Santa Clara University vice provost for planning and administration Charles Erekson has been unanimously elected as chairman of the Los Gatos Planning Commission.
Los Gatos resident Margaret Smith was also unanimously chosen as vice chairwoman of the commission. She's been serving on the body since August of 2011.
The Commission makes recommendations to the Los Gatos Town Council regarding planning, subdivisions, zoning and other land-use regulatory controls.
Joining Erekson and Smith on the Commission are John Bourgeois, Kendra Burch, Thomas O'Donnell, Marico Sayoc and Joanne Talesfore.
"Serving on the Los Gatos Planning Commission provides an opportunity to participate in the thoughtful consideration of planning, zoning, design standards, and other land-use regulations with significant impact on the town's character and quality of life," Erekson said in an email interview about his new position.
He said his service the last four years on the Commission has been a very enlightening experience and has heightened his awareness of the complexity of land-use decisions and their impact on the town's short-term and long-range vitality.
"Planning for Los Gatos should be guided by a vision for the future aspirations of the town grounded in the stewardship of the heritage of the community that reflects the core values of its citizens and other significant stakeholders," he said. "Planning should recognize the interdependence of key elements (e.g., environmental and economics issues, town revenue and town character, residents and businesses) and the necessity of not viewing those elements as competing interests but as interwoven and dependent on each other for success."
He continued: "Thoughtful strategic planning is one of the most important undertakings for ensuring the future success of the community. In the absence of a carefully considered and agreed upon strategy, the Town Council, the Planning Commission, and the Town staff will often react rather than lead because it is all too easy for the urgent to drive out the important. With the context of thoughtful strategic planning, one can use the urgent to pursue the important."