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Resignation requested of board official

The county’s newest Planning Board member was asked to resign last week after officials said he caused discord among the board.
Dan Tritt, a Denver resident, was sworn in two months ago.
“There was some contention on the Planning Board on the last night they met, and some board members told me that they were just going to have a difficult time working with Dan,” said commission Chairman Jerry Cochrane.
Cochrane asked for Tritt’s resignation last week, he said.
Tritt could not be reached for comment.
Tritt, who served on the planning board in Cornelius, had a by-the-book attitude and strong personality that didn’t sit well with some board members. He was a vocal part of the few meetings he served on the board, regularly questioning rezoning applicants, county staff and other Planning Board members.
“He was technically very competent, but his comments seemed to be divisive,” Cochrane said. “It seems like you can really be smart, but if you can’t build consensus and get people to agree, it doesn’t do much good.”
Board Chairman Dean Lutz said that while each member’s opinions are valued and encouraged, it was Tritt’s approach that upset the board.
“Each Planning Board member is free within reason to express their opinion, and each person’s opinion is weighed out and respected — even if it is a diverse opinion,” Lutz said. “Mr. Tritt felt that his opinion was maybe worth a little more than the other people’s on the board.
“Mr. Tritt came in and his very first meeting showed a definite lack of respect for protocol and/or others’ views.”
Planning Board member John Pagel said Tritt was inappropriate in the way he dealt with a team of people.
“Book knowledge carries you just so far,” Pagel said. “You have to get to know the people and respect the viewpoints. You have to be able to articulate your position.”
Some members also disagreed with Tritt’s desire to follow the county zoning ordinance to the letter instead of taking the other circumstances that sometimes surround requests into account.
“What we as the board try to do is try to help people, and try to accommodate people in their requests,” Harold Howard Jr. said, adding that if the ordinances were the only factor taken into consideration, there would be no need for a Planning Board
Lutz said the board’s function is to act as “relief valve” and make recommendations based on the regulations, research done by staff and resident input.
While the rules are made to be followed, members must still use their judgment in making decisions, said Pagel.
“You have to exercise some good judgment and how you apply them to a certain situation,” Pagel said. “Everything is not just black and white.”
Cochrane said that an important part of any board is its ability to reach consensus and work together.
“I hate that it didn’t work out, but Dan’s style didn’t fit in with that particular group,” Cochrane said, adding that the board could not have been effective if there was a constant feeling of dissension.A new member of the Planning Board will be appointed by county commissioners soon. by Alice Smith

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