Shields steps down from Shaler Planning Commission
Longtime Shaler Township Planning Commission member Carol Shields has stepped down after decades of service to the township.
The township Board of Commissioners acknowledged her resignation earlier this month and approved Edward “Chips” Pearson to fill the vacant position through Jan. 1, 2017.
In a letter to the planning commission, Shields, who served for more than three decades on the voluntary board, wrote that it had been “a privilege and a pleasure” to serve.
Shields joined the planning commission in 1982 and served as the secretary for 15 years. She came to the board with a degree in accounting from La Roche College, a real estate license and an interest in promoting her hometown community.
“When I started in the ‘80s, we were just coming out of a recession and there wasn't too much going on,” Shields said. “But as I look back, they got busier and busier as the economy got better.”
Shields sat through meetings to consider subdivision proposals and housing plans over her decades on the board and constantly reviewed and revised ordinances, or township laws, as the technology and makeup of the municipality changed.
Recently, the planning commission worked on a yearlong project with representatives from Environmental Planning & Design (EPD), a Downtown-based firm, to review the township's code book of ordinances and revise and update the laws.
The planning commission approved the revisions for consideration by the board of commissioners, which is reviewing the proposed revisions.
“I'd been on (the planning commission) for 30 years, and I felt after the completion of the ordinances I felt I came full circle,” Shields said of her decision not to seek reappointment to the committee.
Thomas Montgomery, member emeritus of the planning commission, served with Shields for her entire tenure.
“She did a nice job for us ... and I want to wish her the best,” Montgomery said.
Pearson took his seat on the planning commission in place of Shields at the committee's first meeting of the year on Jan. 22.
Pearson has lived in Shaler for most of his life and is dedicated to volunteering in the community.
He served as a volunteer firefighter for Elfinwild Volunteer Fire Company and coached hockey and baseball while his three children played on various teams.
So, when Pearson heard about the opening on the planning commission he “decided to throw (his) hat into the ring.”
“The fact that I've been a member of this community for so long, I wanted to make sure it stayed on the right course,” he said.
Pearson lives in Shaler Township with his wife, Jennifer, food-service director at the Shaler Area School District. Together, they have three children, ages 15, 22 and 24.
Bethany Hofstetter is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-772-6364 or firstname.lastname@example.org.