This Tuesday, the Great Falls City Commission voted 4-1 to extend the terms of Design Review Board (DRB) members.
Because some of the members’ terms were set to expire, the commission moved to extend them by one year, thus allowing the DRB to maintain a quorum. The City suspended the DRB in November of 2018.
City Commissioner Rick Tryon cast the lone dissenting vote, as reported by the Tribune’s Karl Puckett:
“The quality of the board members isn’t the issue for him, Tryon said.
He voted no because many in the development community are opposed to the DRB and he agrees with the opposition, Tryon said.
The meeting wasn’t the time to discuss the future of the DRB, Tryon said.
‘But I also want to make it clear along with developers and citizens we all need to revisit this issue and soon especially since the DRB has been resurrected from a 12-month slumber,’ Tryon said.”
Puckett also cited support for the resolution from City Commissioner Tracy Houck:
“Commissioner Tracy Houck said the expiring positions put the community in jeopardy. [emphasis added] Allowing current members to continue to serve allows time to ‘figure out where we’re going,’ she said.”
Really? Allowing a de facto phase-out of the terms of unelected individuals — whose sole functions are to tack on onerous and additional regulations to developers — puts the community “in jeopardy”?
Talk to any entrepreneur: the City has been running just fine, and arguably better, without this extra layer of bureaucracy for the past year.
It might be one thing to support the resumption of the Design Review Board. But to suggest that Great Falls would be “in jeopardy” without it is hyperbolic to the point of absurdity.