The Antioch City Council made a fairly bold statement at the March 25 council meeting when on 5-0 vote overturned a decision by the Planning Commission. At issue was an applicant's request to build Antioch's third Autozone store on half-acre lot that has sat idle for a long time along Lone Tree Way. This parcel had been a popular spot for council candidates and ballot measure committee to place their campaign signs on the cyclone fence.

Most speakers were in favor of the City Council overturning the planning commission decision and approving the plans for an Autozone store. After the public hearing was closed, the statements each member of the City Council sent a clear signal to the business world that Antioch is "open for business," followed by an affirmative vote in favor of Autozone.

Most speakers were in favor of the City Council overturning the planning commission decision and approving the plans for an Autozone store.

After the public hearing was closed, the statements by the majority of the City Council sent a clear signal to the business world that Antioch is "open for business," followed by an affirmative vote in favor of Autozone.

This is reminiscent of what the City Council did in 2001 when it severely curtailed residential development and place its emphasis on economic development. The result was Slatten Ranch shopping center, a second Lowe's store, the Venture Capital Commercial buildings, a completely new and expanded Costco, the remodeling and renaming of the mall to Somersville Towne Center with the addition of Macy's, and the list goes on.

Now the City Council needs your help!

Applications for one full term on the city's Economic Development Commission are being accepted through April 10. This commission will be used more to help the city work with its existing businesses and those looking to possibly locate in Antioch.

Applications are also being accepted for one full four-year term on the city's Planning Commission through April 24. The Planning Commission reviews all major plans for new development and major tenant improvements. With the new guidance from the city council, the planning commission and city staff should be looking for ways to help applicants through the planning process in an expeditious manner.

The applications for both these commissions are available at the City Clerk's counter at City Hall and online at the City website at www.ci.antioch.ca.us and be sure to include your resume.

Commissioners are required to complete and FPPC Form 700 "Statement of Economic Interest" upon assuming or leaving office; and annually by April 1.

Applicants should familiarize themselves with the City General Plan, Zoning Ordinance, Municipal Code and the city's Strategic Plan. All these documents are available on the city website.

This might also be a good time for the City Council or mayor to meet with the Planning and Economic Development commissions to provide clear guidance as to the policy the council has set to ensure that everyone has a clear understanding of the council's economic development policy.

On a personal note, most people know that I spent my youth in 4-H raising lambs, chickens, raising crops and in home economics. As a result, I spent a lot of time in Antioch for 4-H events and the county fair.

But I was awakened by my wife after midnight as one of our chickens was making a lot of cackling noises, which normally only happens after they lay an egg -- something that they don't do at night.

An opossum had made its way into my chicken coup through a small opening at the top and had killed my favorite chicken, who was really more of a pet. I managed to get the other chicken free and the opossum out of the coop (nasty creatures).

That small opening is now closed, but I really miss my favorite chicken (whom I called "Peeper" since I had it since it was a chick). It would follow me all around the yard and when I'd sit down on the patio, it would fly up and sit on my shoulder (it knew better than to leave any "droppings" on my back).

My remaining chicken is one I rescued from the Antioch Animal Shelter and it is evident that it also misses Peeper as much as I do. Easter won't be the same without Peeper's eggs.

Arne Simonsen is the Antioch City Clerk. He can be contacted at arne@arnesimonsen.com