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Three new Planning commissioners appointed
Planning Commission pic1
New Turlock Planning Commission members Jim Reape and Constance Anderson are sworn into office at the Jan. 5 commission meeting. - photo by KRISTINA HACKER / The Journal

The Turlock Planning Commission recently welcomed three new faces, following the Turlock City Council’s action to appoint the new commissioners at their Jan. 10 and Jan. 24 meetings.

To fill the three open seats on the Planning Commission, the City Council voted to appoint Constance Anderson and Jim Reape on Jan. 10, and Kristin Bettencourt on Jan. 24.

Bettencourt, a textbook clerk at Turlock High School, is known for her community service and was named the Turlock Chamber of Commerce's Citizen of the Year in September 2016. She is a liaison and team captain for Relay for Life, an advisory board member for The Salvation Army, a member of the board of directors for The Arrowhead Club and the president of the Dancing with the Turlock Stars nonprofit organization. While Bettencourt is a familiar face around the Turlock community, this will be her first time fulfilling a position in local government.

“I had always gone around saying that I didn’t want to be involved in politics,” said Bettencourt, who considered the position for six weeks before applying. “But, I thought it could be a different way to serve the community.”

Bettencourt doesn’t plan on slowing down with her fundraising efforts for the various organizations she is involved with, despite the new position on the Planning Commission. During her time as commissioner, she hopes to help Turlock become home to a new health foods store as well as work to bring activities that children can enjoy to the center of the city.

“I’m hoping to learn a lot and be unbiased,” said Bettencourt. “It will be exciting to see new things happening in Turlock.”

Also new to the Planning Commission is Jim Reape, who has lived in Turlock for 25 years. Reape has worked in the healthcare industry for the duration of his years spent in Turlock as a family nurse practitioner and physician’s assistant at Family Medical Group. Along with his wife, who is a third-generation Turlocker, Reape has raised five children and enjoys running, wood working, skiing and playing with his grandchildren.

“This looked like a good way for me to give back to Turlock,” said Reape.

As commissioner, Reape hopes to help Turlock become a community that compliments those looking to live an active lifestyle. He was a member on the citizen’s committee involved with the City’s Active Transportation Plan, and hopes the experience can aid the decisions he makes while serving on the Planning Commission.

“I think that infrastructure and having safe pathways to get back and forth without using a car can make it easier for people to live a healthy lifestyle and be more active,” said Reape. “My hope is that as we’re looking at projects that come up in the future, we do what we can to make changes in a way that is good for active transportation as we go.”

New commissioner Constance Anderson is originally from the area, having graduated from Hilmar High School. She went on to attend the University of the Pacific, where after college she began an internship with the San Joaquin Council of Governments.

“That’s what originally sparked my interest in planning,” said Anderson, who has also spent time working with the Modesto Chamber of Commerce. “I’ve always loved having that connection to the city and county, and the different aspects of planning for the future of our area.”

After working in the Bay Area for 10 years, Anderson moved back to Turlock in 2010 and currently serves as Stanislaus State’s Director for Events and Facility Rentals.

“I have a very different appreciation for the area now than I did when I left,” said Anderson. “When this opportunity to serve on the commission presented itself, I thought that it was something for me to take advantage of and give back.”

Anderson hopes to educate herself on current issues in Turlock during her first few months on the Planning Commission.

“Once I have more time served under my belt, that will probably help guide some of the direction that I lend to the commission,” she said. “Right now, I’m excited to get in and get started.”

The next Planning Commission meeting will be held at 6 p.m. Thursday in the Yosemite Room at City Hall.