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You too could be a county planner

The deadline for submitting applications for one of two open Island County Planning Commission seats had been extended to Jan 16.

Monday morning, Angie Homola’s first meeting as a member of the Island County Board of Commissioners, was pretty uneventful. But the commissioners did have a short conversation about the planning commission after Homola asked to change the application deadlines.

Last week, the commissioners ousted former Commissioner Mac McDowell’s pick for the planning department after Homola, who won McDowell’s seat, argued that she should appoint the commission member since the seat wasn’t vacant until Jan. 2. Commissioners John Dean and Helen Price Johnson agreed over McDowell’s objection.

As a result, there are two vacant seats on the planning commission that need to be filled.

Homola will pick a candidate from within District 2, which covers the Oak Harbor area. Price Johnson gets to pick a candidate for South and Central Whidbey’s District 1.

The commissioners are seeking applicants for the two positions.

Originally, the deadline was for submitting letters of interest and statement of qualification for the two positions was Jan. 9.

The deadline for applicants in District 1 remains Jan. 9, but interested folks in District 2 now have until Jan. 16.

Homola said she wanted the extra time to give more people a chance to apply and to give herself time to investigate the current commission.

“I want to know who’s sitting on the commission and what their backgrounds are so I can balance the seats,” she said.

After the meeting, Homola said the county doesn’t even have biographies of the current members, so she’s having trouble finding out who they are.

“My goal is to get a balanced panel that represents the community,” she said.

Homola pointed out that the planning commission has important business this year with the fish and wildlife update of the critical areas ordinance on the docket.

The commissioners appoint planning commission members for four-year terms. The planning commission consists of nine members, three from each county commissioner district, to assure county-wide representation. The commission makes recommendations on land-use issues to the county commissioners, who make the final decisions.

The Island County Planning Commission usually meets on the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month, beginning at 9 a.m. in the Courthouse Annex Hearing Room in Coupeville. Service on the planning commission is unpaid; however, members may obtain reimbursement for travel expenses to and from meetings.

The current planning commission members for District 1 are Ray Gabelein and Mike Joselyn. Val Hillers’ seat expired Jan. 2.

District 2 members are Alan Schell and Terry Reynolds. The open seat was vacated by Bill Massey.

District 3 members are Deb Eidsness, Scott Yonkman and Wayne Havens.

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