Gage County’s recently-hired emergency management director will serve a dual role after being appointed to also serve as the planning and zoning director by the County Board.
Lisa Wiegand was announced as the leader of the emergency management department in September, and has been working to build relations with area departments, meeting with fire and rescue squads in the county.
Wiegand will now serve as the planning and zoning director, a role previously held by Nancy Niedfeldt, who will continue her other county role with the highway department.
“As we went through the process of hiring Lisa as the emergency management director, part of the discussion at that time was about the zoning and possibility of taking that over,” County Board Chairman Myron Dorn said. “The board had discussions with both Lisa and Nancy and decided to go ahead and make that appointment.”
Niedfeldt has served in the position for around five years. Dorn said the position added a bit more than $3 per hour to Niedfeldt’s pay, and no changes in compensation have been discussed at this point.
The change was prompted in part by Wiegand’s extensive history with zoning in Gage County. She was the chair of the Planning and Zoning Commission before leaving for a brief stint as the county tourism director last November.
Wiegand had volunteered with Planning and Zoning Since 1998, and was part of the commission when zoning regulations were first implemented in 2000.
In addition to her experience, Dorn said the responsibilities of the planning and zoning director are more time consuming than they were just a few years ago.
“When (Niedfeldt) took that spot over, zoning didn’t seem to be quite as chaotic or intense,” Dorn said. “There wasn’t near the interest, I will say that, in zoning as there has been the last year or two. The interest in projects and things, especially special use permits, has picked up.
“At times, there’s quite a bit of interest in those. That has become more of a challenge than when Nancy started there in 2012.”
As a result of the change, anyone applying for a special use permit will need to visit the emergency manager’s office. More information and permit applications are also available in the county clerk’s office of the courthouse.