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Bainbridge hires new shoreline planner

The city officially announced that it has found a shoreline planner to lead Bainbridge through the Shoreline Master Plan update process.

The city selected Ryan Ericson, an employee of the city for the last two and a half years. Ericson previously worked as an engineering technician in the Water Resources Program.

"He knows the island really well and has a great technical background, and he understands our community," said Long Range Planning Director Libby Hudson.

Ericson brings with him a background in marine science, natural resources and education in environmental policy.

He is working on his masters degree in environmental policy and management from the University of Denver, which is expected to be completed in August of this year, according to a city press release.

Before coming to the island, Ericson worked in environmental consulting, conducting data analysis and managing water surveys.

He also worked as an intern for the city several years ago, helping the shoreline planner in research and information gathering in preparation for the program update.

Ericson will begin on April 1 as the replacement to Peter Namtvedt Best, who left the city last year.

After Best resigned, the city immediately searched for a replacement, but the economic downturn made it tough. Hudson said the city made offers to a couple candidates, but they backed out.

"People were concerned about making a move during this economic climate," she said.

In the meantime, the City Council put the microscope on the city budget and spoke of potentially leaving the position vacant.

Hudson said Ericson didn't submit an application during the first search in the fall.

Ericson's move to planning from the Public Works Department will bolster a staff decimated by layoffs in 2009, Hudson said.

"We were really down staff resources, so some things had to drop off," she said.

But during its budget process the council showed its commitment toward the shoreline update and made it a high priority.

The Shoreline Master Program is a combination of planning strategies and regulations that guide shoreline development as required under the State Shoreline Management Act. State law requires that the city review and update the island’s Shoreline Master Program by December 2011.

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