Heather Sayler, Northwood’s planning, zoning and economic development coordinator, has resigned, effective Sept. 5, to take a position as senior planner for the City of Bowling Green.
Sayler had hoped to become Northwood’s new economic development director, but council is divided on whether to create the position. It was on council’s agenda earlier this month, but later tabled.
The city hired Sayler, who has a Masters degree in planning, in 2003. She had wanted to focus more on planning and economic development instead of zoning in Northwood, said Administrator Pat Bacon.
“That is her expertise. I knew she was becoming frustrated,” said Bacon, who is sorry to see Sayler leave. “She wanted desperately to get out of zoning, and into planning. I liked her job performance, dedication and professionalism. She was a good fit for our community.”
Bacon praised Sayler for helping the city update its comprehensive master plan, which is a guide for future land use, establishing a Central Business District, and recommending a market analysis of the city, which is currently under review by council.
“She accomplished a great deal here. Heather now can put her degree and enthusiasm into Bowling Green. Our loss is their gain,” said Bacon.
Sayler told The Press that she recently saw the senior planner position posted in the newspaper, and decided to apply for it.
“It’s pretty much exactly what I do now, except for a lot more money. And there’s a lot more room for growth there,” she said.
She starts her new job on Sept. 29.
Sayler, who previously worked for Springfield Township and the City of Toledo, said she enjoyed her time in Northwood.
“It was a very valuable experience. You can do more than the job description requires, or you don’t have to,” said Sayler. “I’m the type of person who goes beyond that job description.”
Sayler said she would have liked to move the city forward further, “but I wasn’t getting the feedback from council.”
“Small towns like the status quo. There’s the feeling that if it’s not broken, don’t fix it,” she said. “You can’t fight it. You just do your job.”
Mayor Mark Stoner said he was sorry to see her go.
“She will be missed. She is very good at planning. She did a lot of research on Central Business Districts in our area so we could choose which type would be best for Northwood. She did an awful lot on background to get information to the planning commission so we could review it. We’ve had four public forums on the Central Business District. That took a while to hammer out. Just last week, the planning commission recommended that it go to council, which will hold a public hearing on it.”
Councilman Dave Gallaher, chairman of the Economic Development Committee, commended Sayler for going “above and beyond the call of duty.”
“I think she did a great job,” said Gallaher. “There are so many things she did not have to do and she still would have fulfilled her obligation and responsibility. I think we’re a lot farther today on a lot of things than we were when she started because of the effort she put into the job. She looked at what needed to get done, and tackled some things that otherwise would not have gotten any attention at all.”
Stoner said he and Bacon will discuss how to fill the position.
“I’ve talked to a few people on council, and they’re leaning towards advertising for it,” said Stoner.
The position, he added, requires a college degree.