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Guernsey announces retirement

Wednesday, July 10, 2019 by Jo Clifton

After 34 years with the city of Austin, Greg Guernsey, director of the Planning and Zoning Department, announced his retirement Tuesday. Guernsey’s last official day is July 31, but he’s planning to take vacation time, so his last day in office will be next Thursday, July 18.

Guernsey started working for the city in June 1985, when the Land Development Code was brand-new and Austin’s population was only about 350,000. He started as a Planner 2 in the Office of Land Development Services and has worked for seven different planning departments in the city. City Manager Toby Futrell named him director of Neighborhood Planning and Zoning in February 2006 upon the retirement of Alice Glasco. The department was renamed the Department of Planning and Development, and then in April 2015, City Manager Marc Ott split development services from planning to create the current configuration.

Guernsey said his greatest accomplishment with the city was shepherding the creation of the Imagine Austin Comprehensive Plan, which provides the grand vision for planning the city. He said it was “something the city tried to do in the 80s, then tried in the 90s.” When Ott arrived in 2008, Guernsey told him about creating the plan and Ott agreed. The plan was completed in 2012.

Imagine Austin has received accolades from numerous organizations, including the American Planning Association, National League of Cities, American Institute of Architects, Alliance for Innovation, and the Japan Productivity Center. Also under Guernsey’s guidance, the city developed and adopted the Waller Creek District Plan, the East Riverside Corridor Master Plan and the Downtown Austin Plan.

Guernsey said he has enjoyed his time with the city: “It’s never been dull.” He plans to spend time with his elderly parents as well as his daughter, who will soon be headed for graduate school in England. After that, he hopes to travel with his wife, who is also retired.

Photo courtesy of the city of Austin.

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