Politics Blog

Chairwoman Luke to step down from Whatcom Planning Commission

Just got word from Michelle Luke, chairwoman of the Whatcom Planning Commission, that she is saying her good-byes and thank-yous to fellow commissioners, staff and the public at tonight's meeting.

Luke's term ends on Feb. 1, and she is not seeking a new term. Two other incumbents whose terms are expiring, Jeff Rainey and Rod Erickson, have applied to remain on the nine-member commission.

The commission makes recommendations to the County Council on land-use changes. It has been in the news for its activist, pro-property rights stance in legal challenges against the county's rural development rules. The commission overall is seen as solidly conservative.

Luke ran twice and lost both times against incumbent Carl Weimer for his seat on the County Council. In her 2013 campaign, Luke said she would represent the interests of rural residents, who too often get overlooked by government. She also emphasized the value of Cherry Point as a generator of family-wage jobs. Luke was one of four conservative candidates defeated in council elections that were seen as a referendum on a proposed Cherry Point coal terminal.

Luke was appointed to the Planning Commission in 2010.

The following is from a statement Luke said she prepared for tonight's meeting, scheduled for 6:30 p.m. at the Northwest Annex Conference Room, 5280 Northwest Drive, Bellingham:

"As a member of this citizens advisory board, I always looked at why a proposal for change was being proposed and how it was going to impact the citizens it was directed to. I saw this vetting process as the sole function of this board. I'm proud to have served with commissioners with a similar goal and proud of the work we recommended to council."