CITY HALL — Richard McKinnon, current Recreation & Parks commissioner and longtime Santa Monica resident, was appointed Tuesday to fill the last vacancy on the Planning Commission.

He received four of seven votes, inching out former Mayor Paul Rosenstein for the position.

McKinnon has spent the last 18 months on Recreation & Parks, overseeing the progress of the Bicycle Action Plan and trying to open up local pools to public use.

He and Commissioner Dryden Helgoe also authored a concept paper called “The City as an Arboretum,” describing the potential ways that Santa Monica could expand and diversify its tree population in the name of conservation, education and beauty.

As planning commissioner, he hopes to keep the momentum going behind those projects and further goals of sustainability and livability.

“I have a strong, big picture idea of where I think the city should go, and the Planning Commission is the one place to put that into play,” McKinnon said.

His background makes him a major proponent of green spaces and recreational facilities, something he feels might have a place as public benefits in development agreements brought to City Hall for oversized developments.

“I don’t believe you can have development and bring buildings without rewarding the public and people who are here already,” McKinnon said.

The Planning Commission has been hurting since former Commissioner Gwynne Pugh resigned in order to apply for a contract with City Hall.

Commissioners recently postponed a controversial vote to approve or deny an application three years in the making for a proposed Walgreens on Lincoln and Pico boulevards until they had a seventh member.

ashley@www.smdp.com

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