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2023: Four new faces join Citrus Heights Planning Commission

Four residents were appointed to the Citrus Heights Planning Commission on Jan. 12, 2023. Top left to right: James Remick, Oleg Shishko. Bottom left to right: Max Semenenko, Natalee Price. Image credit: City Youtube channel, candidate.

Sentinel staff report–
The influential, seven-member Citrus Heights Planning Commission now has a majority of new members, following appointments by the City Council last week.

New appointees include Natalee Price, James Remick, Max Semenenko and Oleg Shishko. Two current commissioners, Andrew Van Duker and Marcelle Flowers, were also re-appointed during the Jan. 12, 2023, meeting.

Remick will fill the unexpired term of commissioner Paul Makhnovskiy, who resigned from his position earlier this month. Flowers, Van Duker and Price will each serve a four-year term, while Semenenko and Shishko will serve two-year terms as at-large appointees.

Three of the four new appointees were on the ballot for various elected offices in November, but lost. Price ran for City Council District 5, while Shishko sought a seat on the San Juan Unified School Board, and Semenenko lost in his bid to replace incumbent Doris Matsui for U.S. House of Representatives, District 7.

Remick also previously sought a seat on the city’s Planning Commission in 2017, and was nominated by Councilman Bret Daniels, but did not earn the votes needed to be ratified.

From 2017: City council rejects Daniels’ appointee for Citrus Heights planning commission

Under council rules, each member nominates one resident to serve on the Planning Commission, concurrent with the council member’s four-year term and subject to ratification by the full council. Two additional residents are chosen by the council as a whole, and serve two-year terms.

The City Clerk’s Office said a total of 15 residents had applied for seats on the commission, three of whom also applied for seats on the city’s Construction Board of Appeals. Residents Lance Gartner and Manuel Perez-Salazar were appointed to the construction board.

The Planning Commission meets up to twice a month and is tasked with making decisions on land-use related proposals, as well as holding public hearings and reviewing proposed ordinances. The commission also makes recommendations to the City Council on major development projects.

The five-member Construction Board of Appeals meets rarely and only on an as-needed basis to hear complaints from those aggrieved by a decision of the city’s chief building official. The board also “assists in determining suitability of materials and methods of construction, as well as interpreting technical codes.”

Historically, the Planning Commission has served as a stepping stone for leaders to gain experience before moving up to an elected position on the City Council, which was the case with both Porsche Middleton and Mayor Tim Schaefer.

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