The Carbon County Planning Commission is an Asset and Staple for the Community


The Carbon County Planning Commission, which is responsible for creating and recommending various ordinances and regulations for the unincorporated areas of Carbon County, is a solid team of hard workers.

Some of the ordinances that the commission oversees include conditional use permits, open space, subdivisions, general plan updates, zone regulations and more. The commission consists of seven members with two alternatives, each of whom are appointed by the Carbon County Commissioners.

These members are Kurt McFarland, Paul Anderson, Richard Tatton, Michael Bryant, Trapper Burdick, Gary Taylor, Scott Bruno, Jeff Peters and staff member Todd Thorne, Planning and Zoning Director. Each member serves for a four-year term and may then be reappointed at the commissioner’s discretion.

County Commissioner Larry Jensen said that the decisions that are made by the planning commission affect many and these folks were appointed and stepped forward to serve. He also stated that the county is anxious to offer new people a chance to apply for openings. Typically, vacant positions are advertised in November and appointments are made to the boards in January.

Board members’ assignments are staggered to ensure that there is someone on the team that has been there long enough to know their role and help new members as they come in.

“They’ve taken a role to represent the county,” Commissioner Jensen said, while also reflecting that there is a lot of diversity in the members, which brings in many views and opinions. To be a member of the planning commission, those interested must be a resident of the county. The planning commission meets the first Tuesday of each month to review various land use applications.

When an applicant submits an application for an area such as a subdivision, the planning commission ensures that each subdivision meets the minimum lot size and density. They also review water and sewer requirements, road widths and other various issues.

“They’re critical in the fact that the planning commission helps businesses comply with the county rules and regulations; without their insight, it would be difficult to keep it all on track,” Thorne said. The county commissioners rely on boards such as the planning commission to help them know the small details and what benefits the county.

Conditional use permits and zone changes are also a big part of what is handled by this team. The permits are issued to projects that must mitigate certain criteria to be permitted to build. Such criteria includes, but is not limited to, garbage, noise, parking, reclamation, traffic and fumes. Zone changes occur when an applicant desires to change the zone their property is located on to a different zone.

“The Carbon County Planning Commission is a valuable board for our community,” said Thorne. “Each member of the planning commission brings unique insights to the board, which helps to ensure that development is completed in a responsible manner.” Currently, there are a couple of engineers, those in public works and some that have owned businesses on the board. This way, each have their own involvement when a business comes in for approval.

Those that have additional questions or wish to seek more information on what the Carbon County Planning Commission does on a day-to-day basis may contact Thorne at (435) 636-3261.

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