Planner Profile: RJ Keetch

Current Position: Building and Planning Director, City of Colville

Total years in planning: 14

Hobbies: Kiteboarding, Boating, Camping, Building stuff

Hometown: Ritzville, WA

Favorite Places: La Ventana, Baja, Mexico; Perry District, Spokane; Lake CDA; Medellin, Colombia

Why did you choose a career in planning? To create great spaces and by extension great communities.

Why did you decide to be a planner in Washington? The Spokane area is home and it happens to be in Washington!

What projects/initiatives are you currently working on? Finishing up a downtown plan and bike, ped and trail plan– working on implementation of those plans. About to start a Comprehensive Plan update.

What was your first planning related job? Working for the Downtown Spokane Parking Public Development Authority as an intern in graduate school. Working with the first iteration of the downtown Spokane plan was a foundational influence on me as a young planner.

What advice would you give a new planner? If you work in current planning - interpretation of the code is not always black and white! Be flexible to get good projects built. Little impediments can have a big impact on small-scale developers.

What do you wish you had known when you started your career? Work for great people/leaders and with great teams even if it pays less.

If you were not a planner what profession would you likely be in? A small-scale real estate developer with an eye toward creating great communities or a city manager.

Do you have any favorite online sources related to planning that you’d like to share, and/or planners (historical or present) that have inspired your work? Strong Towns!

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