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June 22, 2014

Retirement may bring changes to Atkinson office

Atkinson selectmen to consider changes

ATKINSON — Planning and Zoning Administrator Susan Killam has said she plans to retire, creating a chance for town officials to take a closer look at the Planning Department.

Killam has led the department for about four years and served on the Planning Board for more than 25. She is its current chairman.

She hopes to retire between 12 and 18 months from now, she said. With the window so far out, a date hasn’t been selected. She said she plans to remain a member of the board after she retires, Killam said.

Killam works about 15 hours a week on average, with office hours Tuesday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., she said.

It’s enough hours to “get enough paperwork done, to support the board and all the inspections,” Killam said.

Planning departments are handled differently from town to town. As town sizes change and development needs evolve, so do the demands on a department, she said.

“You walk into the Town Hall in Hampstead, and there’s a sign that says, ‘Assessing and Building Department,’” Killam said. “Here, assessing and building are completely separate, other than using the same computer database.”

Town officials are looking at the department to see how it could change, given Killam’s retirement is at least a year away.

“She has a wealth of knowledge and has been a great asset to the community and town officials,” Selectmen’s Chairman William Baldwin said. “The biggest challenge we’re going to have, really, is to quantify that position and make it to what it’s supposed to be.”

The Planning Board has six regular members with an ex-officio member from the Board of Selectmen and up to three alternates. They’re all appointed by the Board of Selectmen. The Planning Board appoints its own chairman.

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