The Village of Wellington kicked off 2020 with the creation a new staff position called the director of sustainability and regulatory affairs (SARA). Robert Basehart, formerly the village’s planning, zoning and building director, has taken on the new role, which aims to keep Wellington out in front of issues likely to come up in the future.
When the new position was created, Basehart was just coming off a nearly three-year project spearheading the rewrite of Wellington’s Land Development Regulations, creating a new document that kept the regulations themselves virtually unchanged but dramatically simplified the document and made it one-quarter its original size.
In his new role, Basehart will work closely with Village Manager Paul Schofield on a number of key issues. “The village manager has a bucket list of things he would like to see accomplished before his retirement, whenever that may be,” said Basehart, the new SARA Director. “One was rewriting the LDRs, and now he wanted me to step away from day-to-day regulatory affairs and work with him and village staff on accomplishing some of the things he would like to get done.”
Some of the issues that will be receiving attention are Wellington’s Comprehensive Plan, the current status of the K Park property, the future of the State Road 7 corridor, working on issues related to the village’s build out, and the positive and negative incentives that can bring reinvestment in the community.
Basehart said an example of a negative incentive is increased code enforcement, while an example of a positive incentive could be allowing additional property uses, such as a recent increase in permitted height for buildings in some parts of the village that meet specific criteria.
He said that a big discussion over the next few years will be what the village wants to ultimately do with shuttered golf courses.
Basehart stressed that there is no specific timeline for any of these projects and that the ambitious, forward-looking agenda could fill up several more careers.
“Paul is a very proactive person,” Basehart said of Schofield. “Paul is a planner. He was once the planning, zoning and building director in Wellington before he became manager.”
Basehart said the end goal is to create a community that meets the vision set by the Wellington Village Council to be stable and sustainable decades into the future.
“This is a new opportunity to work closer with Paul, who is a talented friend whom I respect. And I get to work on an accelerated basis with no other responsibilities,” Basehart said.
Schofield had much the same assessment of the new position as Basehart did.
“There are a lot of plans coming up, and he’ll be doing what he does best and enjoys most,” Schofield said.