Bham Planning Director - Rick Sepler Chosen

Permalink +

Wed, Oct 08, 2014, 6:24 pm  //  John Servais

Thur, Oct 9

The city has posted their press release on the hiring of Rick Sepler.  

Wed, Oct 8 - 6:25 pm

Mayor Kelli Linville has phoned and confirmed the article is correct and Rick Sepler is our new Bellingham planning director.  There will be a formal announcement on Thursday.  

Wed, Oct 8 - 5:30 pm

So we went through the day with the mayor's office first not taking my calls, then not returning them and finally refusing to confirm or deny that Rick Sepler has been hired.  All her admin assistant will say is they will announce on Thursday morning.  

Wed, Oct 8 - 9 am

Rick Sepler has been chosen as the new Planning and Community Development Director for Bellingham, according to a reliable source.  We await the mayor's formal announcement on this, expected either today or Thursday.  She made the decision on Monday but in a phone call to her office on Tuesday, I was told a decision had not yet been made.  Everyone at city hall already knows this morning. This post will probably encourage an announcement today.

In my opinion, she made the best choice in Rick Sepler.  As you can read below, he is presently the planning director for Port Townsend.  In his brief presentation of himself last Thursday he showed a belief in quality of residential living and a desire to adhere to the environmental and living values of Bellingham residents.  This bodes for better working with neighborhoods and less cozyness with the developers.  Lets hope.  

Note - I corrected the date of the meet and greet after posting this Oct 8 morning. 

Thursday, Oct 2 - below posted as original post - with title that selection "Was Near"

This afternoon, Bellingham city hall hosted a cozy Meet & Greet for selected “stakeholders” and the three finalists for the open position of Bellingham Planning and Community Development Director. Former director Jeff Thomas resigned in June and took the position in Sammamish down near Bellevue. 

The new director is expected to be named soon - possibly tomorrow - by Mayor Kelli Linville. The position does not need council approval.  Once appointed, the new director is expected to start immediately.  

There are three final candidates. First is Derek Long of Bellingham, well known for co-founding Sustainable Connections and his years of work with the organization. Second is Kurt Creager, currently a housing developer in Clark County.  He has worked as a planner for Yakima, as a member of King County development and planning, and as a lobbyist in Olympia. Third is Rick Sepler who is presently Director of Development Services for Port Townsend. He has experience as a planning consultant and is also an instructor for planning at the University of Washington. 

Kurt and Rick are professional planners, with multiple degrees and extensive experience, and my guess is we will see one of them appointed by the mayor.  The mayor will read the evaluations and comments by the approximately 40 people who attended. As I looked over the room it seemed more than half were city and county employees, with the rest from the local development and building community. Several local elected officials from the city and county were also present.  Even a couple rural fire department employees - but why is beyond me. A cozy meeting with virtually everyone knowing everyone else. Hardly a meeting involving concerned citizens. 

Legally speaking, the mayor can appoint anyone and is not required to have any public meet and greet.  While I was told the general public was invited, I have yet to learn how. But if a meet and greet is held for the public, it only makes sense that the public has to be invited in order for it all to work. Maybe I’m missing something.

We’ll attempt to learn who is appointed our new city planner tomorrow and post it up. I saw no other reporters at the meeting. I only wish I had more time to follow these processes and inform the public earlier on what is happening.

Gaythia Weis  //  Tue, Oct 07, 2014, 3:32 pm

Since this looks like “our” Kurt Creager,
+ Link

I assume this must be also?
+ Link


Mike Rostron  //  Tue, Oct 07, 2014, 4:08 pm

Bellingham’s planning director job title should be changed to “Development Facilitator,” “Developer Encourager,” or something which more accurately describes the position. Another accurate job description would be: “Neighborhood Scourge.” Judging by the links, Kurt seems perfect for the position. Maybe the city can buy him another Hummer using the extra property taxes collected from home owners to finance the development (destruction) of their neighborhoods.


Walter Haugen  //  Wed, Oct 08, 2014, 12:41 pm

In regards to Kurt Creager: I guess this is the kind of education you get at the JFK School of Gubbmint at Hah!vard. He should have gone to Portland State like me. (Like it says right on my diploma: Doctrina Urbi Serviat - let knowledge serve the city.)

Of course this would be good advice for a LOT of city officials and staff.


