The Langley Ethics Training and Advisory Board found no evidence of a conflict of interest when a Langley Planning Advisory Board member participation in a vote to rezone property he owns from residential to commercial.
JR Fulton, a member of the Planning Advisory Board, owns a parcel of land located on Second Street and DeBruyn Avenue. The advisory request submitted by Mayor Tim Callison asked if ethic misconduct occurred when he participated in discussions and decisions regarding the rezoning of the parcel he owns. The board wrote in a Nov. 14 opinion that the planning board’s proposal to rezone the land preceded both Fulton’s purchase of the property and his tenure on the committee.
It also found a “degree of ambiguity” concerning his participation and/or recusal from zoning discussions regarding his property “he owned or was considering purchasing” after his appointment to the board. The board’s opinion says Fulton recused himself from a discussion at a Sept. 6 meeting about the property, which the board felt was in “good faith” and supports their conclusion of good ethical conduct.
But, “the record is unclear” regarding his participation, discussion and vote at an Oct. 4 meeting surrounding a proposed zoning amendment to a three-block area between First Street and Third Street and from DeBruyn Avenue to Park Avenue, which includes Fulton’s property.
Because of a lack of evidence regarding Fulton’s role at the meeting and because of his earlier recusal, the board “prefers to give Mr. Fulton the benefit of the doubt with regard to his potential ethical oversight.”
The board opined that the minutes of the Oct. 4 meeting were “not properly” documented and that it isn’t transparent to any citizen reading the minutes of the meeting. It also wrote that the minutes should reflect how potential conflicts of interests are handled, and that city officials and volunteer board members continue training in managing conflicts of interest.