Langley planning director announces resignation, will return to Oak Harbor

Larry Cort, Langley's planning chief, has resigned from his position and will step down in January.

Attendees at Wednesday's Planning Advisory Board meeting said Cort announced his resignation there, and reported he would be taking a job with the city of Oak Harbor.

Cort said he was leaving Langley with mixed emotions.

"There are a lot of terrific people here. And I have a great bunch of colleagues I've really enjoyed working with," Cort said.

A longtime resident of Whidbey, Cort grew up on the island and previously worked for the city of Oak Harbor from 2003 to 2006, and was a planner in Coupeville for nearly eight years, from 1996 to 2003.

Cort has taken a job as a project specialist and will be working in the city of Oak Harbor's public works department.

It's not the first time that Langley will lose the popular planner, however. Cort became city planner in Langley in December 2006, but resigned in September 2007 to take a position as a senior planner in Maple Valley. He returned to Langley in January 2008 as community planning director under Mayor Paul Samuelson.

During his time in Langley, Cort helped start the city's historic preservation program, guided efforts to revamp the city's comprehensive plan and rules guiding development near the city marina.

In the coming year, he was expected to lead the update of the city's Shoreline Master Program and manage the start of renovations to Second Street.

He was also expected to take a pay cut. Earlier this week, the city council approved a reduction in his salary, starting on March 1. Cort earned a salary of $77,067 in 2010.

Cort said his departure was not influenced by recent events in Langley, such as the controversy over the Langley Passage development, the work on new subdivision and development regulations, or the council's vote to reduce his pay.

Cort said he applied for the job in November.

"It probably does look funny to people about the timing, but from my perspective, I believe it's the right job at the right time," he said.

His resignation takes effect Jan. 14.

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