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Top Zoning Official Leaving County Gov’t

by ARLnow.com June 28, 2011 at 5:06 pm 5,147 37 Comments

(Updated at 6:05 p.m.) Arlington County Zoning Administrator Melinda Artman is resigning her post to enter a seminary.

In a statement, released after ARLnow.com first reported the resignation, Arlington County Department of Community Planning, Housing and Development Director Robert Brosnan called Artman “a dedicated and talented public servant.”

“She brought a high level of professionalism and a strong sense of fairness to her work,” Brosnan said. “She arrived in Arlington at a time when the Zoning Office was beginning a transformation into a higher performing organization and she has helped shape the office and the work of the staff in a very positive way. We thank her for her service to Arlington County, and wish her the very best as she embarks on this new challenge.”

Artman plans to leave her position in August to join the Virginia Theological Seminary, where she will pursue her dreams of becoming an Episcopal minister.

Artman became Arlington’s zoning administrator in 2008, after 11 years with the Loudoun County government. She has 37 years of public service experience, including 25 in Northern Virginia. Her tenure in Arlington has been marked by a string of controversies tied to her by-the-books enforcement of the county’s stringent zoning code.

“By many accounts, Artman hasn’t been a favorite person among property and business owners,” TBD.com noted last year, in an article about Artman’s desire to help with the comprehensive rewrite of the county’s zoning ordinance.

Brosnan says he will name an acting Zoning Administrator “soon.”

  • Lou


    • MiffedBird

      *Jumps out the nearest appropriately sized window*

  • Jackie

    During Ms. Artman’s Loudoun County tenure, she decided to enforce the zoning code on a bed & breakfast that didn’t obtain a proper rezoning for events. This decision was announced 5 days before my wedding scheduled at said b&b. Long story short, we were out a wedding location, and scrambled to find a new location. While I cannot comment personally on her Arlington tenure, this Arlingtonian wishes her goodbye and good luck.

    • BoredHouseWife

      how is it her fault?

    • KalashniKEV

      That sounds just like the time I tried to book the cockfighting ring for my birthday…

    • NPGMBR

      I hardly understand why you blame her for doing her job! It was the responsibility of the B&B to secure the proper license thus preventing the cancellation of your wedding plans.

      If she had not done her job and something horrible happened at the B&B related to activities that the B&B was not zoned for, you’d be complaining that County Staff didn’t do their jobs.

      • Lou

        Yeah, like nobody blames Arlington for cracking down on Westover Beer Garden for not securing their proper licenses.

        What if something horrible happened at the Beer Garden related to their flaunting of the zoning regulations? People would complain Arlington did not enforce their zoning properly.

  • ok guys now give her the same religious intolerance you gave Mr McGhee.

    • doodly

      She’s not running for office or openly calling for religious influence on government. She’s just being religious. Nothing wrong with that.

  • Thes

    I wonder how long it will take the Sun-Gazette to print a story about this? Perhaps they will wait until the official County press release, or the awards ceremony.

    • Thes

      In a statement, released after ARLnow.com first reported the resignation, Arlington County Department of Community Planning, Housing and Development Director Robert Brosnan called Artman “a dedicated and talented public servant.”

      I guess one of ArlNow’s “readers who fills in the details” on breaking news is the County Planning Director.

      • MayorOfWestover

        What in the world is your point? You sound bitter, and a bit tin-foily.

  • Small Business Owner


  • Skeptical

    Oh, dear, that little outlined box is sad. If you have to stick that in your paper, you’ve already lost the argument. It’s like a jilted girlfriend protesting she’s just as pretty as the new flame.

    And I say that as has a soft spot for the old SG and visits its website every day.

  • FedUp

    A strong sense of fairness? I don’t think so. The County now has an opportunity to hire someone who understands this community and wants to help businesses rather than hinder them. Anyway, I wish her luck in the seminary.

  • Civic Activist

    Although I did have one significant run-in with her concerning an issue in my neighborhood, overall I found her to be knowledgible professionally and fair [she could be a hard-nosed enforcer with impartiality]. I wish her well and hope that her replacement is as qualified.

    • Charlie

      Rumor is that a former member of the County Planning Board is the top consideration, having turned it down last time.

  • Roquer

    Uh-oh, sure can’t have any possible mention of God in the workplace. She probably was a closet Republican too. Had to go.

    • doodly

      Wow, nobody said that.

      • Stu Pendus

        Signs are the Devil’s business card.

        • ARLterp


  • Arlington Solutions

    We should be sure to remember that Arlington County hasn’t been exactly honest and forthright in the description of the terms and reasons behind high-level departures in recent years.

    • Webster

      The real story will come out at the next Arlington Democrats meeting in a sheepish speech by a Board member like with Brown.

    • doodly

      Yes it has. No information isn’t the same as false information.

    • Frank Alfred

      Well then this reason wins for creativity if it’s made up.

  • Zena

    Suggest this is about power at play–Bob Brosnan rolls his first head at the feet of his beloved developers and signals to one and all on County staff just where they need to bow to save their heads and their jobs!

  • KalashniKEV

    I heard she’s having a “going into the seminary” party this Friday at Whitlow’s. It’s gonna be WILD…

    • DSS10

      I bet all of the local developers and house flippers will be buying her drinks too…. They owe her.

  • When was Brosnan appointed?

    When was Robert Brosnan appointed to head up the office? I missed that announcement.

    • Stu Pendus

      Late April of this year.

  • Church Lady

    Who made you violate this zoning ordinance??

    Could it be, could it be, could it be … SATAN?!?

  • Zoning Victim

    Fairness? Professionalism? By the book? What is this, the Twilight Zone? She manipulates the rules to deny anything she can and has no problem redefining (breaking) the law to do it, but since she’s a county bureaucrat, I guess the law doesn’t apply to her. She keeps getting away with it after all.

    She’s a horrible curmudgeon of a person who enjoys denying people the right to use their property in accordance with the state law and county ordinances. She’ll try to act courteous and polite in a very patronizing way while she’s lying and circumventing the legal process; I suppose that’s what counts for professionalism in government bureaucrats these days. I find it ridiculous that she considers herself worthy to be a minister.

    I wish I could believe that her replacement would be better, but if the CB went out and hired someone like her (she already had multiple complaints against her when she worked in Loudoun County), they must like ZAs with deny all at any cost policies.

  • ArlingtonCountyTaxpayer

    this was long overdue.
    it is fine to have a strict interpretation of the zoning law. but don’t play games.
    Ms. Artman is a control freak personality. Her mantra appeared to be that all other decisions were wrong and not possible to “work out”. But everything she could touch/bless was ‘workable”.
    People at this level need to be more mature and understand that the playground has been there a long time and will be there a long time after they have left. Just because it is now your ball, doesn’t mean everyone else is wrong and that anyone who doesn’t play your game is wrong.
    It was like having a 15 year old with no friends running the show.
    I just don’t know how she could have been hired in the first place — her track record in Loudoun, Fairfax and Alexandria is like a demolition derby course — going in many circles, many directions and lots of damage but nothing constructive was EVER accomplished.

    • FedUp



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