County names new planning director

Brian Henshaw

WOODSTOCK – Shenandoah County officials announced on Wednesday their pick to head up their planning and zoning agency.

Brian P. Henshaw begins his job as the director of planning and zoning Nov. 6 at a starting salary of $62,943, according to information provided by the county.

Reached by phone Wednesday, Henshaw said he looks forward to working for the county.

“I think Shenandoah County has tremendous potential and I can’t wait to get working,” Henshaw said.

Henshaw holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Radford University and a masters degree in public administration focusing on public leadership from Walden University. Henshaw completed the Senior Executive Institute class through the Weldon Cooper Center of Public Service at the University of Virginia.

Henshaw has 15 years experience in planning and administrative management. He has worked for the Northern Shenandoah Valley Regional Commission in Front Royal and held positions with Page County, Stephens City and Haymarket where he served as its town manager for three years until his resignation in June 2016.

“I had a very good but very challenging three years in Haymarket and so I was really trying to figure if I wanted to keep on going in local government or maybe venture into something else,” Henshaw said. “I used that time to kind of reflect and what I found I really, truly missed being in local government.

“My first love in public service was planning and that’s what I studied in college,” Henshaw added, pointing out that he worked in planning for 13 years before moving into administration. “So when (the Shenandoah County) position became available I mean it fit the criteria. It allowed me and my family to be able to stay in the area.”

Shenandoah County reorganized the Office of Community Development in late summer with the resignation of the department’s director Bradley Polk. County administrators separated the economic development responsibilities from the position and assigned them to the Tourism and Business Development Office led by Jenna French. The county then changed the title of Polk’s former position to the director of planning and zoning to reflect its revised job duties and focus.

The announcement of Henshaw’s hiring comes about two weeks after the resignation of longtime zoning and subdivision administrator Joyce Fadeley. The Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to appoint Jason Smith as the county’s interim zoning administrator. Fadeley’s departure came a little more than a month after Polk left for a planning job in Loudoun County.

As director of planning and zoning, Henshaw will lead those efforts while working with stakeholders, advisory boards and commissions involved in land use and planning.

County Administrator Mary T. Price said Henshaw rose to the top of the candidate pool. Assistant County Administrator Evan Vass said officials interviewed four candidates for the position. Henshaw’s familiarity with the county through his time with the regional commission, his experience with the management and planning functions of two towns and his work in a rural county, combined with his education, led to his selection, according to Price.