Sunday, April 21, 2024

Council to consider downsizing planning commission

Lincoln City City Council

PUBLISHER’S NOTE: This article has been updated with comment from Councilor Sydney Kasner who reached out to us. 

At the upcoming Lincoln City City Council meeting a proposal from the planning department to reduce the number of planning commissioners from seven to five will be discussed and possibly voted on. 

According to the posted agenda for Sept. 26:

Background: Planning staff has requested that the number of Planning Commissioners be reduced to five in order to facilitate having a quorum for the conduct of city business. There appears to be no requirement in state law to maintain seven members. The change would go into effect in January 2023. 

City council has had no shortage of applicants for planning commission vacancies yet seemed, at times, reluctant to fill them. There are currently no vacancies on the commission. Calls to council members, city manager and mayor for insight into the issue were not immediately answered, with the exception of Councilors Riley Hoagland and Sydney Kasner.

“I’m really waiting for staff to present their thoughts as to what is wrong with having seven commissioners.” Hoagland said.

“This information is new to me as well,” Kasner said. “although it sounds like the change has been recommended to make it easier to obtain a quorum.”

Planning director Anne Marie Skinner stated: 

“We’ve had to cancel some meetings because we couldn’t raise a quorum and I thought it would make things much simpler.”

At this point there has been no public discussion or input from the planning commissioners on the matter.

According to the city’s website: 

The Lincoln City Planning Commission is a seven-member citizen advisory body appointed by the City Council. Planning Commissioners are registered voters and generally live inside the city limits; however, up to two members may live outside the city limits but inside the urban growth boundary. No more than two members may have the same occupation. Commissioners serve for 4-year terms.

If the ordinance change passes it will go into effect January of 2023.

Sept. 26 Meeting Agenda

Don Williams
Don Williams
Don Williams serves as publisher and editor of The Lincoln City Homepage.


  1. Hi there, this record is incorrect. I am a city councilor and received no email or call regarding this article. I did double check my city email and voicemails to confirm that I was not contacted for comment. Could this be updated to be more accurate as to which council members were contacted?

    Thank you!

  2. I am also a Lincoln City City Councilor and did not receive email or phone messages about downsizing the Planning Commission. I only heard of this proposal today when I began reviewing the packet for NEXT MONDAY’s City Council meeting. As a past Mayor of Lincoln City, you should know that our city phone numbers roll to voice mail because we do not sit in an office in City Hall. If you truly want an honest opinion from councilors on this topic, Mr. Williams, I suggest you give us the opportunity to hear the issue first. Your comments appear to be an attempt to paint City Councilors and the Mayor as non-responsive. That serves no one.

  3. The Planning Commission? Is that the same bunch of twits that let Walker John and Olivia Beach crap all over my neighborhood?
    There are some people who would say- I wouldn’t wish that on my
    worst enemy” I’m not one of those bleedinghearts. I hope some
    developer lays your neighborhood to waste, and the sooner the better.
    86 the planning commies and get someone to run things that actually
    cares about other humans and has a sense of logic.

  4. Changing the size of the membership will not affect attendance. Changing the attitude of the membership will. In my six years on the seven-member Commission, there was never once a failure to achieve quorum.

    The premise for the downsize is invalid. Quorum is a simple majority of the membership. Quorum of five is 3/5=60%, quorum of seven is 4/7=57%; the probability of failing a quorum is nearly identical. Statistically, the existing seven member board should suffer roughly 3% fewer no-shows than the proposed five.

    Absence is “non-performance of duty”. Changing the size of the membership will not affect attendance, but changing the attitude of the membership about attendance will. Read the rules: members are to “attend all meetings faithfully”.


    “Section 3. Members shall attend all meetings faithfully, except in such cases of illness or when the Chair has approved a request to be absent prior to the meeting.

    Section 4. The members of the Commission shall serve at the pleasure of the Council [LCMC 2.08.030]. The City Council may remove a member pursuant to ORS 227.030, following a hearing, for
    misconduct or nonperformance of duty. The Commission may recommend to Council by majority vote the removal of a member for misconduct or nonperformance. Notwithstanding this rule, removal of a member shall be automatic following a second unexcused absence during any calendar year. Members may resign their appointment at any time and for any reason.”

    The chair you leave empty leaves thousands of us unrepresented. If you can’t do the job, find a replacement and quit.


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