Monday, June 23, 2014

Downey Named New Planning Director

Marshall Downey, who has served as the assistant director of Planning and Community Development for the past eleven years, has been selected as the department’s director.

As director, Downey will oversee planning and development administration, inspections services, code enforcement, strategic services, community enhancement, community development, and zoning. He has served as interim director for the past two months following long-time director Robert ‘Bob’ Bridwell’s retirement from the position.

Downey is a driving force behind updating the Sanford/Lee County Unified Development Ordinance (UDO) to modernize the city-county’s land use regulations and make our corridors more attractive to potential investors. He will work closely with the Department of Public Works to implement the city’s $14.5 million bond projects.

However, Downey’s new role isn’t the only change facing the Planning and Community Development department. Althea Thompson will now serve as Zoning Administrator and will be the final authority on all zoning decisions. She will also serve as gate keeper of the city-county UDO.

Amy McNeill will now serve as Design Review Coordinator. She will supervise and coordinate review and zoning approval for all commercial and multi-family development proposals/site plans for Sanford, Lee County, and Broadway.

Thompson and McNeill will work together to provide primary staff support for the Planning Board and Board of Adjustment for Sanford, Lee County, and Broadway.

With these changes, the department will be smaller and more efficient, making it better able to coordinate services and integrate with other agencies. “With Mr. Bridwell’s retirement, we are restructuring the Planning and Community Development department by not filling the Assistant Director position,” says Hal Hegwer, city manager. “I am pleased to have very talented and experienced staff that can fill that void seamlessly.”

Downey, Thompson, and McNeill will assume their new positions effective immediately.

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