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Lavalley Resigns From Planning Commission

Renegade Kootenai County Planning Commissioner George LaValley resigned Thursday, citing failing health.

LaValley, 76, spent last weekend in the hospital undergoing tests after suffering an apparent seizure at home. The 11-year commission veteran is battling leukemia.

“On the way to the hospital I asked myself ‘Is the stress getting to me?”’ LaValley said Thursday, during a meeting of the Kootenai Environmental Alliance. “I’m not sure, but sometimes you think it’s time to put friends and family first.”

LaValley said test results weren’t available yet, but he no longer wants to risk making the 40-mile drive from his Harrison home to Coeur d’Alene for meetings.

“I decided it’s time for me to go fish and sit on the sundeck and watch cloud pillows,” he said, chuckling.

The former Harrison mayor said he would continue battling county commissioners over their decision to allow machine shops above the aquifer. In April, LaValley sued the commissioners, seeking to have the February decision repealed.

“That’s my last hurrah,” he said. “I’ll be going out with a bang.”

County Planning Director Cheri Howell said LaValley, known for his blunt statements and moderate stance, would be missed.

“It will mean a loss of corporate memory and consistency for the board,” Howell said.

LaValley was instrumental in the two-year development of the county’s new comprehensive plan. Despite living further away than other board members, he was known for never missing a meeting, said former Planning Director Kathy Marcus.

County officials have not decided how they will replace LaValley. Howell said commissioners could either advertise the vacancy or choose from applications received when commissioner Mike Rasor died in December.

For his part, LaValley said he is eager to see who his replacement will be.

“We’ll just have to pass the ball and pray,” he said.

, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Color Photo

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