RIO VISTA — The Planning Commission is a full house once again after the appointment this week of Rolf Sabye and Edwin Okamura, who were chosen to fill two expiring seats.
Sabye is not actually new to the seven-member commission. Both he and Jan Vick in 2013 were appointed to vacated positions left by Councilman Dave Hampton and Mayor Norman Richardson. Sabye was appointed to the term with one year left.
Okamura and Sabye were appointed to the position Tuesday night during an interview process in which five applicants were interviewed by City Council members.
“I’ve always been involved in civic affairs,” said Sabye, who has lived in Rio Vista for nine years and is a former planning commissioner for San Ramon. “I’ve always been involved.”
The Planning Commission addresses subjects such as land use, zoning, variances and design review.
Okamura is the executive director of RioVision, the committee that spearheaded the acceptance into a pro-bono program by the American Institute of Architects that brings in groups of professionals – dubbed the Regional Urban Design Assistance Team – to help guide cities such as Rio Vista into the future with a workable blueprint.
Okamura said the position on RioVision allowed for a “good transition” to the Planning Commission because he was able to get what he called a “good grasp of what our community is looking for.”
It also gives both Okamura and MaryEllen Lamothe, the Planning Commission’s chairwoman who is also part of RioVision, the chance to help carry on the vision that will be brought forth by the Regional Urban Design Assistance Team with the assistance of community input, he said.
“We need to be an extension of the community and represent what the community wants, which ties into the vision we want for our community,” Okamura said.
Sabye said that now is the beginning of an exciting time to be part of Rio Vista city planning, with many things on the docket for the next decade. He said he looks forward to a stronger economy, potential riverfront development and the developments of RioVision.
“That’s potentially huge and very exciting,” he said of RioVision and Regional Urban Design Assistance Team. “If you look at what (Regional Urban Design Assistance Teams have) done around the country, the potential is there.”
Eight applications were accepted for the Planning Commission position and five were interviewed Tuesday. Aside from Sabye and Okamura, they were Bob Armstrong, John Fahretti and Janis Hunter.
Councilman Dave Hampton said the pool of candidates was strong.
“We chose two good candidates and we had other good ones, (too),” he said. “I hope they stay active in the community and keep their interest up in serving the city.”
Reach Susan Winlow at 427-6955 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/swinlowdr.