After 16 years of making decisions on projects and ordinances and policies affecting land use in Monterey County, Keith Vandevere has stepped down from the Monterey County Planning Commission.
The decision comes as a result of work conflicts, says Vandevere, who works as an administrative law judge on mental health cases.
"I am either having to turn down work I need to make a living, or miss Planning Commission days," he says. "I just can't do it."
Vandevere was appointed and reappointed for four four-year terms by former county supervisor (and now Carmel mayor) Dave Potter to represent District 5, which encompasses part of the Monterey Peninsula, the Highway 68 corridor, Carmel Valley and the Big Sur coast.
The longest-serving planning commissioner, Martha Diehl, is the other appointee representing District 5. Especially given that vacancies come along rarely, Monterey County spokesperson Maia Carroll notes by email, "This is a very high profile appointment."
Vandevere notified current District 5 Supervisor Mary Adams of his intention to resign in a letter on Oct. 28; she publicly announced his departure two weeks later, on Nov. 13, starting a 30-day period for interested candidates to apply by Dec. 13.
The new appointee will fill the remainder of Vandevere's four-year term, which will have just a month to go—it ends on Jan. 23, 2020—before seeking a new four-year appointment.
"I want to ensure we have someone who has an in-depth knowledge of the general plan," Adams says. "Someone who is cut from Keith's mold.
"He has been an incredible public servant," she adds. "He's going to be impossible to replace."
Vandevere says his highlight was working on the county general plan, which establishes parameters for future development. "That plan has a bigger impact than any individual project," he says. "It has the most stakeholders and the biggest impact on life in Monterey County."