Azpiazu Appointed to Planning Commission
By Rick Hiduk
Call it luck. Call it fate. Raul Azpiazu of Wyalusing regards it a combination of both that he was searching for a way to put his perspective on the Marcellus shale boom as a realtor to work for the community at the same time that the Bradford County Planning Commission was looking to fill a vacancy on its nine-member panel.
On Nov. 3, the Bradford County Commissioners approved the appointment of Azpiazu to the planning commission to fulfill the unexpired term of Lincoln Welles. Azpiazu will begin his association with the group at the next regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 15.
Azpiazu is president of the Bradford/Sullivan Association of Realtors and serves as an agent for Century 21 Real Estate, which is based in Wysox. He is vice president of the Pennsylvania Association of Realtors (PAR) District 5, which encompasses 11 Pennsylvania counties from the Northern Tier to the Maryland state line. Azpiazu is one of 12 Pennsylvania realtors who comprise the Marcellus Shale President’s Advisory Group.
The common thread to each of these positions is the responsibility to both convey the impact that the Marcellus shale gas drilling boom has had on the area and to calculate how the growing industry will continue to affect businesses, infrastructure, and the community.
According to Azpiazu, PAR encourages its associates to become involved with their respective communities, so he logged on to www.bradfordcountypa.org and scanned the list of county offices to ascertain where he might fit in. The planning commission had recently announced the vacancy, so Azpiazu applied for the position. The planning commission approved his application, and county chief clerk Michelle Shedden informed him a few weeks ago that he had been selected to fill the post. He was unable to attend the public commissioners’ meeting because he was preparing to travel to Anaheim, CA, for the annual National Association of Realtors Convention.
Although Azpiazu was selected as an individual to join the planning commission, he relates his excitement about the position to an opportunity to share the collaborative perspectives of him and his fellow realtors as they pertain to county planning.
“I wanted to see how we can help the planning commission,” stated Azpiazu, who feels that the panel comprised of Warren Knapp, Steve Westbrook, Glenn Aikens, Mary Neiley, Donald Murray, Robert Kendall, Andrew Bishop, and Scott Williams, is a wealth of information and experience. “I just hope to add to that anything from the real estate side that I could help them with. We are all serving the public.”
Azpiazu asserted that he comes to the position with no preconceived agenda. In fact, he admits that he does not know what to expect in terms of his involvement. He looks forward to listening, learning, and offering suggestions based on his knowledge as a realtor. As a member of the planning commission, Azpiazu remarked, “Your job is to do what’s best for the county.”
Azpiazu is a 1971 graduate of Wyalusing Valley High School and has lived in the area since 1964. He and Kim Latimer Azpiazu, who works as a nurse at the Geisinger Clinic in Tunkhannock, have been married for 30 years. Their daughter, Maegan, and son, Aaron, live in Miami and New York City, respectively. Their son, Adam, is a member of the U.S. Navy and is currently stationed at Oceana Naval Base in Virginia Beach.