BY PAUL LEIGHTON
---- — BEVERLY — A former winner of the Massachusetts Young Planner Award is in line to become the city’s next planning director.
Mayor Mike Cahill’s nomination of Aaron Clausen was approved by the City Council’s Legal Affairs Committee on Monday night and is expected to be approved by the full council next week.
Clausen has worked for the city of Lowell’s planning department since 2007. He was awarded the Young Planner Award by the Massachusetts chapter of the American Planning Association in 2011.
Clausen told councilors he was looking forward to coming to Beverly, which he described as a “really exciting town” for a planner.
“It’s a very unique space,” he said. “You’ve got the ocean on one side, the harbor on one side and the river on one side. It’s a fun place to work from a planning perspective.”
Clausen will succeed Tina Cassidy, who served as planning director for 18 years under former Mayor Bill Scanlon and was not reappointed by Cahill. Clausen’s salary will be $80,000.
Clausen, a native of Oregon, has a master’s degree in urban planning from the University of Michigan and a bachelor’s degree in business marketing from Bentley College. He was certified as a planner by the American Institute of Certified Planners in 2011.
Clausen served as an associate planner in Lowell for five years before being promoted to senior planner in 2012. According to a blog by the officer of the city manager, Clausen improved public participation and access to information regarding development in the city. He also led the effort to get Lowell designated as one of the state’s first Green Communities and assisted in updating the city’s master plan.
Clausen told councilors he helped the city acquire a $5 million federal grant to improve energy efficiency in downtown historic districts.
City Councilor Jason Silva said Clausen’s hiring comes at a critical time for the city as it considers how to best utilize the downtown, the waterfront and the Brimbal Avenue/Route 128 corridor.
“I’m excited for the opportunity to take a fresh look at things,” Silva said.
The Legal Affairs Committee also approved Cahill’s appointments of Ned Barrett, an attorney, and Wayne Miller, a commercial airline pilot, to the Planning Board.
Staff writer Paul Leighton can be reached at 978-338-2675 or firstname.lastname@example.org.