CITY HALL — Architect Hank Koning tendered his resignation to the Planning Commission Wednesday, citing a need to focus on his business.

Koning’s firm, Koning Eizenberg Architecture, specializes in large, urban projects, and his position on the Planning Commission warded off potential clients, he said.

“It’s difficult as a practicing architect. People tend not to hire you because you have to recuse yourself, which is the equivalent of a ‘no’ vote,” Koning said. “In this economic climate, it’s hard enough getting jobs without the additional burden.”

Koning waited to bow out until the City Council appointed Richard McKinnon to fill the seat left vacant after the departure of former commissioner Gwynne Pugh.

Pugh left in May after being informed that he would not be able to put in a bid for a city project if he sat on the Planning Commission. His query prompted the City Attorney’s Office to revise the policy on sitting commissioners bidding on city contracts.

Koning’s firm is doing work on the Pico Library, but that project was grandfathered in before City Hall changed its policy to avoid potential conflicts.

His departure leaves another hole on the Planning Commission, just as discussions get underway to craft the zoning ordinance that will determine growth in commercial areas.

The commission also put off its decision on another potential development, a Walgreens at the intersection of Lincoln and Pico boulevards, until the commission had a full complement of seven.

Koning’s resignation came as a surprise to Planning Director David Martin, who lamented the departure as “a loss.”

“Having his expertise as an architect was very valuable,” Martin said.

It’s unclear at this point when the council will appoint Koning’s replacement.

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