A Lawrence attorney is set to become the newest member of the Lawrence-Douglas County Planning Commission.
Mayor Mike Amyx has appointed Brad Finkeldei, an attorney with the Lawrence firm of Stevens & Brand LLP, to serve on the board that oversees many land-use and planning decisions.
Finkeldei's appointment must be confirmed by city commissioners, who have the matter on their consent agenda for Tuesday night's meeting.
"He seems to be a real down-to-earth individual," said Amyx, who interviewed about a dozen people to fill the spot being vacated by Dr. Terry Riordan, who declined a second term. "I think the big thing is that he has the ability to understand the new zoning ordinance. He'll get up to speed real quick."
Finkeldei said he thought being on the commission would be a good way to serve the community. He said as a lawyer with Stevens & Brand he had not done much work with the development community and hadn't been particularly active in land-use issues.
"I don't have any philosophy, per se, on land use," Finkeldei said. "I just want to get in and learn it."
Finkeldei has lived in Lawrence about 10 years. He is the first person Amyx has appointed to the Planning Commission since becoming mayor in April. The commission has 10 members.
What's the plan?
The Lawrence-Douglas County Planning Commission is comprised of 10 members who jointly represent the city of Lawrence and the unincorporated areas of Douglas County.
Planning Commission members are appointed by the mayor or the county chair and serve three-year terms. Commission members are eligible for two consecutive terms.
Amyx said he wasn't looking for candidates who had any particular ideology in regard to growth and development.
"I'll mainly just sit down and talk with people and try to get a general sense of comfort with an individual," Amyx said.
Finkeldei will join a commission that has been split on several large issues ranging from how to regulate retail development to routes to complete the South Lawrence Trafficway.
He replaces Riordan, a Lawrence pediatrician, who generally was viewed as a member who did not belong to the group of commissioners backing many policies supported by the Progressive Lawrence Campaign.
For example, Riordan was one of three planning commissioners who voted against sending a letter that opposed the 32nd Street route for the trafficway to federal regulators who are reviewing the project.