Planner Profile: Meggan Herington, AICP

Name: Meggan Herington, AICP
Title: Assistant Planning Director
Company/Employer: City of Colorado Springs

Tells us a little about yourself professionally.
As the Assistant Director of Planning and Community Development for the second largest city in Colorado I have the opportunity to work on a variety of projects and lead and guide staff to creating a one-of-a-kind city. I am responsible for administration and management of two divisions within the Planning and Community Development Department; the Land Use Review Division and the Development Review Enterprise. The Land Use Review Division is responsible for land development review and entitlement approval including code updates, annexation, master planning, zoning review and site planning while the Development Review Enterprise reviews and approves residential and commercial building permits and construction plans in close coordination with the Pikes Peak Regional Building Department.

Tell us how you got into planning.
I have a background in geography. Shortly after college I was working in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, as a GIS analyst. I quickly realized that sitting behind a computer eight hours a day wasn’t for me. Friends in Colorado told me I needed to move out west – and that’s what I did. I was hired as a planner in Pueblo County. The Director at the time told me if I would come and work on GIS data building for the planning department that they would teach me more about the planning profession. I haven’t looked back since.

Tell us a little about yourself outside of planning.
I live in Colorado Springs with my husband, six year old son and two dogs. We enjoy camping, fishing, hiking and all the outdoor recreational opportunities in Colorado. I’ve also taken a liking to paddleboard yoga. In the past year I find myself at a number of tee-ball and pee-wee soccer games which are surprisingly enjoyable; and sometimes funny to watch.

Who is your planning hero or role model?
I’d like to say it is one of the well-known planners we study as part of AICP or a name that set the stage for this wildly exciting profession – but my planning hero is actually more personal than a “planning celebrity”. I look to those mentors and directors in my past that have helped mold and shape me into the leader and planner I am today. My first Director in Pueblo County that introduced me to planning and brought me to Colorado and my first real mentor with the City of Colorado Springs that shaped my career and made me realize that I wanted to be a Planning Director. Those are the people I remember and am thankful to have worked with over the years.

What makes planning special/interesting/difficult/fun in Colorado?
What makes planning interesting and difficult in Colorado is the variety of issues that we as planners find ourselves trying to balance. Lately my days are filled with discussions on medical marijuana, industrial hemp, short term vacation rentals, accessory dwelling units and an overwhelming number of new residential and commercial development requests. In one day we can go from debating the appropriate zones for industrial hemp growing facilities to discussing a variance request for a building setback. It is never boring! We are constantly given the ability to challenge ourselves and as a planner and Assistant Director I find it very exciting.



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