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Jefferson County planner leaving for Hagerstown

March 25, 2003|by DAVE McMILLION

charlestown@herald-mail.com

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - Stephen R. Bockmiller, who has been Jefferson County's chief planner for a little less than two years, is quitting his job to take a similar job with the City of Hagerstown.

On March 31, Bockmiller will start work as Hagerstown's zoning administrator and development review planner.

His city salary will be $48,818, Hagerstown Human Resources Director Donna Messina said. He will be taking a position that was created when the Hagerstown Planning Department did a recent reorganization. Bockmiller would serve under Hagerstown Planning Director Kathleen Maher.

As the chief planner in Jefferson County, it is Bockmiller's job to guide housing developments through the approval process.

He has also been involved in writing a new comprehensive plan for the county, a document that describes generally how the county should grow in coming years.

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Bockmiller said his Hagerstown position will involve many of the same duties.

Bockmiller said he will also work for the Preservation Design District Commission, which oversees historic properties in Hagerstown.

Bockmiller has experience in historic preservation issues.

From July 1990 to October 2000, Bockmiller was a planner for the Howard County, Md., zoning administration department. He also oversaw the Howard County Historical District Commission.

When Bockmiller began his job in Jefferson County, he talked fondly about working in an area with such rich history and said he hoped to retire here.

"I was not actively looking to leave," Bockmiller said. "It's just an opportunity that came up that I decided to pursue and it worked out."

Part of Bockmiller's job is to present proposed developments to members of the planning commission during their regular meeting, which can be lengthy sessions dealing with issues from school capacities to concerns about added traffic.

One recent meeting did not end until 2 a.m.

"It's a bumpy road at best. Steve has to be right in the middle of it," said Jefferson County Commissioner Greg Corliss.

Bockmiller's last day on the job is Thursday.

Jefferson County officials said the job is being advertised in area newspapers. The position would pay between $40,000 and $50,000 annually, they said.

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