New planning employee sets goals

— When he was selecting his next job, Brian Berndt looked all over the West.

Berndt, the city of Steamboat's new assistant planning director, ended up in Steamboat Springs because he was impressed with the city's planning staff.

Berndt, whose name is pronounced "bear-ent," said Tues--day that he came to Steamboat in part because he was impressed with Tom Leeson, the city's recently appointed planning director.

"I think that my skills complement what he has; it's a good mix," Berndt said.

Berndt said one of his skills is his maturity. "I don't get my feathers ruffled," he said. "I am levelheaded about things."

Berndt said he has dealt with codes, but he also understands how to implement them productively.

"I bring that full-circle perspective," he said. "Designing things that really aren't usable by people is a waste of time."

Berndt said his goal for the department is to work ahead instead of being reactive. He also wants to create a higher level of trust among planners and the City Council as well as the citizens. The department's employees will be doing more public outreach, he said, and they also will implement some neighborhood planning programs.

Before he came to Steam--boat, Berndt was the economic development director for Tooele, Utah. He also has served as a development director for Draper City, Utah, and worked in planning in Scottsdale, Ariz. Before that, Berndt taught for Arizona State University's architecture and planning department.

Berndt earned his undergraduate degree at the University of Utah and earned his graduate degree at Arizona State University. He grew up traveling around the world because of his father's military service.

Berndt has a wife, Merla, and three children: Josh, 29, Alex, 24, and Katie, 17.

Berndt said one reason he came to Steamboat is the unique and quaint aspects of the city.

You don't find that very often, he said, and the city has met his expectations during his month here. "I get surprised every day, and that's what I like," he said.

-- To reach Dana Strongin, call 871-4229 or e-mail dstrongin@steamboatpilot.com

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