In a decision that could have a profound impact on growth and development policy in Boulder, the City Council bucked tradition on Tuesday by declining to reappoint the Planning Board’s incumbent chair. The board, which is influential in shaping Boulder’s future because it rules on development proposals and holds veto power on certain land-use issues, will soon feature two new members — David Ensign and Peter Vitale — likely to swing its collective voice.
“I am troubled by what we’re doing here,” Mayor Suzanne Jones said of Gerstle’s non-appointment. “Remember: We are replacing Leonard May.”
Councilwomen Lisa Morzel and Mary Young both voted against certifying the board and commission appointments and had more forcefully worded remarks about the Gerstle vote.
“One of the things that we’re struggling with as a community is a certain divisiveness that I think we’re all growing very weary of,” Young said. “I think breaking with tradition for the simple reason that certain folks see John as taking a certain path or not taking a certain path is a good way to stir it up further.”
“I think we’re making this completely political,” Morzel added.
“I am totally opposed to what we did. … Talk about throwing fuel on the fire,” she said later in the meeting. “I apologize publicly to John Gerstle and I will thank him publicly for his service on Planning Board.”
In each vote, the council members in the 5-4 majority were Aaron Brockett, Andrew Shoemaker, Jan Burton, Matt Appelbaum and Bob Yates.