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Geneva Community Development Director Dick Untch has announced his retirement, capping off a distinguished 43-year public service career after recently being named Kane County Planner of the Year.
City Planner David DeGroot will be promoted to Community Development Director when Untch’s retirement becomes effective Friday, Jan. 16. The Community Development Department is responsible for the City’s development planning, historic preservation, code enforcement and building permits.
Untch has served as Community Development Director since joining the City in 1998. His notable accomplishments include:
• Leading the formation of the City’s Comprehensive Plan, Bikeway Plan, Historic Preservation Plan, Downtown Master Plan, Housing Plan, and East State Street Corridor Design Guidelines;• Guiding site planning for Geneva Commons, Dodson Place, and the Geneva Business Park;• Forming zoning regulations that require new houses be compatible with the size of houses in mature neighborhoods;• Implementing a site improvement plan for the City-owned 580-acre Prairie Green Preserve wetland and prairie restoration project; • Restructuring processes used by the Plan Commission, Historic Preservation Commission, and Building Division to ensure comprehensive review of site development plans and permit applications; • Managing the design and plan review of numerous redevelopment projects involving adaptive re-use, restoration and expansion of important historic buildings; and• Negotiating annexation agreements for major land developments along the west edge of the City.
Untch has more than four decades of municipal planning, community development and historic preservation experience in Illinois and Wisconsin, which has included the Village of Woodridge, the Village of Lincolnshire, the Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission, and the City of Aurora. He also is a charter member of the American Planning Association and a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners.
“It has been a privilege to work with so many Genevans who share a passion for the City and are so willing to work on making this special place even better,” Untch said. “Helping shape the City’s vision for the future – and seeing the vision come to life in new development projects – has been particularly rewarding for me.”
“The City of Geneva has been fortunate to have had Dick’s leadership and expertise. Because of his professionalism, he has been the guiding force to make sure our community has received the highest quality development possible” City Administrator Mary McKittrick said. “Dick also has been a wonderful mentor to his staff, and David DeGroot will make a smooth transition to lead Community Development.”
DeGroot has worked as Geneva’s City Planner since 2008 coordinating interdepartmental reviews of development applications and site plans, helping the public with planning and interpreting the City’s zoning ordinance, and serving as the staff liaison to the City’s Plan Commission. He has assisted with special and long-range projects such as the Downtown Station-Area Master Plan and the Southeast Master Plan as well as had significant involvement updating Geneva’s sign regulations, zoning and licensing regulations for adult-use businesses, and non-conforming-use regulations.
Before working for Geneva, DeGroot was a Planning Assistant with the City of West Chicago and a Planning and Zoning Official with the Winnebago County Regional Planning and Economic Development Department. He has a master’s degree in urban planning and public policy from the University of Illinois-Chicago and obtained his bachelor’s degree in geography from Southern Illinois University. He also has been a member of the American Planning Association throughout his career and became an accredited member of the Congress for the New Urbanism in 2012.
“Geneva is an excellent community to work for in the planning profession,” DeGroot said. “The community is engaged and consistently looks forward while working hard to preserve all that makes Geneva a unique place to live, work and visit. I look forward to the challenges that lie ahead and working with property owners, business owners, our City staff, and elected officials toward a vibrant future.”
“David has the skillset, the organizational knowledge and the desire to continue a tradition of excellence in his new position,” McKittrick said. “I’m happy to have David assuming his new management role and know he will do so without skipping a beat.”
DeGroot’s annual salary will be $92,302 when he assumes the director role later this month.
Paul Evans, who has served as the City’s Business Development Specialist in the Economic Development Department, has transitioned over to Community Development as the new City Planner. During the past six years, Evans has helped Geneva recruit and retain businesses and served as City liaison to the Downtown Merchant Meeting, Cultural Arts, and Business Improvement and Retention Committee.
Prior to starting in Geneva, Evans was the Assistant Director of Planning for the Village of Barrington where he headed the development review team and worked with the Plan Commission, Zoning Board of Appeals and Architectural Review Commission for four years. He also was employed 15 years by the Village of Schaumburg in planning and economic development and has been an active member of the American Planning Association for 25 years.
Evans received his undergraduate degree in political science, business administration and public administration from Augustana College. He has a master’s degree in community and regional planning from Iowa State University.