Lenox beginning search for land-use director


LENOX -- In an effort to smooth the way for new and expanding businesses and streamline Town Hall operations, the search is on for a qualified candidate for the new, full-time position of land-use director.

Announcing the opening this past week, Town Manager Christopher Ketchen said the successful applicant also will serve as the town planner and work closely with him on economic development.

"Lenox is certainly in the tourism business," he told The Eagle on Friday, "but to the extent that there are opportunities elsewhere, we want to be in a position to pursue those."

The idea is to enhance a business-friendly welcome mat in a community not always viewed by some as giving businesses the red carpet treatment. But, Ketchen pointed out, after only four months in office he has not experienced a perception that the town is unfriendly to business.

As a newcomer, he speculated, "maybe I’m seeing a lot more positive than what has been historically expressed. Certainly, by having another person whose job is to keep lines of communication open, and act in the town’s overall best interest Š that can only improve whatever situation exists."

"To the extent that there are challenges," Ketchen added, "I’m absolutely convinced that there’s nothing that can’t be overcome by the right person and the right attitude."

"This will be the point person to ensure commercial vitality in the town of Lenox," he declared. "It will make it easier for everyone Š we want to move forward."

Ketchen acknowledged a need to streamline the navigation of rules, regulations and codes.

He cited "an appetite in the community to focus on economic development" and a need to communicate directly with the business community -- "a key component of this person’s job." Ketchen also noted a desire to enhance "overall communication between the departments within town government."

"There’s a great deal of coordination required among the different land-use committees and the staff," said Ketchen. "There’s a lot of value that can be added by having a point person to oversee coordination of that activity."

Filling the full-time position, with expanded responsibilities, is among Ketchen’s highest priorities as he has outlined for the Select Board five goals he plans to achieve.

Among them is to keep the town’s finances on an even keel, which is well underway, he said, and to enlist neighboring communities in regionalizing services. "Lenox must drive regionalization discussions, not merely participate," he said.

Another key goal listed by the town manager is to "respond to external opportunities or threats in a professional, fact-based manner." On that list, in addition to regionalization, is the Rest of River PCB cleanup project, the proposed Tennessee Gas pipeline, the Elm Court resort controversy, solar-energy development, and the School Department’s in-progress strategic plan, including an evaluation of school choice.

The advertised land-use director position will pay $60,000, plus or minus, depending on qualifications, with a competitive benefits package, Ketchen said. Although the job is open until filled, applicants will be screened starting Aug. 20.

Mary Albertson, the previous 32-hour a week town planner, resigned last April for a change of career.

According to the job description, a bachelor’s degree in regional, urban or community planning, architecture, engineering, business, public policy or administration, or a closely related field, is required, as well as at least two or three years of experience. A master’s degree and American Planning Association certification are both highly desirable, the ad states.

Applicants are asked to send a cover letter and resume to Christopher J. Ketchen, Town Manager, 6 Walker Street, Lenox, MA 01240 or cketchen@townoflenox.com.

Additional details are available at his Town Hall office or by visiting www.townoflenox.com (click on "Job Opportunities").

To contact Clarence Fantocfanto@yahoo.comor (413) 637-2551.On Twitter: @BE_cfanto


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