Moffat County hires planner

After nearly four months without a planning department, Moffat County will have a new planner later this month.

Ben Crippen of Craig accepted the job Thursday.

Crippen's duties will include administering zoning applications, compiling planning data and coordinating planning meetings.

He said he doesn't have any specific plans or goals for the position yet.

"I have a lot to learn, and that's going to be the majority of the work to begin with," Crippen said.

Crippen doesn't have any planning experience, but having worked in construction, he said he knows "quite a bit" about zoning.

Crippen has spent the past two years working as an equipment operator at the Moffat County landfill. He will start as planner when the landfill finds his replacement.

Crippen, 36, is from Montana. He has lived in Craig since 1998.

He earned a degree in natural resources from Colorado Northwest Community College in 2003 and has worked with the Bureau of Land Management and Colorado State Parks.

The planner's annual salary will start at $33,000 and could climb to $42,000 based on Crippen's performance and qualifications.

Crippen will be the first full-time employee in the planning department since 2003, when the Moffat County commissioners cut the position from full time to part time to save money and balance the 2004 budget.

Former planning director Sue Graler said last month that the position required too much work to be part time.

Since the planning position went part time, rewriting zoning regulations and overhauling the home address system for rural areas of the county have not been addressed.

Graler resigned as planning director in March.

Building Inspector Pat Mosbey has been handling some of the planner's duties since Graler resigned.

Crippen said he wants to tackle the work that has piled up since the position became part time.

"The back-dated work that has been piling up is going to be a priority," he said.

Moffat County Human Re----sources Director Lynette Running said four people applied for the position, which was first advertised May 20.

The Moffat County commissioners approved the position in May by a 2-1 vote. Commissioner Tom Gray cast the lone dissenting vote.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.