By Marcy Stamper

The Okanogan County commissioners have decided to hire surveyor and land-use consultant Dan Beardslee for a one-year trial period as hearing examiner.

Beardslee was one of two applicants for the position. He will be responsible for decisions and recommendations on county land-use matters such as subdivisions, rezones and variances, replacing the Board of Adjustment and fulfilling some functions of the county planning commission.

Beardslee has a degree in business administration and has worked for county governments and for a private planning and engineering firm reviewing development proposals and land-use applications, according to his application.

“Beardslee understands land-use regulations and their ins-and-outs better than anybody,” said Okanogan County Commissioner Ray Campbell.

Beardslee grew up in Republic and spent the first part of his career in Western Washington, but returned to Eastern Washington two decades ago, when he began working for the land surveying and engineering firm Erlandsen as a senior land-use consultant. He is also a licensed surveyor.

Beardslee has never served as a hearing examiner but is familiar with the process from appearing before examiners hundreds of times, he said in his application materials. He has represented clients with projects in Okanogan County for more than 20 years.

Beardslee is one of the founders of the Okanogan County Coalition for Property Rights and has been very involved in the revision of the county’s comprehensive plan and other land-use regulations, he said.

The other applicant for the position was Andrew Kottkamp, an attorney with the Wenatchee firm of Kottkamp & Yedinak. Kottkamp serves as hearing examiner for two dozen Eastern Washington jurisdictions, including Chelan, Douglas, Grant and Kittitas counties and the cities of Wenatchee and Bridgeport.

The county has had provisions for a hearing examiner in its code since 1994 but has never implemented them. Okanogan County Chief Civil Deputy Steve Bozarth suggested switching to a hearing examiner because of the advantages of having an impartial professional handle land-use matters.

Okanogan County Planning Director Perry Huston is drafting a contract with Beardslee, including the scope of work and pay.