Breckenridge appoints three new planning commissioners |

Breckenridge appoints three new planning commissioners

summit daily news

The Breckenridge Town Council appointed three new planning commissioners and reappointed incumbent planning commissioner Rodney Allen Tuesday. The three newcomers will join the seven-member planning commission for a four-year term, helping enforce the develop code, review variances and make recommendations to the council on various proposed plans for Breckenridge.

Kate Christopher might be the youngest new member of the Breckenridge Planning Commission, but she says she’s ready for the job.

Christopher, 25, moved to Breckenridge in December of 2008 and fell in love with the area. Now, she said, she wants to take on a position that will allow her to give back to the community.

“I am young,” Christopher said. “And I’ve only been here two years. But my concern is that I care about my community and I want to help out in whatever way I can.”

Christopher joins the planning commission with graduate experience in planning and the eye of a designer. She has a bachelor of fine arts degree in interior design from Fort Hays State University in Kansas. She continued her education at the University of Kansas in urban planning before moving to Summit County.

A self-proclaimed “outdoorsy” person, Christopher said the natural beauty of Breckenridge is part of what drew her to the area and is something she wants to see preserved.

“We’re a cute little mining town, I don’t want to see skyscrapers,” Christopher said. “As we grow and develop we really need to be careful to preserve both the environment and our historical character. I think those are two things that people associate with Breckenridge, two good things.”

Gretchen Dudney and her husband moved to Breckenridge in September because they loved the character of the town. It is that character Dudney plans to protect as planning commissioner by enforcing the town’s development code.

“The way Breckenridge is set up, it’s not up to the whim and the vagary of each commission member, just based on what they may like or dislike,” Dudney said. “It’s whether the applicant has complied with the development code, and that is a wonderful way to proceed. Where I have come from it’s been much more subjective. Breckenridge seems to be way ahead of the game.”

Dudney, 58, worked in real estate development for 30 years before her move to Colorado and now is a self-employed consultant in the field. She graduated from Southern Methodist University in Texas with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and later from the Harvard Graduate School of Business with a master’s in business administration.

She said she joins the planning commission with no preconceptions or assumptions about the future development of Breckenridge.

“I’m a newby and I’m a learner here,” Dudney said.

She said she wanted to be on the planning commission to put down roots and become part of the community.

As a resident of Key West, Fla., Frank “Trip” Butler watched a spike in development permanently change the look and feel of the town for the worse. It is something he doesn’t want to see happen in Breckenridge.

“I will be mindful of that as a planning commissioner,” Butler said. “To monitor the rate at which we grow.”

Butler, 50, and his wife moved to Breckenridge in 1999 and have owned two small businesses in Breckenridge since then. Butler holds a bachelor’s of science in architecture and served as a combat engineer officer in the U.S. Marine Corps for 11 years. In Florida he worked as a project manager for a general contractor. In Summit County, Butler has been active in the community, serving on two boards and coaching his son’s soccer team.

Butler said as planning commissioner he will ensure new development in Breckenridge adheres to the development code and be an advocate for individuals and the town.

“My goal (as a planning commissioner) is to be knowledgeable and prepared and known as an active participant and an active listener as well,” Butler said.

SDN reporter Caddie Nath can be contacted at (970) 668-4628 or at

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