Whatcom planning commission’s applicant pool grows to nine

The competition for two available seats on the Whatcom County Planning Commission got a lot heavier, after the County Council extended the deadline for applications.

Council was scheduled to choose two commissioners from among three applicants on Jan. 13 but postponed its decision until Tuesday, Jan. 27. Council members also gave would-be candidates until Jan. 20 to apply.

After the new deadline had passed, the number of applications tripled, from three to nine.

Among the latest applicants are an architect, an engineer and former government planners. Any of the nine applicants would bring experience that directly relates to Planning Commission business. The commission reviews proposed land-use rule changes and rezones, and makes recommendations to the council.

“I’m glad to hear we got some more applications in,” said Carl Weimer, the council chairman.

Two terms on the Planning Commission are ending this month. Ken Bell was redrawn out of his district when boundaries changed and cannot seek reappointment. Dave Onkels, the commission chairman, submitted an application for a second term. Onkels, who is conservative, has said he doesn’t expect to be reappointed by the majority-progressive council.

Onkels’ application, along with those of state stormwater specialist Christina Maginnis and assistant bank manager Susan Templeton, were submitted in time for a Jan. 13 decision. Even with the larger applicant pool, Weimer said council should be able to make a decision at its next meeting, on Tuesday, Jan. 27.

“There’ll be six or seven days that council members have to contact those people if they have questions, and get them answered,” Weimer said on Tuesday, Jan. 20. “I think with that many candidates we certainly ought to be able to make a decision next Tuesday.”

The six applicants who have submitted to the council since its last meeting:


Matthew Burke

: A residential appraiser, Burke serves (with two other applicants) on the

Whatcom Watershed Advisory Board

and is an alternate on the county

Board of Equalization



Justin Clary

: A civil engineer, Clary is working with the county as a private consultant on its

solid waste



Kane Hall

: A manager at Daylight Properties in Bellingham, Hall has worked with

Futurewise Whatcom

and on the city of Bellingham’s

Community Solutions Workgroups



Michael Knapp

: The owner and CEO of City Planning Futures LLC in Bellingham, Knapp was hired by now-council member, then-county Executive Pete Kremen as planning director, 1996-99.


Nick Kunkel

: A former fish biologist who now works at a lumber mill, Kunkel

ran as a Libertarian

for the state House of Representatives in 2014.


Nicole Oliver

: A city of Bellingham employee who has worked in IT and communications, Oliver lists among her accomplishments the city’s

Fairhaven Urban Village


infill housing toolkit