Hunt joins Freeland committee

"Longtime South Whidbey resident Herb Hunt has been appointed to the Freeland Subarea Planning Committee.Hunt's application to fill the position recently vacated by Pete Friedman was unanimously approved by the Island County Board of Commissioners.It's surprising news to me, said Hunt, who has lived in Freeland since 1964. I was surprised by the previous appointments, and I'm surprised that they took this course of action, but I'm glad. He did not attend the board meeting.Hunt said his main goal as a new committee member is to raise the level of public involvement, and to make sure that the diverse needs of the community are always included.My concern has been that the public become more invited into the process in a real meaningful way, Hunt said.Your actions have to follow your words, he added. There have been several times when the actions (of the committee) haven't necessarily paralleled the 'invitingness' that this process needs to have for people to embrace it.Hunt is the owner of Herb Hunt design group. He serves on the Freeland Chamber of Commerce and recently was elected president of the Friends of Freeland, a non-political organization that he was instrumental in forming. Through his involvement with various local planning committees, he was also active in creating the drawings for the draft Non-Municipal Urban Growth Area boundaries in Freeland.Hunt said that, as residents of the Freeland area, members of the Subarea Planning Committee need to honor why we initially moved here. The key, he said, is to find a practical balance between growth and maintaining a good quality of life for everyone in the community. In the past, Hunt said, this has not always led to friendly negotiations.All sides need to learn how to compromise better to communicate, he said. If good planning takes place, people will understand what the future holds.Hunt said that, in the past, chaotic planning and growth have led to a situation in which we're not ending up with development that is always well-received.I think people are wanting to see planned growth, he added.Hunt applied for an earlier vacancy that was filled by Carmen Falso, who had not been active in the planning process. Commissioner Mike Shelton said he chose Falso because he lived within the Freeland planning area. While Hunt has a business in Freeland, he lives outside the planning boundaries.When the Friedman vacancy occurred, Shelton said he would like another person who lives in the planning area, but he later relented and chose Hunt, who was strongly supported by many people who have volunteered with the planning process.Tom Roehl, chair of the Freeland committee, said Tuesday that he had recommended to Shelton that Hunt be appointed to the panel.(Record editor Jim Larsen contributed to this story.) "

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