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Cort resigns during growth plan review

LANGLEY — Langley city planner Larry Cort has resigned after less than a year at city hall.

The surprise resignation comes as the extensive review of Langley’s growth plan is heading into the homestretch.

“I tendered my resignation from the city last Friday, effective

Oct. 15,” Cort said. “Nothing sinister or anything, just a decision by my wife and me to relocate to Seattle.

“She started a new job there at the beginning of the month,” he added.

Cort replaced Alice Schisel, who quit Oct. 31, 2006. He started work Dec. 11 and has been involved in many high-profile projects, including the finalization of plans for Fairgrounds Road, work on waterfront development and the rewrite of the city’s comprehensive plan for future growth.

He also helped get the historic preservation program in Langley under way and did much of the analysis for banning float planes and jet skis at the city marina.

Mayor Neil Colburn said losing Cort is a big loss.

“I accepted his resignation with great regret. He is an outstanding professional and he is an outstanding person,” Colburn said.

Colburn said he asked Cort if the workload resulting from the comp plan review and Langley’s building boom had factored into his decision to leave, but Cort insisted it was a personal decision after his wife found a great job on the mainland.

“You can’t blame him for putting family before his profession,” Colburn said.

The comp plan group is trying to hit an Oct. 19 deadline for state review of the first draft of the rewritten growth plan, the document that will guide growth and development in the city for the next two decades. Cort is the leading author of the document.

Colburn said he hopes Cort’s departure won’t affect the process too much.

“We can’t delay it very long. The deadline for submittal is the deadline for submittal,” Colburn said. “Hopefully, we’ll have it done when he leaves.”

After Cort’s departure the city won’t be completely without help in the planning department. Fred Evander, who was recently hired as Langley’s junior planner, will continue to work for the city.

For Cort, however, leaving will be tough. He spent most of his career on the island.

“I actually grew up here, in Central Whidbey, left after graduation and returned as planner for Coupeville in 1996,” he said.

Cort made $63,000 annually, according to the city budget.

Details on the process to replace Cort were not available earlier this week.

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