Albert Rukwaro
Special to The Gardner News
Gardner city council has retained the services of a consultant to conduct training for the city’s planning commissioners.
The council during its April 15 meeting retained David Knopick and his consulting business dPlanit LLC, “to support council’s request for planning commission training.”
Laura Gourley, interim city administrator, said the consultant had previously been retained by the city to review and assess the Land Development Code on an $18,000 contract which ended on March 31.
“Mayor Shute requested an extension of Mr. Knopick’s excellent services to complete the aforementioned items,” Gourley said.
The new contract – which runs from April 1-Aug. 31 – will pay the consultant a monthly retainer of $3,400.
Knopick’s previous contract was authorized under the interim city administrator’s $25,000 budgetary signature authority, and therefore did not require a discussion in the council.
“Because this extension will cause the total cost of the service over the entire term beginning the previous October 2018 through August 2019 to exceed the ICA’s signature authority, this action comes to the council for approval,” said Gourley.
The resolution was contained in the consent agenda and was passed by the council without discussion.
According to the contract the consultant will complete the review and assessment of the Land development Code and the zoning and plan review processes.
The contract stipulates that the consultant will conduct or assist with up to two planning commission training sessions and provide guidance on customer service, problem solving and other functions related to city planning.
During the March 18 council meeting, several council members expressed concerns about how some planning commission members treated members of the public during a Feb 26 public hearing regarding a proposed mixed use development on Waverly and Santa Fe.
But Larry Powell, business and economic development director, issued a statement on March 26 saying it was his opinion that members of the planning commission had treated members of the public with respect during the public hearing.