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January 28, 2009
And the new CBPC member is...
COLONIAL BEACH, Virginia (STPNS) -- Out of the four possible candidates interviewed by a selection panel comprised of both Colonial Beach Town Council and Planning Commission members, Cynthia Missicka was the name put forward as the recommendation to fill the vacancy on the Planning Commission recently created by the retirement of long-term Planning Commission member Barbara Palmer.
Missicka, in a recent telephone interview, said she is ?very eager and excited? about this opportunity for her to serve her community?. She continued on saying, ?I'm excited about having a chance to have a say. I realize its a small say?, she added, ?that I am one of seven?.
Missicka's professional life was begun as a teacher. She spent three years in the classroom in that role before being drawn back into that of a student to pursue an education in law.
Having worked as a civil rights attorney with the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission for close to 19 years, Missicka has honed her ?skills in critical thought?; critical thinking skills that she says would ?otherwise not have been developed.
?I use these everyday?, she said; ?talking to people, reading the newspaper.?
Immediately prior to living in Colonial Beach, Missicka resided in Falls Church. ?For close to 20 years?, she adds. ?I have always lived in suburbia?, she continues, ?but among millions of people. This is my first time living in a small town. Here you can learn what's going on. You can feel a part of it. It's harder to feel that in a larger place. Here, no matter where you go, you know people. I go to the grocery store, I know 20 people?, she finishes with a laugh.
Missicka was first introduced to Colonial Beach as a visitor 10 years ago. ?It pulled me from day one?, she says. So two years ago, she bought a house and began the time-honored process of renovations that take longer than you want and cost more than you want to pay.
?It took more to renovate than I ever dreamed?, she sighs. Now Missicka is able to work part-time from home, providing her the time to spend quality hours on Planning Commission issues.
Missicka says she is already reviewing the draft of the first three chapters of the Comprehensive Plan as prepared by Land Studio and is ?really happy?.
What makes her really happy?
That based upon what she sees, the Plan is written ?maintaining what we have and growing from that base. We have incredible architectural history?, she continues, referencing ?the Riverview Inn, Town Hall and houses along the Point. We can bank on our unique character?.
When asked about the Town's lack of an historic preservation district, she answers she is ?absolutely interested in historical preservation? but draws a distinction between that concept and the Architectural Review Board or ARB that was attempted here once before. ?I don't want anyone telling me what color to paint my door either?, she states firmly.
Missicka acknowledges that the Town will ?always have the waterfront as a tourism draw?, but cautions that other Colonial Beach qualities such as ?our small town character, walkable downtown and family resort atmosphere? need to be protected as well. ?It saddens me?, she continues, ?that businesses have tried to make it here and failed and nobody comes to fill that gap. The Planning Commission?, she says, ?can make a difference?.
Missicka knows that the town has some difficult times ahead; a time when it will be ?hard to balance long-term goals with short term reality. How we look?, she adds ?will be based on how we pick and choose what is brought before us?. Being ?practical? is something else that will mitigate decisions. ?Resources are an issue?, she explains. ?We need money and we don't know where it's going to come from?.
Missicka says she has met most of the other members of the commission and is looking forward to meeting Kent Rodeheaver and Maureen Holt at the special meeting scheduled for Tuesday, January 27, 2009, when the Commission as a whole will review the draft of the Comprehensive Plan with Land Studio. This review will not replace the public meeting held in a workshop style format scheduled for February. ?I don't know how political the Planning Commission is or isn't?, she says, ?but the Town Council seems to take their recommendations seriously. This is a good way to get involved. I think everyone can make a difference?.
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