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Minneapolis planning commission president resigns

  • Article by: ERIC ROPER
  • Star Tribune
  • January 18, 2013 - 8:28 PM

The president of the city's planning commission, which reviews most major development projects in Minneapolis, is resigning.

David Motzenbecker, a landscape architect with BKV Group, told his colleagues on the commission this week that he is stepping down, just days before the city's ways and means committee is slated to discuss possible new ethics rules for the city's boards and commissions. Motzenbecker has served on the panel since 2005.

It's unclear if the resignation has any relation to the ethics review, which will be discussed Tuesday. Motzenbecker said in an interview Friday that he was resigning for "personal reasons" and refused to discuss the matter further.

The ethics review was prompted by allegations that planning commissioners, many of whom have full-time jobs in the development industry, were involved in too many projects coming before their own body. Recusals became so common that fellow commissioner Dan Cohen, a one-time City Council member, started recusing himself in protest.

Motzenbecker himself was the target of an ethics complaint last year for presenting a project to a neighborhood group and a planning commission committee, before recusing himself at the planning commission vote. The city's ethics board found no conflict-of-interest violation.

Motzenbecker recused himself nine times in 2012, according to the ethics review.

The city's ethics officer, Susan Trammell, concluded in her review that local officials should not be allowed to address a city board, commission, council committee or the council itself if they have a financial interest that requires disclosure.

Trammell also discovered that commissioners had been using an incorrect conflict-of-interest form that did not disclose the "nature" of the conflict. They have since begun using the correct form.

Eric Roper • 612-673-1732 • Twitter: @StribRoper

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