Hue Beattie  //  Thu, Oct 09, 2014, 5:43 pm

In forty years of city interest this Department has been split up and recombined many times. But improvement is another story. If they would just accept that what is good for the neighborhood is good for the city. We would have a less contentious time and a more liveable city.


Barbara Perry  //  Fri, Oct 10, 2014, 10:43 pm

Altho I don’t know enough about Rick Sepler to say much,  I do remember when he ran to become a Board Member for the Port Townsend Food Coop PTFC). [ I was often in PT taking care of my elderly mother.] I remember hearing that many people who worked for the city—his co-workers—and who were members of the PT Food Coop came out in mass to vote for him.  Hopefully that is a good sign.

Maybe we Bellingham citizens can help by passing the wonderful PT law that says the ends of roads may not be sold.  Citizens in PT did not like developers grabbing land the end of streets with great views and sometimes beach access.  Citizens could no longer appreciate these dead ends.

Does anyone like that horrible ‘whatever it will be’ cutting the views of anyone traveling thru Fairhaven? It uses property at the end of a street.

I sure wish a law like PT ‘s were created in Bellingham and/or Whatcom County.  It is probably too late for having much effect but I know there are a couple spots left at the ends of roads.

PT is a notoriously progressive community, but they, like Bellingham, are being populated by wealthy conservatives. However, they have passed some good laws like the one above and another that said no more than one corporate business would be allowed in the city and signs had to fit the neighboring business and not be too large.

I would love to know what Rick Sepler thinks about these laws.


Mike Rostron  //  Sat, Oct 11, 2014, 7:49 am

Ultimately we need to pass legislation in the city that gives veto rights to neighborhoods on any larger scale development or zoning changes. Protecting the rights of the people who already live here must take precedence over planning for people who may or may not move here. Hue is right, if neighborhoods are protected, the city as a whole will be more livable. Of course some areas are already effectively destroyed, as is our potable water source. They serve as examples of the effects of encouraging developer interests over resident’s quality of life. Perhaps that would be a good use of the GP site—as a cautionary example. Make it into a park of sorts—an example of what will happen if we let corporate and pro-growth interests control planning and development.


Bham Planning Director - Rick Sepler Chosen

Wed, Oct 08, 2014, 6:24 pm  //  John Servais

Three final candidates for Bellingham Planning Director spoke today at a cozy 'meet and greet' of government employees and developers.

6 comments; last on Oct 11, 2014

Samish Way Experience - Drug Dealing Dangers?

Wed, Sep 17, 2014, 10:26 am  //  John Servais

We post a disturbing report of a personal encounter along Samish Way, with the permission of John Stark, who experienced it.

2 comments; last on Sep 17, 2014

Village Books

In historic Fairhaven. Take Exit 250 from I-5.

The Rule of Law - Bellingham Style

Mon, Aug 11, 2014, 11:31 pm  //  John Servais

Bellingham City Council abruptly changes zoning codes to force Planning Department plan on Sunnyland residents.

7 comments; last on Aug 14, 2014

Final Updated Election Results

Fri, Aug 08, 2014, 10:10 am  //  John Servais

Updated Wed evening. The Tuesday evening 8:20 pm Auditor report on the election is in.

5 comments; last on Aug 08, 2014

City Council Approves Resident’s Sunnyland Plan

Tue, Jul 22, 2014, 7:22 pm  //  John Servais

Sunnlyland residents win one - after a seven year effort. Planning Department failed them and all of us.

2 comments; last on Jul 23, 2014

Herald and Weekly Withhold the News

Wed, Jun 11, 2014, 11:39 am  //  John Servais

Wyoming Senators and coal honchos were in Whatcom County June 10 - to hold a news conference with select reporters.

7 comments; last on Jun 20, 2014

Dawn Sturwold Retiring End of Month

Tue, Jun 10, 2014, 11:20 am  //  John Servais

Bellingham Hearing Examiner, Dawn Sturwold, retires in three weeks. Successor selection is hidden from all of us.

3 comments; last on Jun 11, 2014

Riley scoops Herald - again

Fri, May 09, 2014, 10:02 am  //  John Servais

The Political Junkie for Whatcom County - that would be Riley Sweeney - has Overstreet not running for reelection in the 42nd.

