Top planner bound for Jersey Shore
Thursday, Summit County Community Development Director Nora Shepard said she will leave the influential post June 20, becoming the second top-level planner to leave the government within a year.
After five years at the county, Shepard accepted a job as principal planner for transportation with Monmouth County, N.J. Planning Director Don Sargent will serve as acting community development director until her replacement is named.
"They have similar issues that Park City has, in that, those communities are generally pretty small eight months out of the year," she said about the coastal area in New Jersey. "A lot of the role of the county in transportation is to encourage a regional look and to work with the state in trying to get funding for certain transportation projects."
Monmouth County is in central New Jersey, Shepherd said, adding that she will reside in Bradley Beach. She looks forward to helping craft an evacuation plan for the beach communities.
"Although we are excited for Nora and wish her all the best in her new endeavors, her unparalleled skill as planner and quiet dignity will be deeply missed in this community," said Jami Brackin, a deputy Summit County attorney.
Shepard has worked in planning in the county for almost a quarter century. She was a planner at Park City Municipal for 15 years, where she began with the rank and file in 1984.
"Certainly things were very different in 1984 than they are today. This area has grown a lot but I think it’s still really a wonderful place," Shepherd said. "It’s undergone a lot of growth and with that comes growing pains, but I think that we have dealt with them pretty well."
At Bear West Company in Salt Lake City, Shepard worked as a private planning consultant for three years under now Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker.
Last year, Shepard received the Park City Rotary Club’s Professional Citizen of the Year award.
Her position in Summit County — where controversy can mark planning disputes has been her most challenging, said Shepherd, who replaced former Community Development Director Dave Allen.
Shepherd’s job includes applying general plans and development codes to construction projects in western an eastern Summit County.
The biggest growth-related challenges in the future will occur on the East Side where planners struggle to balance growth demands with rural, agricultural values.
"They are at a point where there is increased growth pressure and they will need to decide what they want to be when they grow up," Shepherd said. "There will be a lot of important decisions that are made regarding development in eastern Summit County in the next few years The challenge as the community moves forward is to try to retain that uniqueness."
Summit County Commissioner Bob Richer worked closely with Shepherd for a decade.
"Nora is a conscientious and dedicated public servant," Richer said. "She has the dedication and skills that we hope to achieve from everyone in the public sector. Her attitude has always been to serve the public and to serve the elected officials."
Shepherd’s departure comes on the heels of the resignation of former Summit County Planning Director Michael Barille, who took a job with Park City-based Jack Johnson Company last summer.
Becca Gerber, a first-term member of the Park City Council who is seen as bringing a younger person’s perspective to the Marsac Building, will seek reelection this year.