Landscape architect joins planning commission | SierraSun.com

Landscape architect joins planning commission

Christina Nelson

When Robie Wilson Litchfield, Truckee’s newest planning commissioner, lived in Park City, Utah she was amazed at the level of public participation at civic meetings.

“They had these town meetings there and everyone would show up. Even the lift operators would show up,” she said.

Litchfield, who has lived in the Truckee-North Lake Tahoe area for 33 years, said she’s seen the level of public participation in Truckee increase since incorporation 10 years ago, but hopes to see more with the upcoming general plan update.

“I think the interesting thing about being on the commission right now is the update of the general plan,” Litchfield said. “I think we’re going through a really important time now.”

Although she’s lived in a couple other places, like Sacramento, Litchfield said she’s always seemed to gravitate toward Truckee. Before starting her own landscape architecture business, she taught skiing at a local resort for 17 years.

As a landscape architect, Litchfield hopes to bring a different perspective to the planning commission, but noted that she really doesn’t have an agenda.

“I’m not a politician. I usually steer clear of discussions of politics,” she said.

But she does have concerns about the state of the Truckee River, and hopes to see plans to make the river more accessible to everyone, as well as promote a greater level of stewardship along the river.

“I still believe that the river needs to be taken care of,” she said. “It’s such a huge asset.”

Litchfield said she’s not pro-growth and she’s not anti-growth, she just recognizes that growth is going to happen and hopes it will happen in the right way.

“Why create something that we have to undo later?” she said.

“As a landscape architect I have a real informed understanding of a property owner’s right to develop his land,” she said, adding that she believes in responsible design that fits with the surrounding environment.

Litchfield was first interested in the planning commission when former councilman Don McCormack was looking for someone to appoint.

“The bug got in my ear at that point,” Litchfield said. “When Craig (Threshie) was running I blurted out that I wanted to be considered (for the planning commission).”

She said she’s already somewhat familiar with the development code, but knows there’s a lot of studying in her future.

“As a designer you learn a lot of problem solving skills,” she said.

Litchfield said people should feel free to call or e-mail here with their ideas and concerns at 587-9139 or robie@thegrid.net.