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Johnson City hires new Development Services director

Zach Vance • Oct 29, 2018 at 11:13 PM

City Manager Pete Peterson confirmed during Monday’s agenda review meeting that Johnson City has hired a new director for the Development Services Department. 

Peterson said Preston Mitchell will take on his new role with the city of Johnson City beginning Nov. 26.

The department is essential to business growth within the city, Peterson said, and oversees various divisions, including planning, codes enforcement and community development.

For the last 14 years, Mitchell has served as the development and code services manager for the city of Salisbury, North Carolina. 

“He’s been functioning in the role there that he will be here,” Peterson said.

“He’s also been involved in some things (in Salisbury) that we’ll be doing here. Mainly, he has rewritten their comprehensive plan and zoning ordinances. So those are some of the things that we’re going to be undertaking, and he’s got good experience with that.”

A graduate of the College of Charleston, Mitchell received his bachelor of arts in urban studies and public administration. He’s also a graduate of the inaugural class of the City Manager’s Leadership Academy and Form-Based Code Institute. 

Before working for Salisbury, Peterson said Mitchell worked for the city of Nashville. 

The city has been without a Development Services director since December 2017, when then-director Angie Carrier announced she had accepted a job with the University of Tennessee’s Municipal Technical Advisory Services, or MTAS. 

ADA Self Evaluation and Transition Plan 

In other business Monday, Johnson City commissioners heard a presentation from Kimley-Horn representative Brian Shamburger, who’s team has spent the last year creating an Americans with Disabilities Act, or ADA, self-evaluation and transition plan for Johnson City. 

In December 2017, the City Commission approved a $250,000 contract with Kimley-Horn to conduct the ADA compliance study and implementation plan, as required by the Federal Highway Commission and the Tennessee Department of Transportation. 

According to Shamburger’s presentation, the transition plan requires the city develop a complaint/grievance process; provide notice to the public about ADA requirements and identify public involvement opportunities; and develop and adopt design standards and identify barriers to ADA compliance. 

The city is also required to designate an ADA coordinator, Facilities Director Randy Trivette.

Peterson said the ADA self-evaluation and transition plan has to be submitted to the Tennessee Department of Transportation by December. 

As part of the self-evaluation section, Shamburger and his team reviewed ADA compliance at City Hall and the Johnson City Public Library, Rotary Park and Lions Park, 95 signaled intersections throughout the city and 25 miles of sidewalk corridors. 

Kimley-Horn’s evaluation yielded varying levels of compliance throughout the city. Shamburger recommended a 30-year implementation plan, which could overlap with some of the projects already listed in the Capital Improvements Plan. 

Based on what was analyzed, Shamburger estimated that costs to meet compliance could exceed $16 million over the 30-year period, coming in at around $560,900 annually. 

As part of the study, the city is providing two tools for citizens to provide feedback on ADA compliance within the city. 

The first is an online survey that seeks input regarding the city’s compliance with ADA. The questionnaire, which will be available through Nov. 20, will ask citizens about city facilities, services and programs.

The second tool is an interactive map that allows citizens to flag locations around the city where accessibility issues may exist. Information about both tools can be found by visiting http://www.johnsoncitytn.org/ADA/.

“We’ve got some more public input that we need to get from the survey and from the mapping. Kimley-Horn will wrap up the transition plan here over the next month or six weeks. Then we’ll get it submitted in December 2018, and it will become a guiding document for future budget processes,” Peterson said.

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