Grand County announced hiring new leadership for the County Planning & Zoning Department. John J. Guenther will take the helm this week as the Grand County Planning & Zoning director and Elissa Martin will be the department’s associate planner.

“Collectively, the pair brings over 40 years of planning experience to the County,” a press release announcing the hiring said.

Guenther is relocating from the Province of Saskatchewan, Canada, where he served as the Director of Community Planning. In that role, he oversaw 350 jurisdictions, reviewed zoning and comprehensive plan reviews and led long-range and current planning in urban and rural communities, according to Grand County staff. He had also served as Planning and Development Services Director for Prince Albert, Saskatchewan and in public community development departments in Washington State; Surprise, Arizona; San Diego, California; City of North Vancouver; and Alberta as either assistant director or director.

“Guenther has over 25 years of experience in building regulations, urban planning and enforcement, including official community plan development; community indicators; community outreach; master planning for transportation, parks, land use and housing; and strategic planning,” the release stated, adding that he also “has a keen sense of humor.”

Elissa Martin will join the Planning & Zoning staff on June 28 and will relocate from California.

“Previously, Elissa lived and worked as a planner in Southern Utah and has witnessed first-hand the effects of rapid development and growth throughout the region,” the statement from Grand County reported, noting that Martin is a fourth-generation Utahn.

“Guenther and Martin’s diverse skills and experience are well suited for several large upcoming planning projects,” the statement reads, noting that this year Grand County will begin a General Plan update, a Public Lands Bill, and a Transportation Plan update in the coming year.