Gearhart City Hall

Candidates are sought for Gearhart’s Planning Commission.

Two Planning Commission seats came up for reappointment Wednesday, Dec. 4, with two incumbents, Russ Taggard and Terry Graff, winning new terms.

Four other applicants, Barbara Jacobson, Kristina Ross Shetters, David Savinar and Judy Schecter, also sought appointment to the four-year term.

Taggard, Graff and Jacobson interviewed before city councilors.

Taggard said he joined the commission prior to short-term rental regulation, a process he described a good job on the part of the commission. Taggard said he sees the role of a commissioner as “to give basis for decisions” for the City Council.

Graff, in asking to retain his position, called his time on the commission “one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve had.”

“Gearhart is trying to figure out where it fits in the modern world,” Graff said. “It hasn’t been easy. But all of us have been able to build a consensus and do the right thing for Gearhart.”

Jacobson, who serves on the city’s budget committee, turned the tables on the council and asked what qualities they were looking for in a commissioner.

In a council interview, Jacobson asked what the city is looking for in a planning commissioner.

City Councilor Dan Jesse said openness was the largest quality.

“Going into whatever you’re looking at with an open mind,” Jesse said. “There are different paths one could go down to make a decision. To me somebody that looks to each item with fresh eyes without preconceived notions — that’s important.”

Mayor Matt Brown said he was impressed with each of the candidates. “I’ve had an opportunity to work with all three of them,” he said. “Terry and Russ have done a terrific job on the Planning Commission, wading over some difficult issues over the past four years. It’s great to have quality people like you folks making Gearhart what it is and has been, a fantastic residential community.”

Taggard received the unanimous council approval of Mayor Matt Brown, Paulina Cockrum, Reita Fackerell, Dan Jesse and Kerry Smith. Graff’s reappointment was approved by Brown, Cockrum, Smith and Fackerell. Jesse voted no.

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