FOR THE PUBLIC: Paul Cogley, Nevada City | TheUnion.com
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FOR THE PUBLIC: Paul Cogley, Nevada City

My job title: City Planner of Nevada City

What I do in my job: As a consulting planner to the city, I work to carry out the zoning and land-use policies and provide support to the Planning Commission and City Council at public meetings.

Why my job is important to the public: Planning issues are considered very carefully in Nevada City because of the strong desire by the community to preserve historic and scenic resources. With that in mind, I help the public to understand the city’s planning processes, which often begin with listening to new applicants as they describe what they want to do with their Nevada City property.



The special skills and talents I bring to my job: My analytical talents are important, but my listening skills are indispensable.

The best part of my job is when: I ride my electric bicycle to project sites and get a chance to meet people where they live.




The part of my job that I like least is: When public meetings are sidetracked by intolerant remarks or personal attacks.

A day of work I’ll always remember was: Feb. 17, 1997, my first Planning Commission meeting as the new city planner. We held a public meeting on a metal fabricating business that was next to a single-family home. The issues were about noise, tax revenues, loss of home value, the need for skilled jobs, and the impact on nearby residents. Any illusions I had that small town planning might be easygoing disappeared that night!

How I got my job: I was shopping at Bonanza Market and saw City Manager Beryl Robinson standing in the doorway of City Hall. I asked about the ad for the job in The Union, and he encouraged me to put in my application.

How long I’ve been working here: Six years.

My dream job would be: to consult with Lower Manhattan Development Corp. on the rebuilding of the World Trade Center site. For those interested in planning, it’s proving to be a once-in-a-lifetime endeavor.

My family: Four children and stepchildren, two grandkids and a grandniece, four siblings, eight nephews and nieces, and all their spouses and partners. Also, recently a cousin I never knew about found me through the Web. Now I’m in contact with my father’s family, which he was separated from as a child.

My hobbies: (They) include playing guitar, collecting old Italian films on DVD, and swing dancing with Dianne Shaw.

When I was a kid, I …: was in love with Haley Mills and thought Jerry Lewis was the funniest man alive.

If money were no object, I would: buy a new rosewood guitar from Colfax guitar-maker Randy Allen.

My dream vacation: Italy.

If a movie were made of my life, I would be played by: Harrison Ford.

The people who have made the biggest difference in my life: I’ve been mentored by so many people, but the biggest difference was due to the love (and tolerance) of my parents and children.

My hero: Today I am remembering Gerald Anderson of Penn Valley, a very good friend and a Vietnam combat vet who became a living example of a different kind of courage before he died from Hepatitis-C in February 2001.

The best book I’ve read lately was (and tell us why)…: “The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay” by Michael Chabon. I enjoyed the intrigue and adventure in this story about pursuing the American Dream during the golden age of comic books.

The soundtrack to my life would include these songs: “In My Life” and the rest of the Beatles’ “Rubber Soul.”

I like living in Nevada County because …: There’s a blending between Mother Nature and the historic towns, and there are four seasons.

“For the public” appears each Wednesday. To suggest a person to be profiled, call The Union at 273-9561.


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