Michael Drobesh, sworn in as one of Placerville’s newest planning commissioners on March 5, wants to encourage more public participation in local government.
“I’m a news junkie and I was frustrated at not being able to be involved and make changes at the state or federal level, but I can do something at the local level,” he said.
Drobesh moved to El Dorado County with his family when he was a sophomore in high school and is a 1987 El Dorado High School graduate.
“I moved away to attend college, but then I came right back,” said Drobesh. “I love small towns, not big cities and traffic. Placerville has doubled in size since I’ve been here, but our terrain keeps us from turning into Roseville or Folsom.”
In his mid-forties, Drobesh works in general construction, focusing on residential construction. According to Drobesh, his interest in research, along with his knowledge of building materials and methods will help in analyzing all aspects of proposed structures that come before the Planning Commission. He has made the committment to visit the sites coming before the Planning Commission in both daylight and at night.
“Issues show up at night that might not be a problem during the daytime,” he said.
For the past three years, Drobesh has become increasingly involved in city affairs — attending most City Council meetings and Planning Commission meetings as well as other city meetings, including those of the Historical Advisory Committee. He also worked with the Save Hangtown from Redevelopment and Eminent Domain Committee.
“Having attended many Planning Commission meetings over the last few years, I’ve become very familiar with the process, terminology and the guiding documents,” Drobesh said.
Often speaking as a resident at Planning Commission and Placerville City Council meetings during public comment to ask questions or proffer suggestions, Drobesh decided to apply for a Planning Commission seat.
“It seemed time to hang up my three minutes at the podium in exchange for a 20 percent vote,” he said. “Several involved citizens urged me to apply, including some members of the Planning Commission. That is a great honor, when people you respect believe that you could make a positive contribution to the team.”
He described the first few meetings as a commissioner as being enjoyable.
“There are a lot more documents than I expected,” said Drobesh, “and a lot of cross-referencing, but the city staff does the bulk of the work.”
“Listening to the different points of view is interesting and helpful,” said Drobesh. “New ideas or aspects that you had not thought of trigger creative thinking — hopefully to bring about a solution that is amicable to most parties.
Drobesh said the largest benefit to the community is the varied backgrounds that all five commissioners and city staff bring to the table.
“Through common sense and practical solutions we should, at the end of the day, be proud of what we have approved and handed off to future generations,” he said.
“We have a very eclectic historical district and that’s fun. We don’t want to wipe out the historical nature of Placerville, but we do need to use common sense.”