Macon planner makes move to town post

Macon County Planner Derek Roland will leave his post to become the Town of Franklin's planner. Current Franklin town Planner Mike Grubermann will retire this month.

"Derek has been awesome," said Lewis Penland, chairman of the Macon County Planning Board. "He had a hard job from day one, but he really hit the ground running. Derek really cares about this county and the future of this county."

Roland, a Franklin native, joined the county in March 2009. Being Macon County's planner is not exactly a walk in the park — Macon is fiercely divided among pro-planning and anti-planning factions, with the planning board serving as the primary focus of all that ongoing angst.

Roland, however, managed to steer clear of potential hornets nests during his tenure. Despite standing room only public hearings in the county courtroom on planning matters during recent months, not once did Roland become a topic of discussion at any of those gatherings.

Roland on Monday described going to the town as "a good opportunity — not a better one, but a good one."

"I think going to the town is an opportunity for him," County Manager Jack Horton said.

Horton said he expects hiring a new planner will take some time. The county plans to start advertising the position next week. Until someone is hired, Jack Morgan, who oversees code and planning enforcement for Macon County, will cover Roland's duties. Horton said other county staff would be used, too, as needed.

He starts March 26. Roland said his first task would be to learn Franklin's Unified Development Ordinance, the town's primary planning document.

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