Archive for Wednesday, June 20, 2007

City hires graduate student as assistant planner

June 20, 2007

A new face can be seen in the Planning Department at Basehor City Hall.

Sadie Robb was hired as assistant planner for the city about two weeks ago and will continue as a full-time employee throughout the summer under the direction of planning director Dustin Smith.

The Kansas University graduate will complete her master's degree in urban planning, also from KU, in May 2008.

"We're kind of considering it an internship right now," Smith said. "When Sadie gets out of school, we'll make the decision whether to offer her the job. That's how I'm envisioning it."

Robb has been hard at work her first couple of days on the job, focusing on code enforcement and code revisions, especially Basehor's sign code, which outlines the kind of signs businesses can display. Other work so far also includes preliminary research on how to better bring walking trails to Basehor.

The Paola native is fresh off an internship with the planning firm Bucher, Willis & Ratliff in Kansas City, where she worked on stream water analysis. The internship is one of the reasons Smith said Robb was chosen for the position with the city.

But, with an undergraduate degree in political science and environmental studies, Robb wasn't always set on a career in city planning.

"I thought I was going to law school," she said. "I thought urban planning promoted more change than law would. I like to see things happen. I like to see results, so this is better suited for me."

Classes in transportation planning, real estate and land use also solidified her desire for a career in planning and sparked her interest in a focus on transportation.

"You often work for a consulting firm that travels, a lot and I like that," she said about focusing on transportation planning. "It's also math-oriented and I'm good at math."

Smith said throughout the rest of the summer and part time during the school year, Robb would handle the more day-to-day aspects of the department, allowing him to focus more on long-range planning. That means Robb may have her hands full with a lot of paperwork, but she said she doesn't mind and might even enjoy it.

"There's a lot of paperwork that is outdated and needs to be digitized," she said. "But, I get to look over it as it's put into the system and sort of internalize it and compare it to what I'm learning in school."

In Basehor, Robb will have the advantage of being involved in every aspect of the department, Smith said. And this is something Robb said she was also looking forward to. She said she has had some experience with the Lawrence-Douglas County Planning Commission, but this is her first glimpse at planning in a small town.

"I'm interested in just seeing how a small town operates," she said. "It will be neat to get to compare that with other experiences I've had. I'm also interested in seeing how the public interacts with the City Council and the Planning Commission."

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