Meet Rachel Kelly, Winthrop’s new Planning Director

Rachel Kelly began her role as Winthrop’s first Director of Planning and Development on Feb. 1. She was chosen from a candidate pool of approximately half a dozen individuals.

According to the official job description, the Planning Director will perform “supervisory, administrative, technical, and professional work in current and long-range planning programs of the Town of Winthrop, related to the development and implementation of land use and related municipal plans and policies.”

Kelly’s specific duties are broad and include advising town officials on land use, upholding design aesthetics for construction projects, working within specified budgets and acting as a liaison to other departments.

She will be working under the general supervision of Town Manager Austin Faison. Should the Planning Dept. expand to include other employees, she will be in charge of supervising them.

Kelly received her undergraduate degree in regional planning and communications from Westfield State University in 2006 and went on to earn a Master’s of Public Policy from Tufts in 2015.

Her previous titles have included Planning Intern for the Northampton Planning Dept. and the Town of Russell; Assoc. Planner for the Southern New Hampshire Planning Commission; Green Infrastructure Planner for the City of Somerville; and Sustainability Planner for the City of Everett. Most recently, she was the Conservation Administrator for the Town of Bedford.

Kelly was attracted to Winthrop due to its unique location and landscape.

“Winthrop has a little of everything–a downtown with great restaurants, vital environmental landscapes within the local marshland, great beaches, and strong community involvement,” she told the Transcript.

Kelly is most looking forward to tackling the issues presented by residents during the Win2030 planning process.

“One consistent request was for more trees throughout the town,” said Kelly. “That would be a request I would like to help fulfill.”

Kelly will also be prioritizing the middle school zoning project.

Coming on board in the middle of a pandemic doesn’t seem to faze Kelly.

“I will miss out on face-to-face interaction with coworkers and residents,” she said. “But I know that someday soon that will change. The Town is doing its best to maintain a high performance level of work.”

Kelly can be reached at [email protected]

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