Talent city planner to move on

TALENT — City Planner John Adam has announced his resignation to take a position with Medford's planning department. He has been with the city for five years.

"He's really taken our ordinances related to land planning and updated them and put them in context," said City Council President Bill Cecil. "We're really sorry to see him go. He has done an outstanding job for the city, but it's a career move for him."

Adam was an excellent representative of the city in the Regional Problem Solving effort, said Cecil. He said Talent was the only jurisdiction in RPS to receive a tentative OK from the state for its proposed urban reserve areas.

"Whenever you had a question he was very accessible," said land-use consultant Mike LaNier. "He always had a very rational, reasoned explanation. He rewrote half the code in Talent and made it work. He will be an asset to the city of Medford. "

LaNier, a former city manager in Colorado and city administrator in Gold Beach, worked with Adam on several large and small projects.

"John's service as the city planner, in my perception, was exemplary, not because he bent over backwards for the developers, but what he did do was apply regulations properly, " said LaNier

Planning commissioners didn't always agree with Adam. Commissioners rejected an application for the 143-unit Pacific Stage Heights subdivision although Adam recommended approval. The commission's ruling was upheld by the city's hearings officer. That decision has been appealed by the developer to the Oregon Land Use Board of Appeals.

Adam said code development and proposed planned unit development revisions are among his top accomplishments. He was recruited by Medford for an opening in the long-range planning division. He begins work Oct. 16.

"I do want to work and live in a larger city," said Adam. "It's with no small regret that I leave Talent. It's dynamic beyond what anyone might expect in a small town."

Adam's resignation is the third by a top official this year. City Manager Betty Wheeler retired in August after six years. Police Chief Bob Rector resigned to take a position with the Curry County Sheriff's Department in August after five years.

"I'd guess an average (planner tenure) is probably about six or seven years," said Barton Brierley, planning director for Newberg and a board member of the Oregon City Planning Directors Association. "It depends a lot on does the city fit them, and are they a good fit for the city."

Adam's five-year tenure contrasts with recent history in Ashland, where Bill Molnar has now served as community development director for 10 months. Prior to Molnar's appointment, David Stalheim held the position for eight months before resigning. The position had been vacant since 2005, when John McLaughlin resigned following 14 years of service.

New Talent City Manager Jay Henry was asked Wednesday by the City Council to research options to replace Adam.

Besides hiring a new planner, the city could consider contracting for services with a company, another jurisdiction or the Rogue Valley Council of Governments, said Henry. A search for a new police chief will probably begin in a few weeks. Former Medford police lieutenant Mike Moran now serves as interim chief.

Tony Boom is a freelance writer living in Ashland. Reach him at tboom8929@charter.net.

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