I was very surprised Tuesday when I listened in on a meeting of the Planning Commission to find so many personal opinions that were expressed by the members on this board. The applicant was asking to add an addition to their existing home to provide more room for their growing family. A common problem many families face and made even more difficult in this Bay Area housing market. Instead of hearing commissioners discuss if the architecture fits in with the house or if the owners are breaking some building code rules. I heard commissioner Mercer talk about how she had lived on the street 20 years ago and her personal opinion about the floor plan of the house she lived in. Commissioners who didn't seemed to be familiar with the neighborhood being discussed. Hearing one person ask where is this street? Seeing commissioner chair Parsons giving a nod and smile to one of the speakers who was his neighbor and was expressing her opposition to the project even though she doesn't live on the street. By the way she just happened to be former Mayor Adele Della Santina. Talk about obvious politics at work. The most appalling was when I heard commissioner Parsons telling the applicant "If your reason really is to provide a place for an elderly person with my experience you would put a room on the first floor of the house". When the applicant told him that they had thought about it and found that adding a bedroom downstairs doesn't make sense because they would have to walk through this bedroom to access the backyard. His reply was very dismissive. Telling them if they put in the effort in it can be done. Is this how the commissioners suppose to treat applicants? I find it ironic that out of the 5 members of the commission the only member who showed that he understood the project and didn't see the neighbors objections as being valid was Commissioner vice-chair Herbach. Commissioner Herbach was the only one who took the time to visit the property and see what the situation was. He even talked about how he peeked over the fence when he visited the site to get a better understanding. If Belmont is going to continue to require residents to go to this Commission for their building projects should the members on this board be more objective and not let personal opinion or relationship be so readily expressed?