission to talk about easements...

"I was just trying to help this community -- we want to keep the pipe out of here, and I'm the only guy who knows enough about this to be able to do that."

Planning commissioners Anne Knutson and Patty Chalupa were reappointed to serve on the commission.