The Licking County Planning Commission has announced its intention to hire a planning director and environmental director, with applications due Aug. 12.

The Licking County Planning Commission has announced its intention to hire a planning director and environmental director, with applications due Aug. 12.

The positions currently are held by Jerry Brems and Jim Mickey, respectively, both of whom are retiring by September.

"The planning commission is responsible for county subdivision regulations and coordinating the development of comprehensive plans with townships," said commission chair Chet Geiger. "Townships are responsible for zoning, but zoning is supposed to be done in conjunction with a comprehensive plan. Many times, one gets in front of the other. The commission is not responsible for developing plans, but they do go out and help them work on developing the plans."

County commissioner Tim Bubb said the planning director should be able to do long-term planning, rather than day-to-day details.

"They have to be both a good manager and a visionary," Bubb said. "The key is to look long term. A short-term issue, such as splitting a lot, is important when you are building a house, but when you look at roads you need to look at the next generation.

"There was a day when Sawmill Road was a country road and state Route 256 was a path. Well, look at them today. If you make good decisions now on road access, where you put interchanges and how you plan, roads today that are barely used have the potential 20 years from now of being the next Sawmill Road. Good decisions now will save us later from nightmares that cost a lot of money."

The planning director also participates in LCATS, the Licking County Area Transportation Study, the body responsible for prioritizing transportation funding in the county, Geiger said.

"Transportation is an additional duty, but it's an important role," Geiger said.

Among the director's duties are acting as the commission visionary, identifying planning issues and recommending plans of action to improve and enhance the quality of life for the residents of Licking County, according to the job posting. Focus areas include land-use concerns, community development, economic development and social issues.

The county environmental planner's duties include flood-plain management; solid-waste management; wetlands review for proposed developments; environmental assessments for state and federal grant projects; mapping; and related duties.

"A lot of it is flood-plain management," Geiger said. "It can affect flood-plain insurance, for example."

Geiger said the planning commission hopes to fill the role promptly, but that it will not rush the process.

"Obviously, we want a person in the position as soon as possible, but we want the right person, too," Geiger said.

Those interested in the positions should apply by Aug. 12 to the county human-resources department. Information is available at www.lcounty.com or from the human-resources department, 20 S. Second St. in Newark.