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Nashua hires development chief

Union Leader Correspondent

April 21. 2014 10:27PM

NASHUA — After a search that began last summer, the president of the New Hampshire Planners Association has been hired as the city’s new community development director.

Mayor Donnalee Lozeau has selected Sarah Marchant of Brookline from five finalists — chosen from more than 50 candidates.

“This is a big job,” said Lozeau, adding she is pleased to have found an ideal candidate.

Marchant has served since 2007 on the executive board of the New Hampshire Planners Association, and is in her fourth year as president. For the past two years, she has worked as Amherst’s community development director and zoning administrator. Marchant has a bachelor’s degree from the University of New Hampshire and a master’s degree from the University of Connecticut.

“I think her education and background and experience will serve the city well,” Lozeau said Monday. “I think she has a really great attitude and a great perspective on the city and its future.”

Lozeau described Marchant as a people person with good communication skills and a wealth of knowledge in the planning field. Her salary will be close to $92,000, according to the mayor.

Although Marchant has already been hired, and is set to begin her duties on May 21, the position of community development director will still need official approval from the Board of Aldermen, Lozeau said. The board has 120 days to vote on the matter after Marchant’s hiring, she said.

In Amherst, Marchant is currently responsible for the zoning, planning, building, code enforcement and economic development departments, including support for the historic district commission and heritage commission, according to her biography.

Prior to her position in Amherst, she was the town planner and GIS coordinator in Milford.

“Since joining the planning community in 2005, Sarah has spearheaded a wide range of projects, including a comprehensive rewriting of subdivision and site plan regulations, and public works standards and zoning ordinance changes,” says a biography provided by the mayor’s office.

She is familiar with developing ordinance changes such as form-based codes, wetlands, signage, small wind energy systems and accessory dwelling units. The biography also highlights her experience at developing storm-water management ordinances and facilitating annual capital improvements planning and master plan updates.

The aldermanic Personnel and Administrative Affairs Committee was scheduled to meet with Marchant on Monday.

The role was previously held by Katherine Hersh, who retired last summer after 10 years in the position.

In Nashua, the community development director is in charge of planning, directing and supervising the activities and operations of the planning, building and code enforcement functions of the city, while also providing policy and operational advice, direction and leadership on community development matters.

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