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A member of Ashland’s planning commission was recently named “Citizen Planner of the Year” by Virginia’s chapter of the American Planning Association.
Aug. 6, Robert “Bob” Brown appeared before Ashland Town Council to accept the award.
Nora Amos, director of planning and community development, nominated the retired architect for the honor. In presenting the award Aug. 6, Amos called Brown a mentor and pointed out he has been a member of the Planning Commission for five years and served as its chairman for three years. During that time, Brown helped guide the town’s Comprehensive Plan update process.
“I feel the product that came out of that shows the great leadership he provided,” Amos said.
In addition to his service on the Ashland Planning Commission, Brown is also a member to the Richmond Regional Citizens Technical Advisory Committee for the Planning District Commission.
He also serves on the board of the Ashland Main Street Association and was recently named chairman of its design committee. In that capacity, Brown helped steer the downtown streetscape design, expected to become a reality over the next few months as it goes from architectural renderings to the bricks-and-mortar phase.
“This is what he’s done with his free time. This is what we all hope to do when we’re retired, is to be able to give back to our community,” Amos said.
In accepting the award, Brown thanked Amos for the nomination and Town Council for allowing him to serve.
“I wouldn’t be standing here if it weren’t for you guys and the work you do,” Brown said.
Brown extended special thanks to Vice-mayor George Spagna, who reached out to him five years ago.
“I always remember him coming up to me at church and [asking] ‘Bob, would you like to be on the Planning Commission?’” he said. “I was thrilled and honored to be asked.”
Brown added that he looks forward to the work ahead of him as a town planner, noting that a commissioner’s job is never fully over.
“I think about…how we have to get it right all the time,” Brown said. “When you had to interview me to be reappointed to the Planning Commission, you said ‘Why are you doing this?’ and my answer was ‘We’re not finished yet.’ In a sense, we’re never finished.”