The City of Cody Planning and Zoning Commission is getting a bunch of new faces, from an established engineer to an airline pilot who recently moved from California.
The City Council on Tuesday appointed three new members and one current member to fill four seats for the upcoming year.
Three of the members will begin full three-year terms in January, while the fourth will fill the final year of a seat.
Five people applied for the openings, including incumbents Carson Rowley and Richard Jones. Rowley was reappointed; Jones wasn’t.
“We love having more candidates than we have slots,” Mayor Matt Hall said last month when the City Council conducted all five interviews. “And these are all good candidates.
Ian Morrison and Andrew Murray were appointed to fill the other two three-year positions, replacing Jones and Sandi Fisher, who declined another term.
Matthew Moss was appointed to finish out the final year of member Rodney Laib’s term. Laib was hired for a job that will take him away from Cody for the first part of 2022, therefore he told Hall he was willing to have someone replace him if there were enough applicants.
Rowley will return to the board for a full term after filling in the last year of an unexpired term. He’s been a Cody resident for 8.5 years and works as a civil engineer for TO Engineers.
“I live downtown, I have a vested interest in historic neighborhoods, I live in a house built in 1910,” he said. “On P&Z, we’re trying to move Cody forward but protect some of that awesome history.”
Ian Morrison is a manager at Engineering Associates and will provide another engineering perspective on the board.
He guessed he’d only have to recuse himself from 5%-10% of votes due to his being a part of EA. Morrison said he wants to help the city grow properly.
“Our biggest role is to make sure the city is put together in a worthy development,” he said. “The city is expanding ... it’s how those areas should be zoned in the future, making sure we’re not driving through Greybull. We want to keep developing our city to be moving forward.”
Murray, the third Cody resident who will be starting a three-year term in January, only began living in the area full time in 2020, but said he wants to ensure that all of the attributes that made him and his family want to move here stay strong even as the city expands.
“This is the environment I envisioned to raise my girls in,” he said of Cody, where the family has visited the last eight years, staying longer each time. “I’m from upstate New York, and this is like the environment I was used to.”
He said he escaped California because he couldn’t fight the changes in development and cultural attitudes.
“What will happen if Cody starts to move in that direction? Where will our girls run to? There’s no place left,” he said. “I’m here to at least attempt to recognize what can happen, and that while growth is going to happen, find an educated, smart way to go about it.”
The airline pilot said he isn’t opposed to growth, just that it should be balanced with also maintaining the Cody lifestyle people enjoy.
Joining them for a year will be Moss, a 16-year resident who runs Moss Orthodontics.
He said he’s a conservative who has always been interested in politics and wants to step into the mix.
While he said he thinks P&Z could be a stepping stone to another office, he’s still entering with ideas on planning and zoning, as well as being an owner of a number of short-term rentals in town.
“I used to think, let people do what they want with their property, but there’s rules in place for a reason,” Moss said, adding that he intended to be objective about short-term rentals despite his involvement.
Jones will finish his time at P&Z at the end of the month after two terms. He is the current chair and, as P&Z City Council member Andy Quick said, has been valuable as the one to ask the philosophical questions.
“If you’re serving your community, I think that’s the best contribution you can make to your community,” Jones said.