New planning director to focus on Streetsboro's master plan

by Mike Lesko | reporter Published:

Streetsboro -- John Cieszkowski Jr., Streetsboro's new planning and zoning director, got a chance to meet some city officials when the city began its zoning code update in 2010.

"It was an opportunity for me to work with them," he said. "They're familiar with me, and I was comfortable with them. That should make my transition much easier."

Councilman Chuck Kocisko remembered Cieszkowski from the city's zoning code meetings.

"I'm encouraged [by his hiring]," Kocisko said. "He said he is very anxious to come and work for us."

City Council unanimously approved a contract for Cieszkowski Feb. 11 for his new role, which he is scheduled to begin Feb. 25.

His annual salary will be $53,500, according to Clay Morris, director of human resources.

Cieszkowski's hiring comes in the wake of voters deciding in the November general election to split the planning and economic development director position into two separate jobs, as recommended by the Streetsboro Charter Review Commission.

The combined position was held by Jeff Pritchard, whose employment with the city ended in December.

Barring unforeseen circumstances, Mayor Glenn Broska said he hopes to present a candidate for economic development director to Council on Feb. 25.

Kocisko said he likes the idea of two people doing the two jobs.

"When you're able to do one job instead of two, you're going to do a better job," Kocisko said. "John [Cieszkowski] only has one job on his mind. He doesn't have to worry about two jobs. That's a benefit for the city.

"My previous concern was how the city was going to pay for the two positions," Kocisko added, "but I think [splitting the dual job in two] is a good thing."

Broska said Cieszkowski's first task will be to work on the review of the city's master plan.

"John will have a huge part in that," Broska said. "He will also work hand-in-hand with our new economic development director to pursue business for our city."

Cieszkowski said while meeting with the mayor, "I was inspired by his vision for the future of the city. I like the fact that it's still a growing community."

Broska said 26 applications were submitted for the position of planning and zoning director, and from that, he said the candidates were pared down to two.

"John has an extensive history in planning and zoning," Broska said. "He is going to be able to hit the ground running. His education and his knowledge are two of the things that really appealed to us."

Cieszkowski has been the principal planner for McKenna Associates, where he has worked since 2004.

He has been in charge of the company's Ohio office since 2008, and has written site plan reviews, issued permits and done "all the tasks that would be asked of a planning director."

Broska said once the city's master plan review is done, Cieszkowski will assist the planning commission in updating the city's zoning code.

Broska said Cieszkowski also has an extensive background in grant writing.

"That will increase our chances of obtaining more grants," Broska said.

"Grant writing is something I've done a lot of," Cieszkowski said. "I enjoy the grant writing process. This is absolutely an opportunity I'm excited about.

"My ultimate goal, when I started working as a planner, was to start in the private sector, then apply that experience to a single city," he said. "I plan to put all my time, energy and passion into helping create the best future possible for Streetsboro."

Email: mlesko@recordpub.com

Phone: 330-541-9439

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