1 comments; last on May 13, 2014

SweenyPolitics:  Fleetwood files against Ericksen

Wed, Apr 30, 2014, 8:20 am  //  John Servais

Riley posted this morning that Seth Fleetwood has decided to challenge Doug Ericksen for state senate in the 42nd District.

1 comments; last on Apr 30, 2014

Fukushima Radiation Found In Canada

Fri, Mar 14, 2014, 10:47 am  //  John Servais

Fukushima radiation has been found 20 miles from Whatcom County farmland along the Fraser River in British Columbia.

1 comments; last on Mar 17, 2014

Whatcom Watch Editor Resigns

Sun, Mar 02, 2014, 3:22 pm  //  John Servais

The editor of the Whatcom Watch, Richard Jehn, has resigned effective today. Chalk up a victory for Craig Cole and Pacific International Terminals.

8 comments; last on Mar 05, 2014

Relevant Documents to Libel Threat

Tue, Feb 25, 2014, 9:29 pm  //  John Servais

The full text of Craig Cole's threatening letter of libel against the Whatcom Watch. And the emptiness of the threat.

16 comments; last on Mar 20, 2014

Craig Cole Threatens Libel Suit

Wed, Feb 19, 2014, 5:48 pm  //  John Servais

Craig Cole, the local contact for the proposed Cherry Point coal port has threatened the Whatcom Watch with a libel lawsuit.

6 comments; last on Mar 20, 2014

Reid Boiler Works Burns Down

Sun, Feb 09, 2014, 10:13 am  //  John Servais

The old empty Reid Boiler Works industrial building in Fairhaven burned to the ground Saturday night.

0 comments

The Marijuana Bowl

Sun, Jan 19, 2014, 9:39 pm  //  John Servais

Super Bowl ... Weed Bowl ... This bud's for you ... Bong Bowl ... Marijuana Bowl ... whatever. It is on!

1 comments; last on Jan 20, 2014

Gary Jensen Not Running for State Senate

Mon, Dec 16, 2013, 1:30 pm  //  John Servais

Ferndale Mayor Gary Jensen has decided not to file for the 42nd state Senate seat currently held by Doug Ericksen.

5 comments; last on Dec 24, 2013

Video Exposes City Council Dysfunction on Waterfront Plan

Thu, Dec 05, 2013, 12:58 pm  //  John Servais

The Political Junkie has posted a 3 minute video showing Bellingham City Council members explaining their idiocy for all of us to watch.

2 comments; last on Dec 06, 2013

Cascadia Weekly Blasts Waterfront Plan

Wed, Dec 04, 2013, 11:53 am  //  John Servais

Bellingham City Council and Port of Bellingham finalize the waterfront plan. In his weekly Gristle, Tim Johnson blasts the corrupt public process.

4 comments; last on Dec 05, 2013

Election Results - November 2013

Tue, Nov 05, 2013, 9:21 pm  //  John Servais

With lots of outside county money flowing in to our local races, this election is weird. But real - and we county residents have spoken.

11 comments; last on Nov 09, 2013

Boulevard Park Reopens

Sat, Oct 26, 2013, 8:36 pm  //  John Servais

Beach reconstruction is done at Boulevard Park on the Bellingham waterfront. Paths along shore are again open - and it looks good.

6 comments; last on Nov 01, 2013

Ken Bell and Renata for Port

Sun, Oct 20, 2013, 8:07 pm  //  John Servais

Ken Bell has my vote over Mike McAuley for port commissioner. And Renata Kowalczyk has it over Dan Robbins.

8 comments; last on Oct 30, 2013

Government is Good

Sat, Sep 28, 2013, 3:20 pm  //  John Servais

As the right wing radicals seek to shut down our national government this week, we need to push back with common sense.

8 comments; last on Oct 01, 2013

Syrian War Perspectives: Jon Stewart

Wed, Sep 04, 2013, 9:37 am  //  John Servais

An attempt at linking to one or more writers who can help us make sense of going to war with Syria. An alternative to Kerry-Obama.

0 comments

We Citizens Get a Say on War

Wed, Sep 04, 2013, 1:36 am  //  John Servais

Contacting Rick Larsen and Susan Delbene is actually a viable citizen exercise just now. Tell them to vote NO on bombing Syria.

