Saturday, March 27, 2010

Tracy Hoskins appointed to city planning commission

Please click on Skip Descant's byline, highlighted in blue, to go to newspaper site and read the full story.

Developer Named To Planning Commission

 — A Fayetteville developer who has not always had the smoothest relationship with the Fayetteville Planning Commission is joining its ranks.
Tracy Hoskins, owner of Paradigm Companies, will be part of the new freshman class of planning commissioners to begin serving April 1. Commissioners serve a three-year unpaid term. However, Hoskins has been appointed to a one-year term.
Hoskins’ role as a significant developer in the area caused the City Council Nominating Committee to give his application pause.
“We took that to heart,” said Kyle Cook, the council member who serves as chairman of the nominating committee.
His one-year term could be viewed as probationary, Cook said.
“That’s the way I saw it,” Cook said. “Though I can’t speak for the other members.”
Hoskins has applied for the post several times in the past, Cook said, and a developer of Hoskins’ caliber serving on the Planning Commission is uncommon.
“We’ve denied him several times, but we decided we’d give it a whirl this time,” Cook said.
For his part, Hoskins points to his close knowledge of the city’s planning policies as his upper hand.
“Hopefully, with my experience in construction and development, along with my knowledge of the UDC (Unified Development Code), I’ll be able to offer a somewhat different perspective,” Hoskins said.
And having a developer sitting on its own regulatory body should not be viewed as a conflict, he said.
“It is as if there is an assumption that there are two adversarial groups and that one group has in some way just infiltrated the enemy’s camp,” Hoskins said. “When in all actuality, we are all in the same boat — or maybe more appropriate, considering the current economy, life raft.”
Hoskins stated vehemently that development should be regulated.
“And I have never believed otherwise,” he said. “As a commissioner, it’s my charge to ensure that development follows what is currently prescribed by our UDC, nothing more.”
Hoskins relationship with the planning staff and commission in the past has been at times rocky. Oakbrooke, a new neighborhood planned for west Fayetteville that will add 174 homes on 29 acres, was approved by the Planning Commission. But when the City Council took up the planned zoning district, Hoskins debated various conditions of approval the Planning Commission had placed on the project. He brought the council new information, which the commission had not seen. It was a move viewed by the planning staff — and some members of the City Council — as inconsistent with the approval process.
Despite any misgivings, the council and Hoskins’ fellow commissioners are interested in what he can bring to the planning body.
“We wanted people with some experience, with some knowledge to hit the ground running,” Cook said. “And Tracy, quite frankly, he’s got the knowledge.”
“Everybody seems to bring a perspective,” said Porter Winston, a veteran commissioner. “And the diversity on the commission is very, very important.
“I’m hopeful that commissioner Hoskins will have a perspective that’s creative and insightful.”
And if in the past Hoskins has sparred with the Planning Department, it was usually because he was trying do something more creative, Winston said.
“When you’re on the deciding side of things, your perspective is different,” Winston said. “He’s going to have to see some things from the Planning Commission perspective instead of always the armchair quarterback perspective.”
At A Glance
Fayetteville Planning Commission
Audy Lack
Craig Honchell
Hugh Earnest
Jeremy Kennedy
Matthew Cabe
Porter Winston
Sarah Bunch
Tracy Hoskins
William Chesser
Source: City Of Fayetteville

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