The Licking County Planning Commission's (LCPC) loss will be Johnstown's gain with the hiring of Jim Lenner as the village's new planner beginning Dec. 14.

The Licking County Planning Commission's (LCPC) loss will be Johnstown's gain with the hiring of Jim Lenner as the village's new planner beginning Dec. 14.

Village manager Judy Edwards said Lenner, a Licking County land use planner, has been working with the village part-time the past few months, following the resignation of zoning officer Dan Glaze.

Edwards previously worked with Lenner at the Licking County Prosecutor's Office, where he updated and she reviewed Licking County subdivision regulations.

"He's a very competent, talented, well-rounded planner with lots of great skills," Edwards told ThisWeek. "I'm sorry to steal him from Licking County. Anyone who could go through the turmoil of a major subdivision redraft and still want to work with me says a lot about him," she joked.

Lenner will be paid an annual salary of $52,784.

Edwards said Johnstown had been paying Glaze for 30 hours per week, and part of Lenner's salary will come from that former position.

"I am very excited to work for a great community," Lenner said. "Since Johnstown is such a welcoming community, there will be development pressure on the village in the coming years. I look forward to working with the various village committees and organizations to make sure the small town atmosphere remains."

Lenner, who has worked for the LCPC the past five years, said he appreciates the small town feel of Johnstown.

"I was born and raised in a small town, Marblehead, and I value the way communities such as Johnstown take pride in their town, businesses and schools," he said. "I was attracted to becoming part of that effort."

During his tenure at LCPC, he has worked on various comprehensive plans, zoning amendments, development reviews and grant applications, mainly the Job Ready Site grant. Prior to that, he worked as a community planner in the Washington, D.C., area for 18 months for the town of Warrenton, Va.

"Jim will be real versatile and he will help us quite a bit," Edwards said.

Lenner is in the process of rewriting Johnstown's sign code, working with the planning and zoning commission.

"Some folks around town have seen him taking pictures," Edwards added. "Most recently, he did a photo sign inventory and that has been helpful in helping the planning commission see what signs they like and don't like. We want some consistency and this is something that needs to be done. Now is a good time to do it."

Lenner earned bachelor degrees in political science and public affairs from Muskingum College in 2003. He also has a graduate certificate in geographic information systems from Pennsylvania State University. He is currently working on a master's degree in public affairs.

Jerry Brems, director of the LCPC, hasn't yet discussed filling Lenner's position with the county commissioners.

"We'll miss him a great deal," Brems said, adding, "it's a good professional move for him."