1 comments; last on Sep 04, 2013

Riley Covers Anti Syria War Demo

Sat, Aug 31, 2013, 3:10 pm  //  John Servais

Saturday afternoon - and a rally is taking place in downtown Bellingham against bombing Syria. Riley Sweeny and his Political Junkie site cover it.

0 comments

To Obama:  No.  Do Not Bomb Syria

Fri, Aug 30, 2013, 12:08 pm  //  John Servais

Gee, can we make it any clearer? Publisher opinion. So sad that we have to write this to Obama - who got our vote in 2008 because he…

4 comments; last on Aug 31, 2013

Privacy Story of Feds Stripping All

Wed, Aug 14, 2013, 12:24 pm  //  John Servais

The Feds gag an Email service owner - so he cannot even tell us why he is gagged.

2 comments; last on Aug 15, 2013

So Long Lawrence O’Donnell

Thu, Aug 08, 2013, 1:05 am  //  John Servais

Liberal talking head Lawrence O'Donnell went into a bullying rant against a well qualified guest - and showed he's just like O'Reilly.

2 comments; last on Aug 08, 2013

Advertising Rates & Specs

Wed, Jul 31, 2013, 12:59 am  //  John Servais

Ad rates are in the norm of Internet rates and reach a well educated local audience.

0 comments

Celebrations More Racist than Verdict

Sun, Jul 14, 2013, 11:25 am  //  John Servais

The explosion of hate and racist rhetoric is the saddest aspect of the verdict. The evidence was complicated and the verdict difficult to make.

2 comments; last on Jul 16, 2013

Zero Public Process for New Jail

Fri, Jul 12, 2013, 9:29 am  //  John Servais

Riley Sweeney has a short but important expose over at the Political Junkie today.

1 comments; last on Jul 12, 2013

The Irony of City Council Attitudes

Wed, Jul 03, 2013, 12:06 pm  //  John Servais

Public process ignored. Citizen commenting castigated. Paranoid city legal department. Our city council merrily goes through another session.

6 comments; last on Aug 06, 2013

Greenways Levy Money Used for AstroTurf

Sun, Jun 30, 2013, 11:28 am  //  John Servais

Bellingham City Council ready to approve $500,000 of trails money for resurfacing plastic grass on Civic Field.

15 comments; last on Jul 02, 2013

NWCitizen Stands With Edward Snowden

Mon, Jun 10, 2013, 1:53 pm  //  John Servais

Edward Snowden is a very courageous patriot, in the opinion of the publisher of NWCitizen.

3 comments; last on Jun 14, 2013

Intersection Art Comes to Happy Valley

Sun, Jun 09, 2013, 10:37 pm  //  John Servais

Intersection art - the painting of a design on the actual streets - is being developed in the Happy Valley neighborhood.

1 comments; last on Jun 15, 2013

Riley On An Astounding Practice by the Herald

Sat, Jun 08, 2013, 4:21 pm  //  John Servais

Over at the Political Junkie, Riley Sweeney has a report on one criteria the Herald uses to reject letters to the editor.

1 comments; last on Jun 10, 2013

Bellingham Passes Fireworks Ban

Mon, Jun 03, 2013, 10:05 pm  //  John Servais

City Council passes long-debated ban 4 to 3. It is effective in 2014.

0 comments

Caught In The Whatcom Court System

Fri, May 31, 2013, 5:43 pm  //  John Servais

Luba Pekisheva has been given a confusing run around in our Whatcom County courts for over three years. Judges, prosecutors and clerks have all participated.

0 comments

Who is filing for elective offices???

Fri, May 17, 2013, 5:44 pm  //  John Servais

Tuesday morning and nothing in today's Bellingham Herald. Nor online. We provide the basics to fill in this latest omission by our "daily" newspaper.

9 comments; last on May 23, 2013

Coal Trains and Unhealthy Air - Any Connection?

Sun, May 05, 2013, 3:45 pm  //  John Servais

Help fund a scientific study looking for links between diesel locomotives, coal trains and unhealthy air.

0 comments

Krugman Spells It Out In Plain English

Sun, Apr 28, 2013, 10:30 pm  //  John Servais

New York Times columnist, Paul Krugman, has a masterful short article that explains why austerity is not working.

3 comments; last on May 23, 2013

Cascadia Weekly Tribute to Paul de Armond

Wed, Apr 24, 2013, 11:58 am  //  John Servais

The Gristle in today's Cascadia Weekly is devoted to a tribute to Paul de Armond. Tim Johnson gets it right.

