Nesvig not approved for planning commission vacancyThe St. Paul Park City Council turned down Gordon Nesvig’s bid to fill a vacancy on the city’s Planning Commission by a 3-2 vote Monday.
By: Toni Lambert, South Washington County Bulletin
The St. Paul Park City Council turned down Gordon Nesvig’s bid to fill a vacancy on the city’s Planning Commission by a 3-2 vote Monday. Mayor John Hunziker and council members Jeff Swenson and Tim Jones voted against the appointment.
Nesvig, who was recommended to fill the vacancy by the planning commission, is a longtime resident of the area and owner of nearly 600 acres of undeveloped land recently annexed by St. Paul Park. During the past five years, that property was being considered for a residential development called River’s Edge.
“The planning commission has five members in case of a tie vote,” Hunziker said, leading up to his nay vote. “With all the things that may be coming down the line regarding infrastructure and the River’s Edge property, I would like to see a full commission in which all members can vote.
“With Mr. Nesvig’s appointment, I think it would be hard for him to remain objective with all that’s at stake. I know I would have a hard time doing that,” Hunziker said.
Council member Sandi Dingle said she had received calls from residents who were concerned about Nesvig being such a large property owner and a member of the planning commission.
“Gordon agreed to abstain from votes that would benefit his property,” Dingle said. “I want to remind citizens that the planning commission makes recommendations but the city council makes the final decision.”
Council member Steve Hunstad said not only did Nesvig agree to abstain from voting on issues concerning his land but is required to abstain by law.
“This is an appointed position, not elected,” Hunstad said. “If issues do arise, we have recourse.
“Mr. Nesvig and I don’t always see eye to eye on matters,” said Hunstad, who is the council’s liaison to the planning commission. “I was looking forward to him being on the commission. I like to hear his viewpoint on various issues; disparate views allow for better discussions.
“I’m hopeful that he continues to share his experience with the commission,” Hunstad said. “He brings a lot of value from his longtime residency in Grey Cloud Island Township.”
In a second vote, the council approved the appointment of Deonna Mitchem to fill the planning commission vacancy. Mitchem will be sworn in at an upcoming council meeting.