Editorial: Estes Valley Planning Commission disregarding the rules

Estes Park Trail-Gazette: This week Town Administrator Frank Lancaster informed the Town Trustees that the Estes Valley Planning Commission had violated the Colorado Sunshine Law. Not only that, but it had been repeatedly warned about its email use in the past in regards to that law.

The use of emails to hold rolling meetings without the public being involved is a serious infraction. As a member of a public board you cannot discuss board policy or business in an email with more than two board members. The Planning Commission violated this rule.

Lancaster told the Trustees that the Commission had been warned in the past, so they either are not taking the warnings seriously or are willfully ignoring the law. Either is cause for concern.

This incident is a perfect example of why all public boards in the Estes Valley should be posting their emails, which are already public documents, online for anyone to see. Thankfully town staff caught this violation and Lancaster brought it to the public’s attention; however, the public should be able to review all board emails without having to rely on the town.

Furthermore this goes to show a lack of concern among the Planning Commission for the rules.

We’ve seen this group in the past recommend denying applications that clearly comply with the town’s ordinances only to have the Trustees act against that recommendation. The Planning Commission has some discretion when it comes to making its recommendations, but it has to go by more than its own interests. The ordinances and rules exist for a reason.

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