City Manager's Office - March 6, 2018
Paul Norby, the planning director for Winston-Salem and Forsyth County since 1999, has announced that he will retire Aug. 1. He is the longest-serving planning director since the department was established in 1948.
During his 19-year tenure Norby was instrumental in furthering the Planning Department's push to be a proactive partner with residents, developers and builders. These efforts include compilation of the Legacy Comprehensive Plan in 2001 and the Legacy 2030 update in 2014, downtown revitalization plans, development opportunities maps, area plans developed with participation of local residents, and master plans for greenways, parks and public art.
Other initiatives were aimed at improving community appearance, boosting historic preservation and neighborhood conservation, increasing public participation and preserving green space in Forsyth County. Norby also oversaw the 2014 merger of the Planning Department and City-County Inspections into a joint Department of Planning and Development Services.
Arnold King, the chairman of the City-County Planning Board, said it will be difficult to replace Norby. "In addition to being a very knowledgeable planner, Paul has also been a highly respected and effective manager who has developed a staff that provides excellent service to the community. Paul possesses a unique skill set that is going to be tough to duplicate."
Mayor Allen Joines said the Legacy 2030 Plan, which was recognized by the American Planning Association as the best comprehensive plan for 2014, typified the quality of Norby's work. "Paul was an extraordinary leader of our community's planning efforts," Joines said. "He is principled and pragmatic at the same time, a trait that has served our city well."
David R. Plyler, the chairman of the Forsyth County Commissioners, noted that Norby's prior service as the planning director for Durham served him well. "When he got here, he was more prepared than the average person. He has a personality that doesn't crack very easily. If you want to be critical he can take it, and he will work to find a solution. He's very even-keeled."
The City-County Planning Board has retained Developmental Associates to help with the search for Norby's replacement and will meet with the consultant Thursday to discuss the search process, King said. King said he hopes to have Norby's successor hired in time to allow for some overlap.
Norby began his career in planning in 1974 with the Augusta-Richmond County (Ga.) Planning Commission. He later worked in Fort Wayne, Ind., before serving as Durham's planning director from 1980 to 1999. In 2006 he was inducted as a Fellow by the American Institute of Certified Planners.