Read an excerpt from this article below. You can download the full article by using the link at the end of the excerpt.
... The likelihood is strong that most planning commissioners remember their first commission meeting. I recall rather vividly my initial commission meeting; in part because I had just broken my ankle. My movement was tentative and uncertain as I was unable to coordinate the crutches with my arms and legs. My sense of rhythm -- which has never been great -- was completely missing. In the words of my youngest child, I moved like a "klutz."
PUD sounded like a dog running loose in an open field and floor area ratio with density bonus sounded like a carpeting job.
Once I settled into my seat and the meeting started, it did not take long for me to dismiss the crutches as a problem. In short order, colleagues began using the king's English in a manner that sounded almost foreign. They spoke at length about a PUD and its special relationship to open space. They also spent a fair amount of time talking about floor area ratio and density bonuses. I was perplexed. The words sounded familiar, but they made little sense in the context of the discussion. PUD sounded like a dog running loose in an open field and floor area ratio with density bonus sounded like a carpeting job. But this could not be right. This was a planning commission meeting. What was wrong with me? Was I missing something? What was this language I was hearing and what did it mean?
Fortunately for me, a veteran of the commission took me aside at the conclusion of the meeting and reassured me that all was well. He told me that planners had a language all their own. I would have to learn what was meant one meeting at a time. As my seasoned colleague put it, planning was like learning how to drive: it would take awhile and there would be frustrations along the way; however, I would probably make it.
Sound familiar? I would venture a guess that most commissioners reading this column can relate to my experience. For a variety of reasons, it seems most people appointed to local planning commissions receive little or no orientation following their appointment. Their success or failure as a commissioner quickly becomes a function of on-the-job learning, adaptation, and personal persistence. ...
End of excerpt