Thursday, December 9, 2021
Dec. 9, 2021

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Want to help plan a city? Vancouver panel seeks volunteers

Deadline to apply is Oct. 31

By , Columbian staff writer

Vancouver’s Planning Commission is seeking volunteers who are interested in community planning, urban design or housing policies to fill three seats on its seven-member board.

The commission is a major citizen oversight that provides reviews and recommendations on planning related to Vancouver’s development, said Rebecca Kennedy, the city’s community and economic development director.

“(The Planning Commission) plays a very important role,” she said. “They are tasked with looking at long-term growth in the city that will shape the community.”

Specifically, the commission prepares and revises Vancouver’s comprehensive plans and local land-use regulations, which are later presented to the city council. The group also reviews development proposals.

For example, it recommended the Heights District plan, a redevelopment that is set to transform Vancouver’s central residential and business area.

In order to qualify, applicants must be Vancouver residents or live immediately outside of city limits. They should also be active in business, neighborhood or community matters, as the commission wants to be representative of the diversity and various experiences within Vancouver, Kennedy said.

Commission members are required to commit about 15 hours a month and serve four-year terms. This includes attendance at monthly meetings on the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month, as well as other sub-committee or city council meetings. All appointments are held remotely because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Applicants must be available Dec. 8 to interview with city council members. Applications are due by 5 p.m. Oct. 31.

The open positions on the commission are held by Jim Atkins, Tim Schauer and Jack Harroun, whose terms are expiring. According to city council policy, incumbents must be re-interviewed along with other applicants if they want to reapply for their positions.

Those who are interested can submit their applications at More information can be found at