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County Fills Vacant Planning Director Position

by Katie Pyzyk July 31, 2012 at 11:45 am 3,509 38 Comments

Arlington County has hired Robert J. Duffy as its new planning director, to fill a position that’s been vacant for months.

“Bob Duffy has a long and varied career in local government planning and leadership positions,” said Robert E. Brosnan, director of Arlington’s Department of Community Planning, Housing and Development. “He is exactly what the Planning Department needs right now as we move into implementation for some of our major planning projects to create more affordable housing and continue our smart growth, transit-oriented development.”

Duffy was most recently a planning supervisor with the Prince George’s County Planning Department. Previously, he was Director of Planning and Community Development for the Town of Brookline, Massachusetts; Assistant Director of the Louisville Development Authority and Downtown Development Corporation; Town Planning and Development Administrator for the Town of Southampton, New York; and the Director of Planning for the City of Sanibel, Florida.

“I am excited and honored to have the opportunity to serve the citizens of Arlington County,” said Duffy. “I look forward to leading our planning staff and working with Arlington residents and businesses, Planning Commission members, the County Manager and County Board Members to further advance Arlington’s nationally recognized commitment to community-based planning, smart growth and active civic engagement.”

Duffy fills a position that had been open since Peter Katz resigned in March, after less than five months on the job. Duffy will start in September.

In a press release, the county gave the following details about Duffy’s experience:

Duffy has managed and facilitated a number of award-winning planning projects such as the Central Annapolis Road Sector Plan, which transformed an auto-oriented corridor into a “complete street” with a transit village as part of the planned Purple Line light rail transit project. The project has been recognized by the American Architectural Foundation External link and featured in the recently published “Living Streets: Strategies for Crafting Public Space”.

Duffy provided leadership on the planning study of Brookline, Massachusetts. The Comprehensive Plan 2005 – 2015 External link focused on future growth within Brookline’s transit corridors and establishes neighborhood conservation, affordable housing, and business district improvement strategies. The plan won 2006 Outstanding Planning Award from the American Planning Association, Massachusetts Chapter.

He also led planning and improvement efforts that contributed to the transformation of the historic, but deteriorated West Main Street in downtown Louisville, Kentucky External link into a “vibrant commercial, residential, retail, cultural, and entertainment district. The West Main Street Cultural Arts District was recognized by the American Planning Association in 2008 as one of America’s “Great Streets”.

Duffy currently serves as a Technical Advisory Panel Committee member for the Washington District Council of the Urban Land institute (ULI), and a board member for the American Planning Association’s (APA) National Capital Area Chapter. He is also the Vice Chairman of the Parker-Gray Historic District Architectural Review Board in Alexandria.

He has a bachelor’s degree in Planning from the University of Cincinnati. His start date is Sept. 10, 2012. Duffy and his wife Adele Cramer currently reside in Alexandria. They enjoy hiking, cycling and kayaking.

  • looks like the hunchback of notre dame in a toupee, cute.

    • sunflower

      wolves have no “taste” for the gaelic persona

  • sunflower

    let’s get it over with: did “vibrant” work in louisville…….

  • UA

    I think we have created more affordable housing then we can handle as it is.

    • Chris M.

      Until every recent college grad making 45K gets the support he/she needs to live in his metro assessable apartment without a roommate, their job will never be done.

      • UA

        Are you serious? I really can’t tell.

      • Hollywood

        Whoa whoa whoa, who said anything about college grad or being employed?? Your talking about affordable housing, right?? That means Uncle Sugar takes care of me cradle to grave, you tax paying suckers are missing out on this gravy train!

        • speonjosh

          Your moniker is appropriate as your comment seems to be divorced from reality…..

  • Clarendon

    Bob Brosnan, Bob Duffy, Coincidence ? I think not.

    Anyway, seems like a reasonable resume for the job.

  • Marlo Stanfield

    Salary? He make more than Greg?

  • Liz Lemon

    Is he related to Dennis Duffy?

  • G Clifford Prout (now moderated for extra purity)

    Great diversity in this batch of new hires I must say.

    • KalashniKEV

      Maybe one or even BOTH of these guys are members of a protected class… you don’t know.

      • drax

        We’re all members of a protected class. It really means “protected classification,” i.e. race, religion, etc. All races and religions etc. are protected from discrimination.

  • Marlo Stanfield

    Patrick Duffy’s cousin

  • Elmer

    Quick. Where’s my sunglasses? The vibrancy of these continuing high level appointments is blinding.

    • drax


  • Marlo Stanfield


    • South Awwlington


      • Marlo Stanfield

        Public Information yo

        • South Awwlington

          So look it up, yo.

  • YTK

    I think he may havwe donated his salary to the Arlington Trolley Fund.

    • DCBuff

      Zimmie & Co has kindly donated your salary, and mine, to the Trolley Fund.

  • JohnB

    Sounds like a well qualified guy. Happy to have him aboard.

  • Peach Keen

    Welcome to Arlington. Please permit me the opportunity to provide you with input and assistance. I will do whatever I can to insure we have a successful outcome for all.

  • speonjosh

    Why the frequent moves?

    • spookiness

      Because like any other job you have to move around to move up. Doesn’t pay to stay at the same place long.

  • internet tourettes

    Mr Duffy,

    If you stop BCN and the rest of the tear down builders there will be affordable housing in Arlington. If there can be enforceable zoning in Arlington then you can do the same here.

    • Josh S

      How would you do that, though? Even more restrictive limits on building heights, setbacks, etc? If someone is selling their home, you can’t prevent someone who buys that home from then tearing it down and building a new one. As long as the land is more valuable than the building (which it seems like it will be from now on), this will continue to happen.

      In any case, preventing tear downs would hardly create affordable housing. Your average 1945 rambler is still going to sell for over $450,000.

  • KalashniKEV

    What’s the salary?

    • Mr. Duffy will be making about $130,000 per year, we’re told, compared to the $150,000 salary for Peter Katz.

      • JnA

        Peter Katz also lives in Alexandria. Why can’t they move to Arlington if they reach a certain management level?

  • Clarendonian

    He has moved around a lot and wasn’t in PG Co. very long, why???

    • Clarendon

      Good interview question.


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