Council approves move to hearing examiner system

Oak Harbor City Council approved a preliminary plat and planned residential development during its last quasi-judicial hearing on development issues.

The council unanimously passed measures that remove the council from making decisions about certain requests for development permits and expands the hearings examiner’s authority.

Oak Harbor City Councilman Rick Almberg and Councilwoman Tara Hizon were absent from the meeting.

Besides removing elected officials from the decision making, the change streamlines the process and puts the city in line with all the other municipalities that have gone to a hearing examiner system.

Councilman Bill Larsen said the change will benefit the city and developers and that the city should have made the change before now.

The city’s current hearing examiner, Michael Bobbink, said he is not looking to amend his contract based on the change, according to the city.

The council then held a closed record review of the planning commissioners’ recommendation to approve the Howard’s Point development permits.

The project is for a residential development of 19 homes on nearly four acres of forested land on the south side of Southwest Fort Nugent Avenue.

The planning commission conducted a public hearing on Nov. 26 and forwarded the recommendation to the council.

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