Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Commissioner's Corner: High school students at the Planning Commission

[This series of blog posts, designated Commissioner's Corner, is based upon my reflections as a commissioner on the Boise Planning and Zoning Commission.]

It is a new school year, and the evidence is everywhere, even at the Planning Commission.  This week, I was surprised to learn that Boise has a great tradition of choosing a "student commissioner" to sit with the Commission at each of its hearings during the year.  The student commissioner can participate in hearings as would an appointed commissioner--asking questions, and so forth--but cannot make motions or otherwise vote on projects.  I think this is a fabulous way to get students involved in the planning process at an early age.  When I came home, I mentioned this student commissioner to our babysitter.  "Oh!," she exclaimed, "I'm the student delegate to the Parks & Rec Development Impact Fee Advisory Committee," which determines how to use park impact fee dollars.  I was surprised again, and proud of Boise.  The city's integration of high school students into the planning process shows a long-term effort to build understanding of the planning process that you don't see in most jurisdictions, even many deemed "progressive."  It seems a worthy model for other local governments to consider.

Stephen R. Miller

| Permalink