Jason Welker announced as new Community Planning and Development director

By Zach Hagadone
Reader Staff

The city of Sandpoint will have a new Community Planning and Development director as early as Monday, April 8, after Mayor Jeremy Grimm announced March 27 that City Council President Jason Welker would step down from elective office to take on the new position.

“In that role you will bring tremendous community knowledge, passion and energy to that department,” Grimm said during the announcement, which came at the tail end of a three-hour special meeting during which the council considered — and ultimately tabled until June 30, 2025 — a decision to disengage from the Selkirk Fire joint powers agreement.

Jason Welker. Courtesy photo.

Welker served a two-and-a-half-year stint on the Sandpoint Planning and Zoning Commission, including as chair, followed by election to a four-year term on the City Council in 2021, which he has served as president since January. In addition, he is an active member of the nonprofit community, in particular the Pend Oreille Pedalers, which he has served as executive director. 

“I’m sorry to be leaving you, but I’m certain Jeremy’s got a great replacement in mind, and this will be my last council meeting,” Welker told fellow councilors.

Grimm summarized the broad range of critical city functions to be managed by Welker in his new job, including overseeing all current and long-range planning, all building and building officials, the Parks and Recreation Department, and all commissions and the staff members who run those commissions.

In the performance of those duties, Welker will engage with the Comprehensive Plan, zoning, parks and recreation planning, the city’s various master plans and “all the slog of ongoing development,” as Grimm put it.

“It’s going to be great to have somebody with this capacity at City Hall,” the mayor said.

Councilor Joel Aispuro, who nominated Welker for council president, thanked him for his service and, though sometimes two disagreed, “you will be missed,” he said.

Councilor Deb Ruehle said that she wished Welker would remain on the council, and while she is confident he’s “going to do great” in his new role, praised him for his attention to detail and analytical approach that “brings the discussion to a new level.”

“I will definitely miss his thoughts on the dais,” she said.

Grimm will announce Welker’s replacement at the next scheduled council meeting on Wednesday, April 17 — as the Wednesday, April 4 meeting has been canceled.

In addition to Welker’s hiring, Grimm said the city has brought on a new Parks and Recreation supervisor and a permit technician coordinator to assist with planning and development. More information will be provided on those positions in mid-April.

“We’re starting to fill out the team,” Grimm said.

While we have you ...

... if you appreciate that access to the news, opinion, humor, entertainment and cultural reporting in the Sandpoint Reader is freely available in our print newspaper as well as here on our website, we have a favor to ask. The Reader is locally owned and free of the large corporate, big-money influence that affects so much of the media today. We're supported entirely by our valued advertisers and readers. We're committed to continued free access to our paper and our website here with NO PAYWALL - period. But of course, it does cost money to produce the Reader. If you're a reader who appreciates the value of an independent, local news source, we hope you'll consider a voluntary contribution. You can help support the Reader for as little as $1.

You can contribute at either Paypal or Patreon.

Contribute at Patreon Contribute at Paypal

You may also like...

Close [x]

Want to support independent local journalism?

The Sandpoint Reader is our town's local, independent weekly newspaper. "Independent" means that the Reader is locally owned, in a partnership between Publisher Ben Olson and Keokee Co. Publishing, the media company owned by Chris Bessler that also publishes Sandpoint Magazine and Sandpoint Online. Sandpoint Reader LLC is a completely independent business unit; no big newspaper group or corporate conglomerate or billionaire owner dictates our editorial policy. And we want the news, opinion and lifestyle stories we report to be freely available to all interested readers - so unlike many other newspapers and media websites, we have NO PAYWALL on our website. The Reader relies wholly on the support of our valued advertisers, as well as readers who voluntarily contribute. Want to ensure that local, independent journalism survives in our town? You can help support the Reader for as little as $1.