0 comments

Paul de Armond has passed away

Sun, Apr 21, 2013, 1:59 pm  //  John Servais

Well known political writer has died.

5 comments; last on Apr 23, 2013

No City Housing Hearing on March 20

Tue, Mar 19, 2013, 10:05 am  //  John Servais

The Bellingham Herald article today is wrong. There is no hearing tomorrow, March 20

0 comments

Valuable Article in the Whatcom Watch

Sun, Mar 17, 2013, 9:42 pm  //  John Servais

Wendy Harris writes about the proposed $8 million concrete bridge along the Bellingham waterfront - using Greenways funds to build.

3 comments; last on Mar 20, 2013

Senator Ericksen Displays His Colors

Fri, Feb 22, 2013, 4:01 pm  //  John Servais

Riley Sweeney has posted a great video clip of Sen. Doug Ericksen flouting rules and legal procedures at a Senate hearing in Olympia.

0 comments

City Controls Chuckanut Park - Not New Park District

Fri, Feb 22, 2013, 3:47 pm  //  John Servais

The election created a new park district with taxing power - but with NO control over Chuckanut Ridge - the 100 acre woods.

1 comments; last on Feb 23, 2013

Thoughts on the Park District Vote

Wed, Feb 13, 2013, 4:42 pm  //  John Servais

The Park District vote is close and we will not know final results until late ballots are counted.

6 comments; last on Feb 19, 2013

Time to Vote on Park District

Sat, Feb 09, 2013, 1:14 am  //  John Servais

The proponents have avoided the issues on the Park District as the close of voting nears this weekend.

2 comments; last on Feb 12, 2013

Check the Protect Bellingham Parks Website

Wed, Feb 06, 2013, 11:42 pm  //  John Servais

When is a vote No the most positive and common sense action? Check the park district opponents website to learn why.

15 comments; last on Feb 10, 2013

Ironies With the Park District

Tue, Feb 05, 2013, 1:59 pm  //  John Servais

This Park District proposal has several ironic twists and facets - some involving the advocates.

10 comments; last on Feb 07, 2013

A note from the publisher

Sat, Feb 02, 2013, 12:18 pm  //  John Servais

The Chuckanut Park District ballot issue has another 10 days to run. A few notes about NWCitizen and this issue.

11 comments; last on Feb 05, 2013

Why I am voting NO on the Park Disttict

Wed, Jan 30, 2013, 10:40 am  //  John Servais

The Park District is a panic action that over taxes a small group. A city wide solution is by far the better way to proceed.

13 comments; last on Feb 01, 2013

Feb 12 election:  Bham Southside Only

Thu, Jan 24, 2013, 5:09 pm  //  John Servais

Updated Sat, Jan 26. A primer on the special Parks District election - and where to find more info.

15 comments; last on Jan 31, 2013

Green Bay Packers and the Seattle Seahawks

Thu, Jan 10, 2013, 12:23 pm  //  John Servais

A digression from politics. Checking with Green Bay relatives turns up an unexpected hope by fans there.

0 comments

Correction of Error

Wed, Jan 02, 2013, 12:31 pm  //  John Servais

A needed correction and apology for an error in a story that has been pulled.

3 comments; last on Jan 03, 2013

Skiing, Avalanches, and Internet Media-

Fri, Dec 21, 2012, 2:18 pm  //  John Servais

The Tunnel Creek avalanche and three skiers' deaths last February was a confusing tragedy. Experts killed. How did it happen?

0 comments

Video of Mudslide Derailing Train Monday

Wed, Dec 19, 2012, 12:12 pm  //  John Servais

A dramatic video of yet another mudslide near Everett - and what will be coming down on coal trains. Amtrak service to Bellingham is shut down.

4 comments; last on Dec 20, 2012

Are you in foreclosure?

Wed, Dec 12, 2012, 12:04 pm  //  John Servais

If you or a friend are in foreclosure, or an attorney defending someone, then hopefully you already know about this. If not... here it is.

2 comments; last on Dec 19, 2012

Coal Ship Wrecks Vancouver Terminal

Sat, Dec 08, 2012, 2:43 pm  //  John Servais

A giant coal freighter went right through the long dock early Friday morning. Nothing in print edition of Herald

3 comments; last on Dec 11, 2012

 

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