Danielle McKnight was hired as the new Town Planner in North Reading. She began working Jan. 2 and is still getting to know the town.
McKnight has a bachelor's degree from Smith College in comparative literature and a master’s degree in urban and environmental policy and planning from Tufts University, she said. McKnight was formerly the staff planner for the City of Salem, according to Town Administrator Greg Balukonis.
When asked why she chose the position in North Reading, McKnight complimented the town's community and beauty and the position itself, "seemed like a great opportunity in terms of professional growth."
For now, she is getting up to speed on projects, and is "very excited to be here."
Her biggest goals at the moment include making sure the Community Planning Commission has all of the information it needs to review its projects, supporting applicants through the application process and responding to questions and information requests from the public, she said. For the immediate future, she plans to focus on getting to know the town better and learning what the community wants so she will be in a better position to figure out what long term planning projects residents would like to see in place.
The former planning administrator Heidi Griffin resigned last May for personal reasons. When Griffin first started with the Town of North Reading, the department just looked at permitting, but she chose to go beyond that by writing grants. One of the several she wrote gained the town 1.7 million dollars.
When asked if she would do the same, McKnight said that would depend on what the planning commission would like her to do. Her first priority would be to meet their needs, but she would consider pursuing grant opportunities with their guidance.
In her spare time, McKnight enjoys cooking, reading and traveling. She lives in Arlington with her husband and two-year-old daughter. She is expecting her second child, a boy.
You can contact McKnight via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.