Longtime Pataskala zoning clerk Susan Thompson, who is the only person to hold the position since Lima Township and the village of Pataskala merged, retired last week.

Longtime Pataskala zoning clerk Susan Thompson, who is the only person to hold the position since Lima Township and the village of Pataskala merged, retired last week.

"There's no replacing the body of knowledge that she has, as far as the history of parcels," said Dianne Harris, Pataskala's planning director.

Thompson originally is from Kentucky and came to Lima Township in 1985 to marry her husband, John. She took a job as zoning inspector for Lima Township the same year and was hired as Pataskala's zoning inspector in 1995, one year before the township and village of Pataskala merged.

"I've been here 17 years," she said. "The village didn't have a zoning clerk. I was the first one."

When she worked for Lima Township, Thompson said, she can recall only one zoning for a subdivision. Since then, the city has added more than 20 subdivisions.

"There's been a lot of commercial development," she said, mentioning the two shopping centers on Broad Street, the Hazelwood Shopping Center and Hazelton Town Center.

She said one of the most heavily attended zoning hearings happened with the city instituted a planned manufacturing district on Red Chip Road.

"A lot of people came out for and against that," she said.

The number of filing cabinets in the Pataskala zoning department is proof of how much work she has done in the last 17 years. When she started, there was one cabinet. There now are 10 filing cabinets plus racks to hold other information, such as maps.

Thompson's son, Brian, still lives in the area with his wife and two children. Thompson said she expects to spend more time with them.

"I'm not dying and I'm not moving," she said. "I want to travel with my husband and so things while we're able to do that."

Her last day was Aug. 31.

Harris said she advertised for the position and received more than 40 applications. She has narrowed the list to four and is conducting interviews. Names of the four finalists were not released to ThisWeek by press time.

The zoning clerk sets agendas for the zoning commission and board of zoning appeals meetings, and also takes meeting minutes. The clerk also answers the phone in the zoning department, schedules inspections and handles questions and zoning applicants.