The town of Canandaigua's former planning director begins work Monday, Aug. 12, as Ontario County associate planner


By Scott Pukos

CANANDAIGUA — With former town of Canandaigua Planning Director Tim Jensen beginning his new position as the Ontario County associate planner today, Aug. 12, the town is moving forward with a plan to find his replacement.
In the short-term, the MRB Group, a professional engineering firm, will help with planning duties, said Town Supervisor Sam Casella. Specifically, Lance Brabant, a senior planning associate with the MRB Group, will continue to work with the town on planning matters. Greg Hotaling, of the MRB Group, will also assist with projects, including the addition of a sewer main on Purdy and Mobile roads; construction is expected to begin in October on that project.
Casella noted that there will not be any new major planning projects added to the mix during the search for a new director. If something does come up, it will most likely be set aside, he added.
With Jensen’s exit, Casella is serving as the temporary head of the planning department. Casella added that there is a team in place — that includes Brabant and himself — to work on planning duties while looking for a new director. Earlier this month, Jensen met with that group to further inform them about the status of ongoing projects in the town.
The town has not yet advertised the job opening, Casella said. The board is currently in the discussion phase to determine who they would like to step into the vacant planning position.
“We have a process in place to find the most appropriate replacement,” Casella said. “We don’t want to rush into anything.”
Despite his move to the county, Jensen will continue to serve as the chairman, and represent the town, on The Hydrofracking Intermunicipal Working Group — a group that is currently looking into a law that would potentially ban items related to the controversial gas drilling method.
“It’s just the next logical step,” Jensen said of the job change. He has worked for the town for the past three years, and before that he worked for Ontario County for 20 years, he said.
Jensen previously worked as a senior planner. Due to civil service rules, he was first added back to the county roster as a senior planner. That job was then immediately terminated and Jensen was promoted to associate planner, said the county’s director of planning, Thomas Harvey.
Mary Krause, Ontario County’s director of human resources, elaborated on the process, saying that since Jensen was previously a senior planner with the county he was eligible for reinstatement. From there, he was then eligible for the promotion.
The associate planner position was previously held by Harvey, who was appointed to his current position in February.
“(The associate planner) is the director’s right-hand man,” Harvey said. “They’re the next person in the chain of command in the planning department. He’s in charge of the three senior planners.”
Harvey added that one of Jensen’s large-scale projects will be to update the county’s All-Hazard Mitigation Plan. The plan is to determine vulnerabilities — whether it’s a terrorist attack, natural disaster or something else —and look at ways to mitigate those potential problems. The plan is updated every five years, and is a project that takes about a year to complete, Harvey said. He added the mitigation plan is required in order to make the county eligible for state and federal disaster relief funds.