City council appoints new member

Government: Rahna Lovrovich nabs seat after mayor breaks tie

of the GatewayJanuary 22, 2014 

In her first act as mayor, Jill Guernsey cast the deciding vote to fill her vacant seat on the Gig Harbor City Council.

After Guernsey broke the council tie last week, Rahna Lovrovich was appointed as the newest member of the council.

“I’m excited for the whole thing,” Lovrovich said after the meeting Jan. 13 as she received congratulations. “I am really looking forward to getting my feet wet and my hands dirty.”

It came down to Lovrovich and real estate broker Spencer Hutchins. Both were presented to the council, along with former candidate Jim Hagman, for the nomination out of a pool of seven applicants.

Council members Steve Ekberg, Ken Malich and Paul Kadzick voted for Lovrovich, while Michael Perrow, Tim Payne and Casey Arbenz voted for Hutchins.

“They were all good candidates,” Guernsey said of the pool. “But, to me, (Lovrovich) was the best.”

Hutchins took the close defeat in stride, saying he looks forward to continued involvement with city, be it on other boards or commissions.

Lovrovich is currently on the parks commission and was elected chair in March. She’s also worked in banking and insurance, as well as economic development. Outside of that, she’s involved in schools through parent-teacher associations and volunteer parent organizations.

She has deep roots in Gig Harbor: her husband’s family settled here more than 100 years ago. Her husband, daughter and mother-in-law were at the meeting.

Lovrovich will be sworn in Monday.

“I think the main thing is that I really care about our community, and I want it to be a place that we can all be proud of,” she told the council before the vote.

The council also heard public input on a new ordinance that would affecting the residential waterfront Millville district. The majority of the speakers did not support the ordinance.

No action was taken. The ordinance will come up for a vote on Monday.

The ordinance is necessary due to changes in setbacks from the state-mandated Shoreline Master Plan. It would allow houses — mainly those built on vacant lots, remodeled or add-ons — to build up to the property line. The height of the building, 18 feet maximum, would be measured from the property line, not the sidewalk, as per the ordinance.

The opposition said raising the measurement to the property line would create taller homes and constricts views of the bay.

Jeni Woock, the leader of Citzens for the Preservation of Gig Harbor, presented two petitions to the council. One was for no zoning changes in the waterfront as was signed by 1,594 people. The other was from Millville residents who opposed the amendment. It had 53 signers.

“It’s obvious the majority of Gig Harbor citizens want to save every water view possible,” she said.

For M.L. Kellogg, the vote is not just about zoning. Kellogg opposes the amendment and said it feels as though the city has another agenda.

“Trust is at the core of this meeting tonight,” she said.

The council will meet next at 5:30 p.m. Monday at the Gig Harbor Civic Center, 3510 Grandview St.

Reporter Karen Miller can be reached at 253-358-4155 or by email at karen.miller@gateline.com. Follow her on Twitter, @gateway_karen.

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