Carbajal Names New Planning Commissioner

First District Supervisor Salud Carbajal has chosen Jack Overall to become the next Montecito Planning commissioner, filling the empty seat left by Dick Thielscher’s unexpected resignation in December. Carbajal said today that Overall’s “extensive land use and community involvement” were “key factors” in helping him prevail over the other two candidates, Stephen Murdoch and J.W. Colin.

“In balancing the three individuals, I felt that Mr. Overall’s propensity for land use and his involvement in the community were really what set him apart,” Carbajal said.

The commission appointment confirms nearly two-month old reports by County insiders who had predicted that the vacant position would belong to Overall, a 16-year Montecito resident and longtime member of the Montecito Association Land Use Committee and Board of Directors.

Reached by phone today, Overall said he hoped to bring to the Montecito Planning Commission a “rational and reasonable voice,” crediting his predecessors for having a pulse on the interests of local residents.

“As a principle, I think any time you have more local control and influence, you are more apt to reflect the values of that community,” Overall said. “I’d like to see that applied to other aspects of the county.”

He said he also wanted to provide “a deliberative approach,” one that prevents him from “caving in to make snap decisions.”

Overall comes to the commission having been treasurer of the Montecito Association and the homeowners organization’s vice-president on two separate occasions. He also served on the Association’s Land Use Committee, having most recently led the Westmont College expansion study team.

Working through that project’s “complicated” and “very involved environmental impact process,” Overall said, was integral in preparing him to be a planning commissioner, referring to the experience as “baptism by fire.”

Overall’s appointment will be placed on the agenda for the County Board of Supervisors hearing on February 20.

For more on this story, please pick up the next issue of the Journal, which prints on Wednesday afternoon.