by mike lesko | Reporter

Aurora -- The city plans to hire an assistant planning and zoning director to succeed Denise Januska, who was officially promoted to head of the planning-zoning-building department earlier this month.

Mayor Ann Womer Benjamin said the city anticipates filling the new position within three months. She said the city "anticipates greater development activity in the near future with the possibility of the rezoning of the Geauga Lake area under Issue 11 and the increased number of building permits resulting from the overall economic improvement."

"We need flexibility to address these growth opportunities," she said.

Januska previously served as a planning and zoning inspector [city planner. She was paid $61,757.70 in 2013.

Womer Benjamin said Januska was considered the next level in the chain-of-command within the department. She served as acting director whenever there was a need under the previous administration, in which Rich Wehrenberg was the director.

Previously, the department structure included two planning and zoning inspectors.

"After careful review, the city has determined the ideal structure would include one inspector and an assistant director who could absorb a variety of duties and responsibilities at a higher level of proficiency as needs arise," the mayor said. "The department and city will be better served by this new structure."

Womer Benjamin said Lionel Finch, who serves as chief residential building official working directly under Januska, would not be affected by the change. Finch and the assistant director would report separately to Januska.

Womer Benjamin said she is pleased with Januska's performance.

"Since January, Denise has risen to the duties and demands asked of her," she said. "Not only has she managed the day-to-day operations of the department, but also she has provided critical analysis and strategic advice on the creation of the [proposed] Geauga Lake Development District, Issue 11," she said.

"She has handled planning commission and the other related committee assignments with professionalism, and has dealt with the public with the responsiveness and high level of service that I expect of my directors. She has earned my confidence, and that of Council."

Januska is now paid $85,000 per year.


Phone: 330-541-9400 ext. 4187