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Thread: Generation Xers and Millenials on planning commissions

  1. #26
    Dec 2007
    Central, Wisconsin

    How I got involved

    I'm at the edge of the x-gen, at 43. I presented opinions before the planning commission in my village. At issue was a large bar/entertainment facility in the middle of our residential neighborhood. I led a large and vocal opposition in a well planned presentation. The bar found a new site to develop.
    Our administrator called me about six months later when an appointment opened up. I was honored to serve, and I've been at it for almost a year. My advice is to watch the folks who present well thought out opinions and approach them.

  2. #27
    Feb 2008
    Marshalltown, IA
    I am on the Planning and Zoning Commission in my town and am 27. I graduated college with a Geography degree and took a couple grad courses in planning. Then I decided to go into education and I'm now an elementary teacher. I have been on the Planning Commission for almost a year. It is an interesting way to use my knowledge and be active in my community.

  3. #28
    Unfrozen Caveman Planner mendelman's avatar
    May 2003
    Staff meeting
    i was just appointed to the Plan Commission last night. I live in a 1st ring Chicago suburb, and I will be 30 in a month.

    It will be interesting.
    I'm sorry. Is my bias showing?

    Every day is today. Yesterday is a myth and tomorrow an illusion.

  4. #29
    Quote Originally posted by cch View post
    We do have a girl in her mid 20s on our comprehensive plan advisory committee, and we are soooo happy about that. She is a recently graduated landscape architect. And she is our only citizen-at-large committee member. We snagged her cause she was the only regular, non-elected, non-agenda person to attend our comp plan kick off open house, and she engaged us all in conversation, with a lot of smart questions. And now, I think she is the only committee member who reads stuff ahead of time and comes prepared with questions and comments.
    Good for you, great job roping her onto your board....that's the exact makeup and sort of expertise you want in a commissioner -- someone with no personal agenda (or a limited one, at least! ) who is legitimately interested in rolling up their sleeves and serving their community with their background and expertise, opposed to an appointee who's just getting into positions like this as a stepping stone or a feather in their cap. Having worked with boards over the years, and in serving on both sides of the planner/appointee relationship, if/how a board member does their homework beforehand is a great barometer for how serious they are about their job....and you'll notice I said "if/how".....the "how" part being that someone may have taken time to review their agenda and content, but they may be doing it for political soapboxing reasons opposed to simply trying to prepare for a meeting to inform their decision-making. Another sign of a serious board member is how they educate themselves outside of the board forum, in an effort to inform themselves for purposes of the board.

    Now for another nugget....a local board that I serve on has a council liaison who sits in our meetings....and while that can help at times to guide the meeting process to keep newer board members on track, I think it can also muddy things up a bit and bring in a perception of "overlording," for lack of a better term off the top. Has anyone out there dealt with anything like that? Could probably be its own thread....

  5. #30
    Cyburbian mike gurnee's avatar
    Feb 1998
    Greensburg, Kansas
    In the small towns I have worked it is hard to find anybody to volunteer. I often took on the task of seeking out bodies. If diversity is needed, go to diverse places and talk up what planning can (or should) do. When asked what is needed to be a good commissioner I simply say "an open mind". In Greensburg 2 of our 5 member board were in their 30s. (OK, one was the Mayor's son in law, but they disagreed on everything.) We got along famously.

  6. #31
    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
    Jun 2003
    at the neighboring pub
    Millenial: 1
    Xers: 2 (one is on the young side... probably an "X-ennial" micro-generation like me based on what I've seen from him)
    Boomers: 3 (was 4, but she resigned to go on a trip to South America for six months)

    Politics of the group are left of center.

    "Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

    - Herman Göring at the Nuremburg trials (thoughts on democracy)

  7. #32
    Cyburbian dvdneal's avatar
    Jan 2009
    Remote command post at local bar
    I've got a 9 man (okay 8 and 1 woman) board of boomers. They are all right leaning from libertarian or tea party to just generally conservative. It works only because it actually represents this place.
    I don't pretend to understand Brannigan's Law. I merely enforce it.

  8. #33
    Cyburbian MacheteJames's avatar
    Jun 2005
    NYC area
    I sit on mine and have for the last 3 years. I'm 34, so I'm right on that Gen X/Millenial cusp. This is a NYC Community Board, so imagine a commission of 50 members who cover a jurisdiction of about 5 square miles and containing 80,000 people.

    What I've found is that older folks who are retired often do not respect the time constraints faced by those of us who are decades younger. We have to hustle in ways that they did not when they were our age. The workload that is thrust on board members can be daunting. 4-5 night meetings per month and work to be done outside of meetings as well.There have been work sessions held mid-day during the week that I simply cannot attend due to full-time employment. I also should be brutally honest and state that a lot of these folks do not have much in the way of social lives, and certainly not young children to worry about caring for. I've certainly missed out on other engagements due to board meetings.

    It is rewarding work but there is a very obvious generation gap. Many board members are obsessed with parking. No shocker there... I dealt with it week in and week out when I was a public sector planner. I thought I could get on a board and change this mentality from the inside out, but these folks will die with their beliefs intact. Anti-bike lane rants, hatred of anything but the status quo, you name it. And this is in NYC - one of the most dynamic development environments in the world!

    I will say this much - service has given me a much greater appreciation of the time demands placed on volunteer board members. If it starts to butt heads with my career advancement too much, I will probably resign.

  9. #34
    Cyburbian The One's avatar
    Mar 2004
    Where Valley Fever Lives
    Blog entries


    More likely to find both on heroin these days
    “The way of acquiescence leads to moral and spiritual suicide. The way of violence leads to bitterness in the survivors and brutality in the destroyers. But, the way of non-violence leads to redemption and the creation of the beloved community.”
    Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
    - See more at: http://www.thekingcenter.org/king-ph....r7W02j3S.dpuf

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