Selectboard signs off on new zoning administrator
by Jack Deming
May 31, 2014 | 5736 views | 0 0 comments | 104 104 recommendations | email to a friend | print
WILMINGTON- Following a nearly two-month-long interview process, the town of Wilmington has hired a new zoning administrator. At their May 21 meeting, the selectboard unanimously voted to accept a recommendation by the Planning Commission to hire Craig Ohlson, of Claremont, NH, and authorized town manager Scott Murphy to offer him the position. Ohlson will begin his three-year contract on Monday, serving in a full-time capacity, starting with a six-month probationary period, standard for all new town employees.

Ohlson brings a wealth of municipal experience to his new job, having served as town administrator of Deering, NH, from 2003 to 2013, and Silt, CO, from 1998 to 2003. Ohlson also has experience directly with zoning, serving as the director of planning and zoning in Hanover, NH, from 1996 to 1998.

“I have extensive experience in municipal administration in general, as well as zoning administration,” said Ohlson. “I’ve worked in both Vermont and New Hampshire as well, and I’m very excited to accept the position in Wilmington.”

Wilmington has been without a full-time zoning administrator since Alice Herrick resigned effective April 1. Diane Chapman, who is also the vice chair of the selectboard, has been serving as temporary part-time zoning administrator in the meantime. Wilmington’s interview committee fielded four candidates for the position, but ultimately chose Olsen due to his experience.

“We really need someone with experience, because we have a brand new development review board,” said interview committee and planning commission member Carolyn Palmer. “Being the zoning administrator is a hard job and we think he can handle dealing with people in all situations. We were thrilled to have someone with his experience and personality apply.”

Recently, the selectboard reviewed whether the zoning administrator position should be part time or full time, and decided that if the town wanted to see more enforcement and follow-up, the position would need to be kept at a full-time status.

According to Murphy, the town is excited to have Ohlson on board.

“We all wanted to fill this position because it’s so active,” said Murphy. “He has a wealth of experience with administration, zoning, and planning, so it won’t take long to get him up to speed on current applications.”

With a newly formed DRB, a brand new zoning bylaw, and a town seeing a burst of downtown renovation projects, Ohlson will need to take on a slate of new work from the get-go, a task he is not worried about. “I think my personal skills and ability to work with a variety of people will be beneficial to the town,” said Ohlson. “I’ve been in this business for a long time, so I don’t feel as if it will be a problem at all for me to hit the ground running.”
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