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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Spokane Valley fills seats on planning commission, tax advisory panel

Spokane Valley officials have appointed community members to the city’s Planning Commission and Lodging Tax Advisory Committee.

During a council meeting Jan. 9, Mayor Rod Higgins appointed Michael Phillips and Danielle Kaschmitter to fill three-year terms beginning Jan. 1 and ending Dec. 31, 2020, which were confirmed by a majority vote from council members.

Phillips previously served on the planning commission through 2017, while the second commissioner seat was vacated by Heather Graham.

There was a total of six applicants for the planning commission.

Councilman Sam Wood said he served with Phillips on the planning commission, and he is an excellent choice given he has been involved with several projects as a project surveyor and plat designer with Simpson Engineers Inc.

Councilman Arne Woodard said there were a number of qualified applicants, but he was excited to see Kaschmitter picked for the planning commission.

“She comes from an engineering and planning background as well and subsequently has quite a history with that,” Woodard said. “So, I’m excited to see that she will be on the planning commission.”

Councilwoman Linda Thompson said while she agrees there are excellent candidates, she would like to advocate for new people to serve on the commission that bring a different perspective.

“We aren’t getting the citizen voice that may have something a little bit different,” she said. “And I know that Chris Jackson is a young person wanting to get into leadership in our community, and I wanted to advocate that we look for other options as well.”

Jackson, who lost to Higgins by 269 votes in last year’s City Council election, comes from a prominent family of Valley Democrats and was a former Democratic precinct committee officer. His grandmother, Sally Jackson, is a former party chairwoman and legislative candidate, while his father ran for county assessor in 2010.

Planning commissioners make recommendations to City Council on future growth and development in the Valley. Qualifications for commission members are interest in land use, planning, transportation, capital infrastructure and building and landscape design.

Higgins also appointed two individuals to the Lodging Tax Advisory Committee to fill two vacancies: One for a member involved in activities authorized to be funded by the tax and the other for an entity that collects the tax.

Colleen Heinselmann, who is the general manager at Hampton Inn and Suites, was reappointed for a term that expires Dec. 31, 2019. Gregory Repetti, who is on the board of directors for the HUB Sports Center, was appointed to represent an entity involved in activities funded by the tax.

Repetti replaces William Ames, also on the HUB’s board of directors, whose term expired last year.

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