The Charlottesville Planning Commission has selected Jason Pearson to serve as its new chair, effective March 13, 2008. Michael Farruggio will remain as the new vice chair. Pearson replaces Bill Lucy, who is on sabbatical from the UVa School of Architecture.

Pearson is the Executive Director of the Green Blue Institute, and was first appointed to the Commission in October 2006.  Green Blue is a nonprofit organization that works with the private sector to promote environmentally sustainable production.

There are currently two vacancies on the Planning Commission. One is for the seat being vacated by Lucy in March. The other seat comes open in August after Commissioner Hosea Mitchell steps down.

A resident of Fifeville, Pearson became involved with local planning issues when his neighborhood faced new development challenges. He taught himself how the City’s zoning codes work, and came to the belief that the intent of the zoning ordinances was not always carried out during implementation. Pearson began to appear at Planning Commission meetings to speak his case, and applied for a position when one came open.

Pearson says he is still learning how to do his job as a Planning Commissioner, and that he had hoped to spend more time learning from the outgoing Lucy. In fact, he told Charlottesville Tomorrow he will be meeting with Lucy later in the week to get advice on the future of the Commission. He said he wants to help make the operations of the Planning Commission and Neighborhood Development staff as efficient and transparent as possible.

Pearson said he would continue to hold the pre-meeting “gatherings” where staff and commissioners have an informal discussion about a regular meeting’s agenda before going on television. Pearson even said he would encourage members of the public to attend these events.

Sean Tubbs

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