Bainbridge Island hires growth planning expert

The city of Bainbridge Island has hired an expert in growth management to help the city update its comprehensive plan, the expansive policy document that guides growth and development on the island.

The consultant, Joseph Tovar, is a familiar one. Tovar recently gave an overview of growth management planning at the city’s kick-off event for the plan rewrite, called “Comprehensive Plan 101,” in late July.

City officials inked a consultant contract with Tovar earlier this month, and the agreement was signed Aug. 20.

Under the contract, Tovar will help the city create its public participation plan for the comp plan update, and will also help set out the scope and schedule for the work program that will guide the update.

He will be paid $175 an hour, up to a maximum of 90 hours, plus travel costs and other expenses not to exceed $250. The contract has a total maximum limit of $16,000.

Tovar has an extensive history in urban planning and growth management.

Tovar was the planning director for the city of Kirkland from 1981 to 1992, and also worked as planning director for Shoreline and Covington.

He was the president of the Washington City Planning Directors Association from 1988 to 1990, during the time the association pressed for legislation that ultimately became the Growth Management Act.

Tovar also served on the Central Puget Sound Growth Management Hearings Board — one of the hearings boards set up to resolve disputes prompted by the Growth Management Act — from 1992 to 2004.

He also drafted several successful amendments to the Growth Management Act, and is currently an associate adjunct professor at the University of Washington.

Tovar has a bachelor of science degree from the University of California and a master’s degree in urban planning from the University of Washington.

The city’s comp plan was last adopted in 2004, and much of the work on the update is expected to get underway in 2015. The update is required to be adopted by June 30, 2016.

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