Planning Commissioner Chad Warren Contributes Greatly to Menifee's Mission
In his college days at Colorado State, Chad Warren enjoyed life in Fort Collins, a city of about 1...
Or, to put it another way, "It's where Menifee ultimately will be."
Warren's vision of Menifee as a growing city that retains its rural charm, plus his ability to express those feelings in a public forum, have played a large part in his success during his first six months on the planning commission. Appointed by city council member Sue Kristjansson in January, Warren has fit in well with his colleagues and appears to have had a positive impact on the commission.
"I think he's done a fantastic job," said Kristjansson, who says she is pleased with the planning commission's teamwork ethic in facing the challenges of a growing community.
Given the responsibility of evaluating plans for development, planning commission members say they acknowledge the desire of many residents to maintain a rural feel to the city, while at the same time promoting opportunities for growth. Warren, 39, is considered a good fit for this group because of his ability to work effectively with others and his professional background.
A geologist and mining manager for a construction materials producer, Warren has considerable experience with permits needed for mining and reclamation projects. He understands the application process from the business owner's viewpoint while recognizing the importance of preserving the environment.
"I'm an engineering geologist," Warren said. "I work in a very regulated industry. We study air and water quality and reclaiming the land. I feel that background helps me in this position.
"Several other cities have captured the rural feel of the area but still allow development to go forward. That's what we're trying to do here."
Chris Thomas, another planning commissioner, said he believes the current commission is a good mix of personalities and occupational backgrounds.
"Chad is a geologist, which makes him familiar with some aspects of planning that the rest of us aren't," Thomas said. "We each have different technical basckgrounds. Bill (commission chair Bill Zimmerman) has a planning background. I'm a CPA and have financial background with municipal projects. We work together well.
"I've had nothing but good experiences with Chad. He technically researches everything and bases sound decisions on that."
Zimmerman praises Warren for his contributions in helping the planning commission move forward and facilitate responsible growth.
"Commissioner Warren brings a professional perspective to the discussion, often noting concepts we had not yet considered," Zimmerman said. "Chad has impressed me, and I truly believe he will play a leadership role in Menifee's future."
Warren lives in Menifee with his wife Ali and three children: Emma, 10; Lily, 7; and Ryan, 6. He said he feels very comfortable in his role on the commission, even though he admits proceeding somewhat carefully in the beginning while adjusting to the position.
"I didn't want to come in there like a tornado," he said. "It's tough trying to replace someone who's been there a long time and who was thought of highly by many people. It took me a couple meetings to get comfortable with the pace and tempo of things.
"A lot of projects were already in the works or coming to a close when this commission got together. I'm glad to see the Santa Rosa Academy project go through; it seemed to be a hot button topic. BJ's was on the books for a while and now that's happening.
"We inherited a lot of things from the county that was already in the works (before cityhood in 2008). The County General Plan had our city pretty much laid out. Some areas may appear to be open space but are not. They simply haven't been built on because of the economy. I'd like to help educate the public about which areas can be developed."
Commissioner Matt Liesemeyer has nothing but praise for Warren and the experience and communication skills he brings to the group.
"He's definitely been a breath of fresh air," Liesemeyer said. "It's nice to have somebody who understands the process and what the general public has to go through to get a project approved. He brings good questions to the table and has absolutely helped us work together better."