Oxford hires new city planner; to focus on quality of life

CORRELL

CORRELL

By Errol Castens

Daily Journal

OXFORD – Oxford officials have hired Andrea Correll, director of planning and inspections for the Village of Pinehurst, N.C., to succeed Tim Akers as city planner.

Akers will retire April 30 after serving as Oxford’s city planner since 2005. He previously served the city of Jackson as city planner.

Correll will join the staff April 1 to afford a month of transition.

“I’m really excited to be coming to Oxford,” she said. “Tim and (Assistant City Planner) Katrina (Hourin) have established an excellent tradition in planning.”

Mayor Pat Patterson said he and board members were impressed during Correll’s visit with them.

“We think she had an outstanding interview,” he said. “She has a broad range of experience and outstanding educational credentials.”

A couple of qualities identified Correll as a particularly good fit for Oxford, Patterson said.

“She has experience in both historical preservation and master planning,” he said. “I think she’s a well-qualified person.”

Correll grew up in Athens, Ga., and earned a Bachelor of Arts in geography from the University of Georgia and a master’s degree in city planning from Georgia Institute of Technology. For 15 years, she has held certification from the American Institute of Certified Planners.

Pinehurst, known internationally as a golf resort, has in common with Oxford the challenge of keeping its quality of life while growing at a fast pace. (Pinehurst grew 35 percent between 2000 and 2010 censuses, while Oxford grew some 60 percent in the same span.) As the village’s first professional planner, Correll has overseen the creation of its comprehensive plans, development ordinances and thoroughfare plan, along with the establishment of its first historic district.

“One of the concerns with growth is preserving the quality of life,” she said. “The historic framework of Oxford and the beautiful, mature tree canopy are assets you can never replace.

“With my land use and zoning experience, I want to help carry out the mayor’s and aldermen’s vision for Oxford, but it’s important for me to do a lot of listening,” Correll added. “I know the existing planning director has done outstanding work, and my role has always been part of a team, even as a manager.”

Patterson said Correll will be an immediate asset to Oxford.

“She’ll be able to hit the ground running,” he said.

errol.castens@journalinc.com