City shares the departure of Planning and Development director
Soon-to-be former Planning and Development director will pursue a new role with Washburn University
TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - The City of Topeka has announced that its Director of Planning and Development, Bill Fiander, is retiring from the city to pursue a new community opportunity.
Fiander will join Washburn University as a faculty member of the political science department. His last day will be January 13. The city’s Director of Development and Economic Growth, Rhiannon Friedman, will be the interim director of planning and development for now.
“What a privilege it has been answering the call to serve Topeka. It gave me everything a young planner dreamed of who wanted to make a difference in the plight of our central cities. There’s great peace not only looking back at how far we have come, but also looking ahead at where we can go with our next generation of planning, development, and housing professionals under the City Manager’s leadership. I’m honored to pass that torch while still answering a new, but similar call to serve,” said Fiander.
Fiander was first hired by the former Topeka Mayor Joan Wagnon as the city’s first neighborhood planner. During his 25-year tenure, he has served in multiple leadership roles, he was the planning and development director for the last 10 years. He was there to see the department change from 12 employees to 44 and saw the department change to encompass the city’s planning, zoning, building, and affordable housing functions.
“We are indebted to Bill for his incredible service to Topeka over the last two decades. Bill was a trailblazer who brought Topeka things such as our neighborhood health map, smart growth planning for infill and downtown development, greater citizen participation in new development projects, ‘complete streets’ for pedestrians and bicyclists, a new online permitting process, and community-wide design standards for commercial areas and signs. Bill is leaving big shoes to fill and while we will miss him at the city, I couldn’t be happier for him and our community with his new role,” said Topeka City Manager Stephen Wade.
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