Cover named new City of Sarasota planning director

He will begin work April 12, after relocating from an Arlington County, Va., position

Steven Cover. Photo courtesy City of Sarasota

On Wednesday, April 12, Steven Cover will join the City of Sarasota as the new planning director, the city has announced.

His appointment “follows an extensive hiring process involving a national search and community input,” a news release points out.

“We’re thrilled to welcome Steven Cover to Sarasota,” said City Manager Tom Barwin in the release. “Steve has extensive and highly successful experience in two of America’s great communities: Arlington, Va., and Madison, Wis. Steve’s experience and passion for walkable communities, cutting-edge bicycle and transportation planning, appreciation for great architecture, innovative zoning codes, and commitment to affordable housing collaborations will serve our community well,” Barwin added in the release. “He will play a key role in helping our community shape our future quality of life.”

Cover will be relocating to Sarasota from Arlington County, Va., where he is the director of community planning, housing and development, the release explains.

“During his distinguished career,” the release continues, “he has served in senior leadership planning positions in Atlanta and Madison, [Wis.] with a strategic focus on long range comprehensive planning, zoning code development, economic development and transportation. In Madison, he developed the city’s first Transportation Master Plan, which emphasized multi-modal alternatives. His vast experience extends into envisioning and implementing housing initiatives and CDBG (Community Development Block Grant) programs,” the release notes.

A former principal at an urban planning firm, Cover “uniquely understands the inner workings of both the private and public sectors and the benefits of collaboration and building relationships between the two,” the release says. “In Atlanta, his private sector team secured top honors in an international architecture competition to design the National Center for Civil and Human Rights,” the release adds.

In the release, Cover said of Sarasota, “It is a city rich in history, culture, unique architecture and insightful planning …” He noted he is “particularly impressed with the passion and positive energy the city’s leadership, staff, business leaders and citizens have for this great city. Sarasota is the place to be, and I will do everything I can to continue to make it one of the most desirable places in the country to live and work. My family and I look forward to becoming a part of this very special community.”

Cover earned a Bachelor of Science in architecture from the Georgia Institute of Technology. He also holds a Master of Planning and a Master of Architecture from Georgia Tech.

During the March 20 City Commission meeting, Barwin talked of Cover’s credentials, adding that he was looking forward to introducing Cover to the board members who have not met him.