Bellingham planning director departs for new job


BELLINGHAM - Jeff Thomas, Bellingham's director of planning and community development, has resigned to accept a similar job with the city of Sammamish.

Thomas joined Bellingham's department in 2007 as assistant planning director. Then-Mayor Dan Pike named him to the director's job in 2011 after the departure of former director Tim Stewart.

Thomas oversaw several neighborhood and community planning efforts during his tenure. In recent months, he has been involved in the planning of major new retail development on West Bakerview Road, and in City Council efforts to develop a regulatory system for rental housing.

"Under Jeff's leadership, we have completed numerous plans that will ultimately make our city a better place, including the Fairhaven Neighborhood and Urban Village Plan, the York Neighborhood Plan, and many other plans and projects," Bellingham Mayor Kelli Linville said. "He also initiated the city's first application of 'lean' principles, sponsoring a staff team that has gone on to make key improvements to our permit process."

Thomas' last day at the city will be June 20, 2014.

Linville said she expects to name an interim director shortly and will begin the recruitment and selection process for a new director as soon as possible.

Reach John Stark at 360-715-2274 or . Read the Politics Blog at or get updates on Twitter at @bhampolitics.

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