Who Is On “Your” Planning Board

Here they are.

Mark Torpey: Mr. Torpey is the planning board chair and was appointed by Mayor Yepsen.  His term expires on December 31, 2020.  He works for the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority.  He is the director of Clean Energy & Marketing for them.

From the few meetings that I have attended I have been impressed by Mr. Torpey’s fairness and thoughtfulness in both the substance of his remarks and the way he chairs the meetings.

Robert F. Bristol is the vice chair.  His term ends on December 31, 2019.  Mr. Bristol has a degree in landscape architecture and for many years managed a very successful firm here in Saratoga Springs.  I do not think terribly well of Mr. Bristol.  He reminds me of an ambitious, narcissistic, and pompous character out of a Jane Austen novel.  He was appointed by Mayor Johnson.  He is a reliable friend of the development community.

L. Clifford Van Wagner.  His term ends on December 31, 2018.  He was appointed by Mayor Johnson and previous to Mr. Torpey, chaired the Planning Board.  He is the pharmacy director at Wesley Nursing Home.  He was active in the Saratoga Springs Republican Party for many years including the period when his fellow Planning Board member, Tom Lewis, was chairman of the City Republican Party.  Van Wagner’s  family goes back three generations in the city.  He is connected with the good old boy network that ran this city for many years.   He unsuccessfully ran for mayor.  He is a reliable friend of the development community.

Tom L. Lewis.  Tom Lewis, was for many years, the chair of the Saratoga Springs Republican Party.  He was also the real estate manager for Stewarts.  He was appointed by Mayor Johnson and his term ends on December 31, 2016.  Stewarts… what can you say?  The empire of sprawl.  Think of him as a selfsatisfied minor villain out of a Sinclair Lewis novel.  You have to dig deep to find the comic in Mr. Lewis.

Howard Pinsley was appointed by Mayor Johnson and his term expires on December 31, 2017.  Mr. Pinsley was the CEO of Espey Industries and I believe is still on its board.  Espey industries is that industrial building just South of the Price Chopper strip mall on Route 50.  They do a lot of work for the military.  He is a reliable friend of the development community.

Dan Gaba.  Mr. Gaba was appointed by Mayor Johnson and his term expires on December 31, 2015.  He is a licensed real estate broker with Coldwell Banker.  What can you say?  Should a real estate broker be on a planning board?

Janet Casey.  Appointed by Mayor Yepsen with a term to end December 31, 2022.  Dr. Casey is a professor in the English Department at Skidmore.  She has an impressive vita in American literature.  She is quite new to the Planning Board.  Given her professional distance from the real estate industry there is reason to be optimistic about the role she will play.

One thought on “Who Is On “Your” Planning Board”

  1. I think that Cliff Wagner ran for the position of Commissioner of Finance, not mayor. He was opposed by Ken Klotz for that office. Ken won which was quite a fete for a Democrat in the mid 1990’s

    Also, you failed to mention that Tom Lewis is now serving as an aid to State Senator Marchione.

    I agree with you that Mayor Yepsen’s most recent appointment is a good move. We need fewer people on the land use boards who are affiliated with developers or political parties and more who come from the community at large.

    Like

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