MacDonald becomes newest city planning commissioner
August 27, 2008 · Updated 4:46 PM
ARLINGTON Less than two years after moving from California, Aaron MacDonald has made Arlington so much his home that he stepped up to serve as a planning commissioner for the city in May.
MacDonald, an architect with Minaker Architecture, joined the planning commission because of both his professional experience and his aspirations for his new hometown.
MacDonald grew up in the Bay Area, but he has relatives in the Pacific Northwest, and he brought his wife and three children up from California to find a place where he and his family could settle down for the foreseeable future.
""It just clicked,"" MacDonald said. ""It was the right time, I'm working well with Greg [Minaker], and my wife Diane and I wanted a small town where you could walk downtown.""
MacDonald had prior experience with planning commissions, albeit from ""sitting on the other side of the table"" as an architect, and since he moved into Arlington with hopes of living here ""indefinitely,"" he felt obligated to take an active role in the community.
""I didn't just want to sit on the sidelines complaining,"" MacDonald said. ""I'm putting my money where my mouth is, so to speak.""
MacDonald and his fellow planning commissioners review design, zoning and codes on a number of areas and projects. He identified the contested area of Island Crossing and Smokey Point Boulevard as two current priorities.
""We don't want development to be planned haphazardly, to turn our neighborhoods into a series of strip malls,"" MacDonald said. ""It really ties back to my reasons for living here. Arlington is not part of the Seattle/Everett metropolitan blob, and I want to do my part to help it grow in a good direction, while maintaining its small town quality.""
The city of Arlington is looking for another new planning commissioner. MacDonald's advice to applicants is that they be willing to study and be invested in the local area.
""You will have to learn zoning codes and design review,"" MacDonald said. ""But if you care enough about the community, everything else becomes little details that you can figure out.""
If you live in the city limits and are interested in serving on the planning commission, applications are available at City Hall, or on the citys website at www.ci.arlington.wa.us.
For more information, contact David Kuhl, the citys community development director, at 360-403-3445.