Bellingham mayor hires new planning director

Mayor Kelli Linville has offered the open Planning and Community Development director job to Rick Sepler, currently director of community services for Port Townsend.

Sepler was chosen from four candidates after three days of interviews with department heads, senior staff, planning department employees and community members, the city staff announced Thursday, Oct. 9.

Since 2006 Sepler has worked with Port Townsend on development services, planning, parks and facilities, according to a Bellingham news release. Sepler also has served as a hearing examiner for the cities of Shelton, Ferndale, Hoquiam, Mount Vernon and McCleary.

He is an affiliate instructor at University of Washington’s Department of Urban Design.

Sepler told the city he wanted the job because he had reached a plateau at his current job and wanted a challenge.

“Bellingham is a very special place, and the residents and businesses deserve high-caliber planning,” Sepler said in Thursday’s announcement. “I feel I’m in the enviable position to dive right in, immerse myself in the community and help the community achieve its goals.”