Islamorada’s planning department is seeking a new director following the recent resignation of Ty Harris.

Having served as the head of planning since fall September 2018, Harris’ resignation on July 18 comes just less than 20 days into Greg Oravec’s time as new village manager. 

In the short time I worked with Ty, I found him to be very intelligent and customer-oriented,” Oravec said in a statement to the Keys Weekly on July 21. “We appreciate his service to the village and our citizens and wish him the best moving forward.”

Senior planner Hank Flores has stepped in as acting planning director as the village seeks a replacement for Harris. Human Resources Director Evie Engelmeyer will lead the recruitment effort for a new planning director. 

Harris oversaw a planning department that administers the village’s land use plan and assists in permitting. He dealt with everything from affordable housing and developing a plan for food trucks to the village’s comprehensive plan and land use regulations.  

Bacheler said the loss of Harris “will have an effect on us.” Mayor Buddy Pinder said that Harris is “a special guy.” 

Harris, a DeLand native who studied law at the University of Miami, entered the planning department in 2018 with senior planners Craig Southern and Flores. Southern left the village planning department in June to take a new position as planner with the village of Palmetto Bay. 

With Flores as acting director, the department consists of a senior administrative assistant, a planner, an environmental planner and a planning coordinator. 

Oravec, who was picked by the council in June, has planning experience, having served as acting planning and zoning director in South Miami from 1996 to 1999. He also served as an assistant planner in Islamorada in 1999 before taking an assistant city manager job in South Miami. 

With moving forward in mind, I would like to take this opportunity to share with you and the public at-large that the next planning director, and, for that matter, all our employees, should be counted on to be customer-oriented and to live by the Golden Rule and the values of excellence, integrity, transparency and accountability,” Oravec said. 

A regularly scheduled meeting of Islamorada Village Council is set for Thursday, July 22 at 5:30 p.m. inside Founders Park Community Center. 

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Jim McCarthy believes in community reporting, giving back and life on the water. A workout fanatic, diver and a bogey-golfer, Jim loves chicken wings, Marvel movies and sports.