City of Asheville hires planning director

The City of Asheville is pleased to announce that, after a nationwide search, Todd Okolichany will serve as the City’s new Planning Director, effective Sept. 8.

Okolichany comes to the City of Asheville from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., where he served as principal planner for the Department of Sustainable Development. A LEED-Green Associate accredited by the Green Building Certification Institute, Okolichany supervised major programs of the city’s Urban Design and Planning Division, including work related to strategic planning, design standards and form-based codes.

Okolichany has a master of science degree in city and regional planning from the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, N.Y. He earned his bachelor of arts degree in geography from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

“Todd brings experience in public/private partnerships to his new role as the City of Asheville’s new Planning Director,” said City Manager Gary Jackson. “We are especially excited to bring him on board because of his experience with form-based code.”

The City is currently working on a form-based code for the River Arts District, a complex area that incorporates former and some current industrial uses with artist studio spaces, restaurants and breweries. Planning for the RAD is complicated by steep topography and grade changes as well as a busy rail line that runs down the middle of the district.

“Todd has experience managing highly complex projects and we are eager to put his skills to work for the City of Asheville,” said Jackson.

“I am humbled by the opportunity to lead the City of Asheville’s Planning & Urban Design Department and become part of such a great team of staff, as well as an amazing and vibrant city,” said Okolichany.  “This is an exciting time for Asheville as it continues to grow and prosper. As the Planning Director, I will strive to maintain the city’s continued quality of service and quality of life, while managing future development in a sustainable manner so that future generations can enjoy the same livable environment that Ashevillians experience today.”

The City’s Planning & Urban Design Department is focused on professional land use guidance as well as the highest level of technical and customer service to achieve safe and healthy residential neighborhoods and sustained economic growth. Its office is located on the fifth floor of Asheville City Hall.