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Meet Randi Doveton, Hall County’s new planning director
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Randi Doveton is settling in Tuesday, May 10, 2022, to her office at the Hall County Government Center. Doveton has just started as Hall County's new planning director. - photo by Scott Rogers

Randi Doveton, Hall County’s new planning and development director, finished work in Macon-Bibb County on Friday, April 30, and started her first day in Hall that next Monday. 

The county’s previous planning director, Sarah McQuade, resigned without notice in November, and a couple different interim directors filled in for nearly six months while the county reviewed 15 applications. Two finalists were interviewed before Doveton was selected.

 “We really needed her,” said Katie Crumley, public information officer for the county.

The planning director oversees several divisions including business license review, building inspections, current and long-term planning, code enforcement, development review and geographic information system services. The department has 35 full-time employees, and Doveton makes an annual salary of $135,000.

Doveton worked as the zoning director in Macon-Bibb for about 10 years and was the senior development review officer before her promotion. 

Planning department staff play an important role in making recommendations to the Hall County Planning Commission and the Board of Commissioners when developers or property owners apply to rezone land or to permit special uses. 

“It’s making sure that (you are) zoning apples with apples, oranges with oranges,” Doveton said. “There’s a place for everything, and to make sure that it’s compatible, that it’s intentional growth, it doesn’t just happen.”

The comprehensive plan drives everything, Doveton said, and the county is due for a big update to its five-year plan this summer after it started a minor update process earlier this year

Hall County grew by 13% in population from 2010 to 2020, according to census data, with about 203,136 residents. South Hall has continued to see rapid residential growth, and North Hall and Gainesville have attracted new industries such as Kubota along the Highway 365 corridor. 

“Growth’s not bad, it just needs to be strategic,” Doveton said. “It needs to be carefully planned. It needs to be deliberate. A map gets you where you want to go, so your comp plan is your map.”

A timeline for the next comprehensive plan will likely be detailed later this summer, Doveton said. 

The county must plan for both outside growth and public amenities like parks, which bring value to residents and businesses, Doveton said. 

“Good companies want good amenities and good quality of life balance for their employees,” she said. “That’s going to involve good schools, museums, cultural activities and all of those things, and if they can find them in Hall County versus going all the way into metro — this is the place to be. … All of that revolves around good planning and very, very deliberate growth.”

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Randi Doveton is settling in Tuesday, May 10, 2022, to her office at the Hall County Government Center. Doveton has just started as Hall County's new planning director. - photo by Scott Rogers