Steve Warnke takes the reins of Routt County Planning Commission |

Steve Warnke takes the reins of Routt County Planning Commission

— Jay Gallagher, of Steamboat Springs, has stepped down from the Routt County Planning Commission after 12 years, and North Routt representative Steve Warnke has replaced him as chairman of the commission.

Warnke is a North Routt resident and a retired top executive of a large Midwestern concrete and aggregate business, Meyer Material Company, of McHenry, Ill. He joined the Planning Commission in 2012.

Also stepping down this month was South Routt's Brita Horn, who was appointed in October 2012 to fill the vacant position of Routt County treasurer in the midst of her term on the Planning Commission.

Gallagher recently was appointed to a seat on the Colorado Water Conservation Board, a new duty that has complicated his existing roles as manager of the Mount Werner Water District and Planning Commission chairman. However, he said he had made the decision to step down from Planning Commission before being named to the water board.

Gallagher said he thinks Warnke's personality is a good match for running Planning Commission meetings.

"We've been impressed with Steve," Gallagher said. "He's been thoughtful, he shoots straight from the shoulder and I think he's demonstrated a demeanor suitable for a chairperson to run a meeting and keep it in order and moving along."

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Warnke said moving to Colorado from Illinois had been a longtime dream, but in some ways, Routt County picked him.

"I spent 40 years in the Redi-Mix concrete, sand and gravel and hard rock mining industries," Warnke said Tuesday. "My wife and I met in Aspen 43 years ago, and our game plan was always that we wanted to retire in Colorado."

When two of their sons moved to Steamboat Springs, their search for a community in which to retire suddenly narrowed.

Warnke also serves on the board of the North Routt Fire Protection District.

"I feel it's an obligation," he said. "When you have the time, why not?"

The new additions to the Planning Commission include Steamboat Springs Realtor Jim McGee.

"What really sold the (Routt County Board of Commissioners) on him was that he demonstrated he is really familiar with Routt County," Planning Director Chad Phillips said.

And Oak Creek resident Bill Norris, who previously had served on the Planning Commission for a decade, has returned. Veteran member John Ayer remains on the commission. He asked not to be considered for the chairman's position, Phillips said, recommending instead that the panel incorporate some new blood. Current commission member Brian Arel, who works as a construction manager, was chosen as vice chairman.

To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205, email or follow him on Twitter @ThomasSRoss1

Planning Commission meeting

The Routt County Planning Commission is scheduled Thursday to consider a permit application to add a new recycling building to the Twin Enviro Services landfill site on Routt County Road 205 west of Milner. The new building, which may not be built for several years, would permit storage of a baler for recyclable materials at the landfill.

That same night, the commission is scheduled to consider renewing a permit for the existing Funk Gravel Pit on the south side of U.S. Highway 40 about 2.5 miles east of Hayden. The gravel pit has been in existence since the late 1950s.

If you go

What: Routt County Planning Commission meeting

When: 6 p.m. Thursday

Where: Routt County Courthouse, 522, Lincoln Ave.

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