Asheville announces hiring of new planning director

Asheville city officials on Wednesday announced the hiring of a new planning director. Judy Daniel, who has been working as the planning director for an agency that oversaw land-use planning and parks and recreation services in Montgomery and Prince George’s counties in Maryland, will start her new job June 30, according to a city news release.

The announcement comes nearly a year after Scott Shuford, Asheville’s former planning director, resigned his job. In March 2007, four Asheville City Council members told Xpress that five of the seven Council members had told City Manager Gary Jackson they felt a lack of confidence in Shuford’s management and enforcement decisions, expressing disappointment in his relationships with both members of the community at large and the development community.

Shuford had been planning director for almost eight years. He took the job shortly after the Unified Development Ordinance was approved, and he oversaw numerous refinements and amendments to that massive planning document.

Here’s the city’s press release:

The city of Asheville today announced that Judy Daniel has been selected as the city’s new Planning director. Daniel will assume her new role on June 30.

Daniel comes to Asheville from Bethesda, Md., and brings more than 20 years of experience in planning to her position. Daniel most recently served as the North Bethesda planning director for the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC), an agency responsible for land use planning and parks and recreation services in Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties. The organization serves more than 900,000 residents just north of Washington, D.C.

Prior to her role as North Bethesda Planning Director, Daniel worked as the Northern Montgomery County planning director and a zoning analyst with M-NCPPC. She also worked as the planning director for Williamson County, Tenn., and a planning consultant for the U.S. Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

As a planning director with M-NCPPC, Daniel has been responsible for supervising updates to three area master plans that incorporate mixed-use, transit-oriented zoning. She recently completed work on hybrid form-based zoning for use in urban areas, and she has been responsible for planning efforts that allow for market flexibility as well as improved standards for design and public spaces while encouraging the growth and retention of local businesses.

“After an extensive national search, I believe we have selected someone who not only has the background and skills to lead our planning efforts but someone who also has the listening, learning and people skills to encourage wide community participation,” said City Manager Gary Jackson. “I appreciate all of the community input I received about what Asheville wants in a new planning director, and I think citizens will embrace Judy’s approach and see her leadership style as one that is open to all segments of the community.”

Daniel holds master’s degrees in City and Regional Planning and Urban History from the University of Memphis. She received a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Mississippi. She has served as President of the American Planning Association’s National Capital Area Chapter as well as the Chair of the American Planning Association’s National Conference in 2004.

“I’m excited about the opportunity to lead the planning efforts in a dynamic community like Asheville,” said Daniel. “I have long appreciated Asheville’s beauty, its residents and its unique character, and I’m looking forward to working with the citizens in the community.”

— Jason Sandford



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4 thoughts on “Asheville announces hiring of new planning director

  1. again we go outside to fill a critical position that really, REALLY requires someone who knows Asheville.

    this is wrong.

    we have PLENTY of qualified people locally.

  2. What’s unbecoming? It should pretty much be a given that an outsider will know a lot less about Asheville than someone who’s lived here for a period of time.

    This is just plain old mountain commonsense that any number of folk would agree with. Surely you are not arguing that we SHOULD hire outsiders for such an important job, one with such far-ranging impact down through the coming decades on all of us?

  3. The Wine Mule

    Welcome to Asheville, Judy. Prepare to write many weighty documents, be heaped with abuse, and accomplish very little. Everyone will agree that your job is really important, but hardly anyone will agree that any plan you make be implemented. We all say we’re in favor of change, but in truth we’re terrified of actually doing anything substantial. Check back in a year and see whether you agree.

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