Friday, October 16, 2009
In Manchester, Vermont, an 18-year-old high school student has been appointed to the planning commission:
MANCHESTER — Effective Oct. 22, Burr and Burton Academy (BBA) student Megan LaValley will make history by becoming the youngest person at the age of 18 to ever be appointed as a full voting member of the planning commission.
The idea to appoint LaValley — who has served as a student member of the board for the past two years — came up both during a conversation with the commission's chair, John Ringwood, when there was a vacancy on the board and informally at the board level, according to planning director and zoning administrator Lee Krohn. The board was supportive of the idea and they then were faced with making the decision of either advertising for the position and going through the process of interviewing candidates or asking the Select Board to appoint her so they could accept her back as a member of the board — something that pleased LaValley who said it was depressing to see her student term come to an end.
It's kind of interesting that the town had the choice of either advertising the position or making a direct appointment. Anyway, Manchester VT is a popular tourist town for its historic New England charm and architecture, its scenery and proximity to the mountains (at the base of Mount Equinox), and its modern shopping venues . . . with that diversity of uses and priorities, the planning commission must play an important role. Ms. LaValley was a participant in a Manchester Youth Commission project to allow students to participate as (non-voting) members of various government boards; she obviously impressed her colleagues enough for them to make her a full voting member of the planning commission. Congratulations to her, and kudos to Manchester, VT, for encouraging its youth to participate in government generally and land use planning in particular.