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McLean moves to appoint Atlanta official to lead Boise Planning & Development Services

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A new face from the southeast could soon be landing at Boise City Hall.

According to two sources familiar with the appointment, Boise Mayor Lauren McLean will be appointing Atlanta’s Planning and Community Development Commissioner Tim Keane to lead Boise’s city planning division. McLean is expected to announce the hire in the coming days.

Keane brings over twenty years of planning experience to the position, having served at his current job in Atlanta since 2015. Prior to leading planning at Georgia’s largest city, he served as the planning director for the City of Charleston in South Carolina and the Town of Davidson in North Carolina, north of Charlotte.

“I am very excited to have this incredible opportunity in a city of such stunning natural beauty,”
Keane said in a press release. “This is a thrilling new challenge for me. My commitment to Mayor McLean, her team, and residents of Boise is to help guide the city’s physical development so that this unique place benefits from this period of substantial growth.”

What has Keane worked on back East?

He has an undergraduate degree in planning and a graduate degree in architecture from the University of North Carolina, Charlotte, and earned a Knight fellowship in Community Building from the University of Miami School of Architecture in 2001. Boise City Council will vote on Keane’s appointment March 8 and if confirmed he will begin work on March 9.

[‘Focusing on people’: Zoning rewrite proposal shrinks parking minimums, lot sizes, adds neighborhood protections]

During his career, he launched several initiatives in Atlanta like the comprehensive planning effort Atlanta City Design Project, worked on revamping the city’s tree ordinance, and an effort to rewrite the zoning code. He was also an early adopter of form-based code, which is a style of urban planning taking into account the look and feel of buildings over their use to determine where they are allowed. Form-based code is part of Boise’s proposed zoning code rewrite.

A planner, not a developer leading PDS

This is a switch up from Boise’s past two planning directors appointed under former Mayor Dave Bieter. Both Mark Lavin and Derick O’Neill worked in private development before coming to work for the City of Boise. O’Neill was instrumental in setting up the Shoreline Urban Renewal District during his time at the city and after resigning from the job started working on a large-scale development in the area.

“We set out to find the right leader for our community and with this process- a national search,
panels, and feedback from residents, staff, and city officials- we did it,” McLean said in a press release. “Tim Keane brings visionary leadership and a depth of experience that will help him
guide our city’s development as we grow, protecting what makes us unique and helping ensure
we are a resilient and vibrant city for everyone.”

Margaret Carmel - BoiseDev Sr. Reporter
Margaret Carmel - BoiseDev Sr. Reporter
Margaret Carmel is a BoiseDev reporter focused on the City of Boise, housing, homelessness and growth. Contact her at [email protected] or by phone at (757)705-8066.

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