Howland splits planning, zoning department

HOWLAND – The township is splitting up its planning and zoning department to increase enforcement on regulations and concentrate efforts on future improvements.

“The trustees voted to split planning and zoning into two different departments – planning, which I’ll be heading and zoning, which Peter Ross will be in charge of,” said Kim Mascarella, former planning and zoning director.

Mascarella’s new title is planning director, while Ross, former planning and zoning assistant director, will be the zoning administrator. The old department was eliminated and two new job positions were created through the approval of three resolutions by the trustees in their Dec. 27 regular meeting.

“We’re doing this experiment to see whether things will work out better for them,” township Trustee Matthew Vansuch said. “We’re always looking to do things better.”

According to one of the resolutions, the “trustees desire to create a Zoning Department which is administered by a zoning administrator who shall supervise a part-time code enforcement officer, and a Planning Division which is administered by a planning director who shall report to the trustees and the township administrator.”

Mascarella said the split will allow her to focus on implementing the comprehensive plan while Ross focuses on code enforcement.

Vansuch said because Marcarella will be dropping from 40 to 32 hours per week, it will free up money for the part-time hire seasonal hire to respond to residents’ complaints of zoning violations.

“There isn’t going to be a cost increase at all,” he said.

Mascarella’s annual salary according to one of the resolutions will be about $48,900, while Ross’ will be about $47,400. Mascarella has been with the township for the past four years, Ross has been there about three and a half years, Vansuch said.