Allgower Back In Catbird Seat As Planning Commission Chair

J.R. Allgower is back as the chairman of the Yucaipa Planning Commission.
Allgower, a landowner, real estate broker, builder and developer, was originally appointed to the planning commission in 2013. He acceded to the chairmanship of the commission, but resigned from the panel in February 2017. He was replaced by Jack Masters but was subsequently reappointed to the commission by Councilman Bobby Duncan, reassuming a position on the commission in January 2019.
At the January 21, 2020 planning commission meeting, his fellow commissioners settled on appointing Allgower to serve as chairman a second time.  He was selected to replace Bart Brizzee as chairman.
Allgower did not seek the appointment, instead having seconded Commissioner Kathy Fellenz’s nomination of Brizzee to remain for a second term as chairman. Brizzee is an attorney, one who specializes in land use issues, and is employed with the San Bernardino County office of county counsel, in which capacity he advises the San Bernardino County Land Use Services Department. The move to perpetuate Brizzee as chairman, however, did not succeed when Brizzee did not support his own reappointment and no others beyond Allgower and Fellenz supported his reappointment, either.
Thereafter Commissioner Denise Work nominated Allgower to serve as chairman. Allgower prevailed in that vote 5-to-2, with commissioners Felenz and new commissioner Steven Shaw dissenting. After Fellenz made her second nomination of the night for Brizzee, this time for vice-chair, it passed 7-to-0.
The evening’s voting took place after Shaw was sworn in to replace former Commissioner Aron Wolf.
Councilman Bobby Duncan told the Sentinel that Allgower’s return to the position of planning commission chairman was independent from and unrelated to the recent reorganization of the city’s management, which included the revamping of the city’s planning division, entailing eliminating the position of director of community development and reallocating the position of associate planner to planning manager/city planner.
“Those were part of the reorganizations that go on from time to time,” Duncan said. “Two people from the city retired. The city lost those two individuals. They held pretty prominent positions. When a city manager loses that much experience, making some changes is understandable.”
Duncan said the city council had no influence over deciding who would serve as chairman of the planning commission, and that the decision on who would serve in that capacity was up that panel’s members.
“He he was appointed by his associates,” Duncan said of Allgower. “His colleagues on the planning commission appointed him back to the chair position. J.R. Allgower has been in the City of Yuciapa for 35 or 40 years and has been very active.  He is the president of the equestrian center, he is a member of the Lion’s Club and is involved in the local business community. He understands what is going on in Yuciapa. He is a good guy. He is an honest guy. He is just an all-around great guy altogether. That is why he was my choice for appointment to the planning commission.”
As to the suggestion that Yucaipa is on the cusp of a development frenzy and that Allgower’s ascendancy to the planning commission chairmanship is intended to advantage him and his business associates as a consequence of his orientation as a pro-development real estate agent who is himself involved in promoting various projects and undertaking others, Duncan said all of that is unrelated to the outside issues pressing the city toward an accommodation of more housing.
“Gavin Newsom, our newly elected governor, has dictated that we develop more housing for obvious reasons and has threatened that if we don’t have more housing the state will take away our authority to zone our own property,” Duncan said. “If we don’t do what we are being asked to do by the state of California, they will take away our land use authority. This is nothing personal against Yuciapa; it is every local jurisdiction in the state. We have been mandated to do more residential zoning. J.R. Algower didn’t come up with that mandate. From here out what we have to do is figure out how we can legitimately zone our property or decide how we are going to work with local property owners to help if we can, or encourage local property owners if we can, and approve their projects in a way that will follow the mandates coming down from the State of California.”
-Mark Gutglueck

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