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Candidates line up for empty planning commission seat

An empty seat on the county planning commission for south-central Whidbey has drawn plenty of interest.

The term for Planning Commissioner Ray Gabelein, who served as chairman of the advisory body in 2009, ended on Jan. 2.

Gabelein, a Langley resident and a member of the planning commission since 2003, has asked to be reappointed. He is the owner of Ray Gabelein Bulldozing & Backhoe Co. and is a beef and hay farmer on the South End.

The other candidates are John A. Lee of Langley, a former federal investigator for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission; Aaron Coates of Clinton, an owner of Outline Studio, a design and consulting firm that emphasizes sustainable environmental stewardship; Tom Fisher of Clinton, the owner of Tom Fisher Fine Woodworking and the former president of the Island County Smart Growth Coalition; Todd M. Bitts of Langley, a Realtor for Coldwell Banker/Tara Properties; and Dean Enell of Langley, the former chairman of the Freeland City Committee and a candidate last year for South Whidbey port commissioner. Enell was also recently appointed to a position on the county’s Conservation Futures Citizens Advisory Board.

County commissioners will also fill a vacancy on the planning commissioner for a seat representing Camano and North Whidbey. The applicants, all from Camano Island, include retired Snohomish County sheriff deputy Bob Monize; Kelly Emerson, a former Elcon Corp. employee and a longtime worker in the electrical industry; and William Lippens, an architect with Michael Canatsey Associates in Seattle.

The commissioners meet at 10 p.m. Monday, Jan. 11 in the Island County Annex Building, 1 NE Sixth St., Coupeville.

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