New Executive Director Announced
The Macon-Bibb County Planning and Zoning Commission (MBPZ) has selected Jeffrey C. Ruggieri, AICP, as executive director after a national search. The appointment fills the leadership role held by Jim Thomas, who is retiring after more than 37 years with the Commission, serving the last decade as executive director. Ruggieri will assume his duties at MBPZ on Feb. 7.
MBPZ is the final authority over all land use planning, transportation planning, zoning enforcement, and subdivision review for Macon-Bibb County. MBPZ is unique in Georgia in that the Commission is not a referring body, but the agency that has the final say in all land use decisions within its jurisdiction. MBPZ’s five-member quasi-judicial board is made up of local business professionals who volunteer to serve for five-year terms. The Commission is supported by a 16-person professional staff, under the direction of the executive director, that provides support to the Commission for zoning hearings and serves as the permit coordinator for all land use development proposals.
“Jeffrey’s extensive knowledge and experience in planning, zoning, and economic development not only will benefit our citizens and businesses, but also will assist in positioning Macon-Bibb County to attract new businesses and industries for long-term growth,” said Planning & Zoning Commission Chairwoman Jeane Easom. “His understanding of the importance of preservation of our historic sites and structures strengthens their roles in our community and economy.”
Ruggieri’s career spans 22 years and includes more than 15 years in leadership and supervisory roles in Florida, Texas, and North Carolina in leading planning, preservation, and economic development organizations. He has worked for county and city governments as well as private community and economic development firms.
He has been director of Development Services for the City of New Bern, N.C, since 2012. Overseeing 20 FTE employees and a $2.1 million department budget, he administers the operations of the planning, Geographic Information Systems (GIS), building review, permitting, inspections, code enforcement, Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), historic preservation, and economic development programs.
Ruggieri also serves as chairman of New Bern Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) Technical Coordinating Committee, executive director of New Bern Redevelopment Commission, and founding board member of Craven 100 Alliance, a regional public/private partnership engaged in regional economic planning and development.
Earlier in his career, he served as Director of Building and Growth Management for Charlotte County, Fla., and Senior Planner, Division of Development Services, for the City of Houston, Texas. During his work for Charlotte County, he rewrote the county’s comprehensive plan, revising it from a 1,700-page document to a 270-page plan entitled SmartCharlotte2050. The plan received the Florida Planning and Zoning Association Outstanding Long Range Planning Award.
“I am very fortunate to be joining the Macon-Bibb County Planning and Zoning Commission,” said Ruggieri. “The community is a wonderful blend of preserving the past and embracing the future. I look forward to serving the community and assisting the Commission in this important work.”
Ruggieri received his Master of City Planning degree with an emphasis on Environmental Planning from Georgia Institute of Technology in 1999 and his Bachelor of Arts in Marine Affairs from the University of Rhode Island in 1996. He earned the American Institute of Certified Planners designation in 2006 and the North Carolina Certified Zoning Official Designation in 2015.