ARLINGTON David Kuhl comes to Arlington from a background thats both similar and dissimilar to that of his new home.
Before he became the city of Arlingtons community development director, Kuhl did the same job for Pinal County in Arizona, in the sun corridor between Phoenix and Tucson.
In terms of climate and certain laws, the dry heat and strong property rights of his former home state couldnt be more different from Washington state, but Kuhl noted that the Pinal and Northern Snohomish counties share some points in common, as well.
Historically, that area had been almost all agricultural, Kuhl said. It was cattle, cotton and copper. Its moved into developing planned communities of housing, acquiring anywhere between 640-2,000 acres at a time. It became mostly residential, with some commercial. I had to coordinate the transportation networks in the area, between the county and its cities, to make sure our plans were consistent with theirs.
Because Arizona lacks measures similar to Washingtons growth management act, such cooperation was essential in order for Kuhl to accommodate infrastructure needs.
Kuhl cited that spirit of teamwork as one of the traits that he will bring to his new job and community, the latter of which he hadnt even seen until his interview with city staff.
I grew up in Montana, Kuhl said. I have family in Washington, and I wanted to live closer to them, so my career gave me a chance to do that here. The first thing I realized was that people here are real. This is a high-quality community thats already started a good movement, so its not like community development is starting from scratch here.
Kuhl also praised the Arlington city staff for their pre-existing level of teamwork.
Its already ingrained in them, Kuhl said. Theyre extremely good. This community is very focused on trying to preserve the Stillaguamish Valley, while generating revenue for all the services that people want.
Kuhls philosophy is that retail follows rooftops, reasoning that if Arlington fosters neighborhoods where people want to live, then shops will spring up as a result. He admitted that balancing the interests of farmland preservation and resource protection with those of economic development can be complicated, but he promised to bring all parties concerned into the discussion.
Everyone will have a seat at the table, Kuhl said. Transfer of development rights is a priority for our mayor, so Ive spent a lot of time on that, as well as working with folks like Bill Blake on the comprehensive plan update. Weve already got good programs going on now, but we can refine them and make them better.
Kuhl pointed to the citys airport and industrial park as among its many resources, and shares the hope that a University of Washington campus might be established in this area, but in the meantime, he wanted to reassure area residents of his qualifications and concern for their community.
I came from a county that had one of the fastest growth rates in the nation, at 16.6 percent, and I turned their planning department around, Kuhl said. I want to get citizens input and help accomplish their goals for our home.
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