Deputy Director of Planning and Zoning Alaina Ray will take the “deputy” off her nameplate, County Administrator Tim Hemstreet announced Thursday. Ray was promoted to director after serving as deputy director of Planning and Zoning since October 2017.
“We had a very strong and competitive pool of applicants from across the country,” Hemstreet stated. “Alaina has demonstrated exceptional leadership since her arrival in Loudoun and I am confident that she will continue to meet the challenges of our fast-growing community in her new role, including the implementation of the Loudoun 2040 Comprehensive Plan once it is adopted by the Board in 2019.”
Ray has overseen the county’s work to write a new comprehensive plan since before the departure of Loudoun’s last director of planning and zoning, Ricky Barker, who left in May to work in Maryland. It is a process that has stretched beyond its original schedule and seen changes in staff support, including the departures of Barker and former project manager Christopher Garcia and the work of Ray and Deputy County Administrator Charles Yudd to get the project back on course.
But Ray said she does not foresee any break in continuity in that work, even as she takes on additional responsibilities.
“Over the last year, we’ve really managed to get the comprehensive plan on track where it needs to be, and the direction that it needs to be going,” Ray said.
During her tenure, she said, she would like to improve her busy department’s internal processes to make them less cumbersome and improve interdepartmental collaboration.
“I know we have made some strides in that area, but we recognize there’s still some work to be done, particularly regarding quality of information provided to the Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors, and the number and complexity of application issues that ultimately are forward to the Board of Supervisors,” Ray said.
She said she would also be looking at revisiting the department’s fee structure.
Since Barker’s departure, Assistant County Administrator Kenny Young has served as acting director of the department.
Before coming to Loudoun County, Ray served as Planning, Zoning and Building director in Longboat Key, FL. She also served as director of Economic and Community Development for Orange Park, FL, and assistant director of Community Development for Rowlett, TX. Ray also worked as a project manager for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Everglades Restoration Project, the largest watershed restoration project in U.S. history.
As director of Loudoun’s Department of Planning and Zoning, Ray will oversee an agency that works with the Board of Supervisors, the Planning Commission and the public in the development of policies and plans that guide the use of land in the county. The department manages land development applications for re-zonings and special exceptions to determine consistency with county plans and ordinances. It also administers and enforces the provisions and regulations of the Loudoun County Zoning Ordinances.
Ray holds a certified planner credential through the American Institute of Certified Planners. She earned a bachelor’s degree in environmental studies from the University of Texas – Dallas.
More information about the Loudoun County Department of Planning and Zoning is online at www.loudoun.gov/planningandzoning.