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City merges zoning, business development departments

The retirement of Hendersonville’s planning, zoning and code enforcement chief has led to a restructuring designed to coordinate the city’s economic development efforts with its zoning functions.

The change merges the city’s Downtown Economic Development Department, which coordinates Main Street and Historic Seventh Avenue District programs and improvements, and its Development Assistance Department, which handles planning, zoning and code enforcement.
City Manager John Connet announced the consolidation during a City Council meeting last week.
“Instead of having three in one department and three in the other, we’ll merge them and have seven (employees) out of the gate,” he said. Next the city will hire a zoning enforcement officer, a position which had been frozen. Downtown coordinator Lew Holloway will lead the merged functions while Jamie Carpenter moves into the Main Street promotions role. Senior planner Daniel Heyman will supervise the planning and zoning department.
“We think the department will have sufficient staff to do some pretty robust planning and that would be under the guidance of Lew Holloway, who will be the director of that department,” Connet said. “I think that’ll create some efficiencies and allow those two teams to work together on some projects and move the city forward.”
“Lew’s strength is in looking at the big picture,” Connet said in an interview Monday, “and Daniel’s strength is in zoning and code enforcement and development management.”
Connet praised Frady for her 33 years of service with the city, including her role in transforming the planning office into a more development friendly shop in 2016.
“It’ll take two positions to replace Susan,” he said. “Susan has always been firm but fair (in guiding development requests). She always went out of her way to help the applicant while protecting the health and safety of the public. She realized that we needed to work with the contractors and developers. She was basically a servant type leader.”