The new planning director is…

….longtime city planner Kathy Cook.

No surprise there. Cook has served the city’s planning department for over a decade and has lately filled in as interim planning director after Greg Byrne resigned in April.

City taps longtime planner to lead department
By Tristan Baurick

The city didn’t have to look far to find its next planning director.

Longtime Bainbridge city planner Kathy Cook was named on Friday to the Planning and Community Development Department’s top post.

Mayor Darlene Kordonowy said Cook’s knowledge of city planning policies and practices was “unmatched” by 27 other applicants from across the country.

“She has an intimate understanding of the framework which guides the city in several key areas, including growth management, critical areas protection, and shoreline planning,” Kordonowy said, adding that Cook has earned the respect of staff and residents over the course of her 13 years with the city.

Cook has recently filled in as interim planning director after the departure in April of Greg Byrne, who served as director for 16 months.

“Promoting a qualified internal candidate gives us a chance to preserve continuity, enrich our in-house knowledge base, and make a statement about the way we value our staff,” said City Administrator Mark Dombroski.

Cook joined the city in 1995 on a temporary planning department assignment specializing in public outreach. She was named a long-range planner in 1998 and senior planner in 2005.

Last year, she replaced Sandy Fishcer as manager of the Winlsow Tomorrow planning initiative.

Cook has lead several planning processes, including the update of the city’s Comprehensive Plan and development of affordable housing ordinances.

“Over the years, Kathy has been involved in almost every one of the departments’ service areas,” Kordonowy said.

Prior to coming to Bainbridge, Cook spent 10 years as a regional and transportation planning research analyst at the University of California.

The City Council is expected to confirm Cook’s appointment on Wednesday.