Redevelopment, revitalization efforts a key focus for Centerville’s new city planner

Centerville’s new city planner will tackle long-term projects involving redevelopment and revitalization, plus the various residential and commercial projects looking to come to the community.

Erik Collins, the city’s development director, said Ian Vanness will be involved in a slew of community development projects, including its uptown plan, which he said is “a major economic development component to the city’s landscape and quality of life.”

Vanness, who started in the role March 20, also will be delving into development efforts in the area in and around the Cornerstone of Centerville and will be among the city officials paying attention to the city’s existing businesses, Collins said.

“We’re going to do that through Centerville’s Business First Program, where we go out and meet with companies and connect resources to help those companies stay and grow in the city,” he said.

As the city planner, Vanness also will advise city council and various commissions, board, official and task forces on the various commercial and residential projects that come before those entities. He also will research, analyze, prepare and make recommendations on all land use legislation that is pending before city council and help the public with planning, zoning and subdivision issues.

Vanness, who resides in Somerville, was among 14 people who applied for the position. He will be paid $95,000 annually.

He replaces Mark Yandrick, who was with the city since June 2008. He served in a planning role since 2013 and was interim city planner between April and July 2019. He started as city planner in July 2019 and departed that role last November.

Vanness said an item he’s proud of from his time with the city of Richmond as a planner is the city approving its first-ever Climate Action Plan, which involved him “working with the community to craft a vision for the future.”

“I’m really excited to take that experience and apply it here in Centerville, when we update our comprehensive plan,” he said. “And that’s something when I applied for the job just looking around on the internet ... seeing that Create The Vision, the city’s current comprehensive plan, is from 2004, I had a suspicion that this was probably on their radar and it is, and that’s something I can’t wait to get my hands on.”

City Manager Wayne Davis said Vanness brings the table an “outstanding education” and experience, interest in working in Centerville and “that human interaction and human touch.”

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