Guiding developers though the inner-workings of city rules and regulations is the job of Darren Groth. Groth stated working at the city on Monday as the new director of planning.

He takes over for Clyde Melick, who served the city for the past nine years and started as the assistant superintendent of facilities with Waxahachie ISD on Dec. 1.

“It seemed really intriguing to me. I was working for the city of Denton and it was a long drive. I saw something close to home and thought this would be a place that would provide opportunity,” Groth said, adding the city manager and assistant city manager helped bring him in. “The community, the staff and the citizens are really invested in the future. I think that everyone wants what is best for the city. Hopefully, I can build upon that. I don’t want to make radical changes, but I know that as the city grows there are going to be some things that require some stability added. Hopefully, I can bring that.”

The primary function of the city's planning department is to implement the city of Waxahachie’s Comprehensive Plan and Zoning Ordinance, according to the city’s website. The department carries out other ordinances as they apply to the growth and development of the city. This process involves staff review and recommendation on applications and meetings with the Planning and Zoning Commission, city council, and Zoning Board of Adjustments.

Groth said he knows city officials are focused on expanding the community, and he's invested in the future of Waxahachie as it grows.

“They (city staff) have got it on their shirts, ‘The Crossroads of Texas.’ I think that at some point, there is going to be a switch that flips, and people are going to realize that we are not going to continue to develop up in Melissa and Prosper when we are so close to Dallas here in Waxahachie,” Groth said. “My idea of this position would be to help steer through this growth and help lay a foundation for the future.”

Prior to coming to the city of Waxahachie, Groth worked for the cities of Denton, Arlington and Las Vegas. While in Denton, Groth worked in the Development Services Department and headed up gas well planning. This included reviewing plats and site plan applications.

“I have done most of my best work by setting goals. Some of the things I would like to do is identify a way to streamline a review process,” Groth said. “My previous two positions afforded me the opportunity to take a program and at the city of Denton take a whole division and create that from scratch.”

Groth said he going to be working closely with the city’s new engineer James Gaertner. By working together, the pair provides an opportunity to bring great development in to benefit to the entire community, he said.

The new position will provide Groth a little more time to invest in his family, he continued.

“I have a family that keeps me busy. I have a daughter that is a senior in high school. She is going to the University of Texas for civil engineering. Could not keep her in planning, but she wants to be an engineer,” Groth said. “She goes off to college in the fall. So we are trying to spend as much time with her as possible. She keeps us busy.”

City Manager Paul Stevens said the city is happy to have Groth as a part of its staff.

“When we interviewed him, we were completely impressed by his experience and his attitude. He has a greatly varied background, working with various cities,” Stevens said. “I think that his philosophy will align very well with ours. He is at that point in his career where he is ready to be the director. So we are excited have him on board.”

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