Tulsa hires first city planning director
BY KEVIN CANFIELD World Staff Writer
Tuesday, November 08, 2011
11/08/11 at 9:13 AM
Dawn Warrick was named the city's first director of planning and economic development on Monday.
For Warrick, who was born in Germany and bounced around as an Army brat, the new job is a coming home of sorts.
She received her bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Arkansas. She later was zoning and development administrator for the city of Fayetteville, Ark., before moving to Louisville, Ky., where she has been the assistant director of planning and design.
Her father lives in Tulsa, and she has other relatives in Joplin.
"We moved away for my job," Warrick said, "so getting back to Tulsa gets us back within driving distance of much of our family."
Mayor Dewey Bartlett said Warrick's ties to the region - and her desire to return - should send an important message to Tulsans.
"To me that shows a desire to stay and not to treat Tulsa as a stepping stone in one's career path," he said. "We want someone who is going to be committed to Tulsa and this region."
Warrick said she would like to be a part of implementing the city's new comprehensive plan, commonly known as PlaniTulsa. Adopted last year after two years of public engagement, the plan sets out development guidelines for the next 30 years.
"I think the plan represents a different outlook and a different future for Tulsans when it comes to the built environment," she said. "The city is addressing concepts such as sustainability, mixed-use centers, complete streets and connecting activity centers with transportation.
"Those are all core functions that support the quality of life that planning can provide to a city."
Warrick said that ultimately the private sector drives development in any community but that government can help by "taking steps to identify where we can incentivize certain kinds of development."
Her immediate goal is to get the city's zoning code updated so it can be used to implement the new comprehensive plan.
The city is expected to announce soon the hiring of a consultant to help in that process.
In the meantime, the comprehensive plan is being implemented through the use of bridge amendments.
Modifying the code "is really a big step because bringing the rest of it along is really dependent on getting those regulations the way we need them," Warrick said. "It will make everything else easier."
Bartlett said he would like Warrick to begin implementing PlaniTulsa and three key small area plans immediately.
He also will ask her to review the city's existing planning and development divisions to determine whether organizational changes are needed.
Warrick was one of 51 applicants identified by Ralph Andersen & Associates, a California executive recruitment firm. The company was hired by the city in June after none of the three internal candidates was offered the job.
An internal hiring committee narrowed the finalists to three.
Bartlett said that although he had the final say on the selection, "ultimately it was the consensus of the committee" that Warrick be hired.
Her first day on the job in Tulsa will be Dec. 16. She will be paid $122,481 a year.
"We are all looking at this as a big adventure," Warrick said.
Education: Bachelor's degree from the University of Arkansas in landscape architecture; master's degree from University of Arkansas in geography with emphasis in urban planning.
Work history: Assistant director of planning and design services for Louisville, Ky. Former zoning and development administrator for Fayetteville, Ark.
Family: Husband, Brant Warrick; son, 11; and daughter, 9.
Original Print Headline: Tulsa hires its first city planning director
Kevin Canfield 918-581-8313