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Havelock Planning Director Chase set to leave post

By Ken Buday
Published: Wednesday, September 26, 2012 at 16:53 PM.

Scott Chase, Havelock’s director of planning, has announced his resignation effective Oct. 17.

Chase, who has held the position for six years, has taken a job in Raleigh as the director of community planning for The Wooten Company.

"I have some personal interests in the Raleigh area, and I have the opportunity to work for a private firm," Chase said of his decision to leave the city. "I’m real excited about the opportunity. It’s an architectural, developmental and engineering firm that’s been around 76 years. I’ll have the opportunity to manage a staff of about 15 people and be in charge of the planning division of the firm. It’s real exciting."

Chase called the decision to leave Havelock a difficult one.

"I really have enjoyed it," he said. "I’ve been here six years, and I have enjoyed every minute of it."

Chase has been involved in several large-scale projects in the city, including changes in the architectural standards and landscape regulations. The department has also taken steps to demolish dilapidated structures in the city, such as the old GOP headquarters building next to Dairy Queen and the old Tripp’s Seafood building near Merchant’s Tire.

"I’d like to say we have moved things forward," he said. "I think the general appearance along the main corridor is improved. I think there are some good trends along the corridor."

Chase has 14 years experience in county, city and private-sector planning.

"We at The Wooten Company are delighted to have Scott lead our planning and community development professionals," Bucky Moore, Wooten president, said in a statement. "His past experience directing municipal planning departments as well as owner/manager of a private planning and development consulting company have prepared him well for his role directing our initiatives to provide planning and community development services to our public and private sector clients throughout North Carolina."

Jim Freeman, Havelock city manager, said Chase has been a tremendous asset to the city in streamlining the building permit process within the planning department as well as helping with transportation issues, updating city building regulations and working with Cherry Point officials on land-use issues.

"Scott has done a wonderful job," Freeman said. "Those are some big shoes that need to be filled."

Chase becomes the third department head or manager to leave the city since July.

Dan Harbaugh left his position in July as director of public services to take a job as executive director of the Tuckaseigee Water and Sewer Authority in Jackson County.

David Harvell, Havelock’s assistant city manager, left last month to become town manager in Swansboro.

"It’s challenging," Freeman said of the departures. "But, I think we have good people who are filling in."

Freeman said the search for a public services director is nearing an end, with a decision coming possibly within a week or two.

The city had not budgeted money for an assistant city manager’s position beyond February, and Freeman said that position would likely be left vacant.

As for Scott’s replacement, the search is just beginning, Freeman said. An advertisement for the position should be out by the end of the week, with a 30-day application period taking place before interviews start.