After conducting a nationwide search for a planning director, Anne Arundel County Executive John R. Leopold has made acting director Lois Villemaire his choice to oversee the county's fast-paced growth.
Villemaire, a 58-year-old Annapolis resident, takes over the department at a time of explosive growth, fueled by the 20,000 jobs expected to arrive at Fort Meade within the next four years. The base expansion is triggering billions of dollars in retail, office and residential construction across Anne Arundel - and putting pressure on the county to upgrade roads and other infrastructure.
Villemaire, a 26-year veteran of the planning department and the permit application center, said Leopold informed her of his decision Thursday. The county executive was to make a formal announcement today.
Her appointment rounds out Leopold's cabinet. Villemaire was in her seventh week as acting director. She will make $131,000 yearly.
Among her chief responsibilities will be overseeing the county's review of the General Development Plan, the county's comprehensive growth blueprint that is reviewed every 10 years. Leopold said during the fall campaign that the plan will be crucial in establishing a capital-projects schedule that will direct the flow of growth.
"Ms. Villemaire shares my vision for a revised General Development Plan that keeps South County rural, revitalizes older communities and directs growth where the infrastructure can best absorb it," Leopold said in a statement. He did not return a phone call yesterday seeking comment.