St. Augustine City Manager John Regan announced to Historic City News that David Birchim has been promoted to the position of Planning and Building Director. Birchim, a near 17-year veteran of the department, has been serving as interim director since the announced retirement of Mark Knight. The promotion is effective today, Tuesday, August 26.
Birchim first joined the staff of the Planning and Building Department in December, 1997 in the position of Planner II, and subsequently received promotions that over the years increased his areas of responsibility until most recently he was named Deputy Director in 2012.
“In my search, it became exceptionally clear that David was the strongest candidate for this very important position,” said City Manager John Regan in announcing the appointment. “David’s exceptional experience and background make him a stand out candidate, and with his intelligence, work ethic, and forward thinking approach, there is no question that he is the right person to lead this department.”
Birchim received his Bachelor of Arts at the University of Florida, attending on an Army ROTC scholarship, and secured his Master of Science in Planning from the University of Tennessee. Birchim is an American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) certified planner. He has been a resident of the Lincolnville neighborhood for 14 years.
His areas of technical expertise include zoning and land development regulations and statutory growth management compliance, including having supervised the evaluation and appraisal report that resulted in the adoption of the current St. Augustine Comprehensive Plan 2030.
Regan noted that the Planning and Building Department is poised to receive new emphasis this coming year with the addition of two planners, increased attention to the city’s Community Redevelopment Agencies, and continued commitment to customer service even as demand increases.
“When you take David’s high level of professional and personal commitment to his work, and add the increased resources for the department, we have complete confidence that our city will be well served by this appointment,” said Regan.
His unique and lengthy experience in St. Augustine has given him opportunities to be involved in a wide range of projects from those that were governed by the city’s unique Architectural Guidelines for Historic Preservation to many large scale developments such as the San Sebastian Inland Harbor, Madeira, and Flagler Crossing Planned Unit Developments.
Additionally, Birchim has worked closely with specialized programs such as the Transit in Parks (Paul Sarbanes) “Reconnecting the Castillo & the Bayfront” and the Design Standards for Entry Corridors, and as vast experience in the supervision of grants for historic preservation including those for historic preservation districts and projects like the St. Augustine Waterworks.
The Planning and Building Department currently as has 12 employees and included three divisions: Planning Division, Building and Code Enforcement Division, and Archaeology Division.