Planning director retiring after 15 years with Redmond

After more than 15 years with the City of Redmond, Planning Director Rob Odle is retiring.

While he is leaving his position as director on June 5, Odle will be helping in the mayor’s office for a few more months, wrapping up some projects in the works.

“It’s been a wonderful time, it’s been a great community and I’ve appreciated my whole time here,” Odle said.

Odle originally started with the city as a policy planning manager in 2001 before becoming the planning director in 2006.

During that time, he’s helped guide the city through massive structural and population growth.

The planning department handles everything from helping the community develop their vision of the city through accepting building applications and drafting the comprehensive plan and zoning codes.

When Odle started, he said Redmond was largely a suburban community looking to see development downtown. Microsoft had been in the city since the 1980s.

“We were hoping to see the Overlake area develop as a second urban center,” Odle said.

The city is now working on that goal of having two centers where growth can be concentrated in the future but still having them connected to surrounding residential neighborhoods.

In particular, downtown has matured significantly, he said.

“We’ve had a great amount of development in the downtown and a lot of market acceptance,” he said.

His biggest projects during his time with the city include helping to create the urban centers, working on transportation issues, improving downtown and converting all the codes, the comprehensive plan online as well as moving the application portal to the Internet as well.

He also helped the city develop a capital investments strategy to assess the costs of city investments to support its vision of the future and develop partnerships between the city, residents and businesses.

He’s also looking forward to the planned Sound Transit Light Rail expansions coming to Overlake in 2023 and downtown the following year.

This will allow residents to get to Bellevue consistently in around 10 minutes and downtown Seattle much quicker than driving if there is traffic.

“I’ve always had the great dream of being able to walk down the street from the office, get on the light rail and go to a Mariners game,” he said. “I think that’s going to be exciting.”

As for retirement, Odle said he plans on traveling for a number of months and then figuring out what he and his wife are going to do. They plan on remaining in the area.

“We have a number of activities planned,” he said.

As for his time with Redmond, Odle said he’s happy he picked the city to set down roots in.

“I’ve considered it just an extreme pleasure and an honor to be able to work in the city these number of years,” he said. “Redmond is a fabulous community that has great citizens, it has great businesses.”

Before working for Redmond, Odle worked for Kirkland, Bellevue and Burien, a press release from the city said.

He graduated with a bachelor of science and a master of education from the University of Utah and a master of urban planning from the University of Washington.

Prior to his planning career, he was an educator and anthropologist, the release said.