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Planning post will get a new face, in a new role

Several changes within Port Orchard’s City Hall came to light this week with the approval of meeting re-organization and the resignation of a department head.

Planning Director JoAnne Long-Woods resigned on Friday, and by Monday she had vacated her position, with a substitute from the Planning Commission present during the City Council Meeting.

Mayor Lary Coppola declined to comment on Long-Woods departure other than saying she “worked for the city for a long time, and did a lot of good work for us. We wish her the best.”

Coppola intends to change the scope of the position and has appointed Kitsap County Planner James Weaver to take over the newly titled City Development Director post.

Coppola said previously the various departments did not work together efficiently.

“The biggest problem we had is the departments weren’t talking to each other,” he said. “Anybody filing a permit application was caught in the middle of this inefficiency. It just wasn’t fair to anybody. What we’re going to put in place will eliminate that situation.”

Weaver will oversee planning, engineering, building and zoning, “and coordinate very closely with public works so we can have a development process that is efficient,” Coppola said.

“(Weaver is) very focused on hitting the ground running,” Coppola said. “I’m thrilled that he wants to come, and I want him.”

Coppola said Weaver will start at the city Feb. 4.

Monday evening the City Council approved the new changes to the meeting nights and committee appointments, opting to maintain four committees and address all other issues in regular study sessions beginning Feb. 5.

The four committees will cover finance, parks and public properties, tourism and utilities. All other topics will be discussed at the study sessions, or an ad hoc committee will be implemented to cover a specific topic.

At the end of this month, the city will start meeting on Tuesday evenings. Coppola requested the change in part because the Kitsap County commissioners moved their meeting to Monday evenings.

John L. Scott realtor Fred Depee applauded the decision, noting that the commissioners have seen an increase in attendance since the move to evening meetings, but joked that the county should change evenings, since Port Orchard had Monday night meetings first.

Coppola noted that he was encouraging other changes in the council, including a re-organization of meeting agendas, pushing public comments to the beginning of the meeting.

A lot of council time is taken up by public hearings, and Monday it heard three, but with a hearing examiner on the horizon, Coppola hopes to shorten meeting lengths.

Councilman Fred Olin noted close to 10 p.m. Monday that his goal was to be out before 10 p.m.

Coppola said he wanted to be out by 8:30.

“I know what your goal is,” Olin joked, “Mine’s attainable.”

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