With the recent departure of Planning Commission member Cerise Noah, the mayor has an opportunity to give a facelift to a 7-member commission that has been dominated for many years by those who are working, or who have worked, in development-related fields such as real estate, construction, architecture and development consulting. Almost two years ago, I wrote about this situation in the column, “Planning or Development Commission?”. This is the first opportunity for the mayor to make an appointment since the time of that article, an appointment that ought to come from the ranks of the neighborhoods. There will be another opportunity in April 2016 to do the same when the term of another commission member expires.
It is good management to have broad representation on city commissions, especially this commission that sits astride the codified planning process on important matters such as rezones and comprehensive plan modifications. Multiple perspectives can only enhance the effectiveness of this planning body and increase public confidence in its decisions.
I urge members of the community, especialy those with experience in neighborhood associations and community organizing, to apply for this vacancy.
Note: For further information on this vacancy and how to apply, visit the City of Bellingham website here.