Coppola leaving planning commission

Deciding to give his full attention to being Port Orchard’s mayor, Lary Coppola announced Friday he plans to step down from the Kitsap County Planning Commission.

“The reality is, being mayor is a full-time job for me,” Coppola said, recalling that when he was first elected, “a lot of people questioned whether I’d be able to do both, but I thought it wouldn’t be that hard.”

However, Coppola admits now that those with concerns that he might be trying to do too much were right.

“It’s hard to juggle all the balls, and I didn’t realize how much time being a part-time mayor was going to take,” he said, explaining that now “being mayor will be my first and foremost responsibility.”

Coppola was first nominated to the Planning Commission in 2001, and was serving as chair when elected to the mayor’s office in 2007.

At the time, Central Kitsap Planning Commissioner Jim Sommerhauser said that holding both jobs would be a conflict of interest, but South Kitsap Commissioner Jan Angel, who nominated Coppola, said she saw no conflict.

“Between the two of us, we could not see a conflict,” Angel said. “He has said that he wants to finish his term and will let me know if a conflict arises.”

Coppola said he also did not see a conflict, and that this year there were “a number of unfinished projects that are near and dear to my heart which I would like to see through.”

Asked Monday if those projects had been completed, Coppola said by and large they had.

“There were some things that were pretty much wrapped up, so this is a good time (to step down),” he said.

He said the commission will be appointing Robert Baglio, the owner of Port Orchard construction firm BJC Group, as his replacement.

“He will be a good fit for the commission,” Coppola said.

The Planning Commission is comprised of nine members, three from each commissioner district. It has no statutory power, but makes advisory recommendations to the county commissioners.

Coppola’s term was set to expire at the end of this year.

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