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City Honors Retiring Planning Commissioner
Riverbank City Council honored Scott McRitchie for his exemplary contributions as a Planning Commissioner on Dec. 10 as he retired from the commission after more than a dozen years of devoted service.

He isn't certain of the length of years himself because he took a break of two years around 1993 when the Commission was still eight people, which he considered unwieldy. It now has only five members.

"His resignation leaves us with big shoes to fill as we enter another chapter in Riverbank's history," City Manager Rich Holmer wrote in his memo to council. "Scott has been a key member of the Commission who recognized the difficulties in maintaining small town values, yet introducing big town amenities such as Target, Galaxy 12 Theatre and Home Depot."

He also has served the community in many other roles such as a board member of the Housing Authority and will continue to be involved as the chairman of the Friends of Jacob Myers Park and coordinator of the local St. Vincent DePaul organization.

"Your vision for Riverbank has inspired your counterparts, City Council and staff to be innovative and creative in planning the model, 21st century city," reads the inscription on the elaborate plaque that was presented to McRitchie.

McRitchie commented it is time for a younger and faster guy to take over his job, especially at a time when the city's general plan revision is almost completed and construction has slowed and given the city a break in constant development.

"My best achievement," he said, "was in seeing the inner workings of the process of planning and being exposed to four different city planners. I met a lot of nice people, both the residents affected and the developers who are mostly good guys just doing their job. The city staff too has been great to work with."

While large projects such as Rivercove, O'Brien's Supermarket and Longs's Drug Store have been challenging, his real pleasure has been working with people to get these projects accomplished.

As for challenges in the future, McRitchie thinks the city will be more "green oriented." Builders will have to dispose of storm water on their property, for example, rather than just put it into the river.

"The city will make costly demands on developers and J. D. (Hightower, the community development director) will have to exert his wizardry and try to balance the city's needs and the developers wishes."

McRitchie said he has been impressed with the Commission's chairpeople such as Bess Tollefson and now Brian Elliott. "They are so calm and respectful of the people," he said. "They make the residents comfortable and aware they will not be yelled at."

McRitchie thinks he was never chosen chairman because he - according to his own definition - is "weird" and talks too fast.

"Once I was vice chairman and the chairman failed to show," he said. "So I conducted the meeting and finished it so quickly Glory Joiner (the secretary at that time) was still scribbling when I brought down the gavel."