VOL. 132 | NO. 227 | Wednesday, November 15, 2017
Copeland Retires at OPD, Zeanah Nominated as Successor
By Bill Dries
After 29 years in city and county government, Rick Copeland is retiring as director of the Memphis-Shelby County Division of Planning and Development effective Jan. 2.
Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell and Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland announced Tuesday, Nov. 14, they have nominated deputy planning and development director John Zeanah as his successor, subject to confirmation by the Memphis City Council and the Shelby County Commission.
Copeland has served as assistant to the chairman of the Quarterly Court – the successor to the county commission – an assistant county attorney and assistant county chief administrative officer in addition to heading the joint planning and development agency -- also known as the Office of Planning and Development or OPD in government shorthand.
The agency oversees land use, comprehensive planning, sustainability policies, transportation, housing and construction code enforcement. Planning and Development’s recommendations on development to the appointed and elected bodies that regulate it and hear appeals are crucial to whether those projects will go forward with detailed staff reports an essential part of the consideration.
Zeanah has been most visible recently as one of the leaders of Strickland’s ongoing development of a master plan for city development under the banner “Memphis 3.0” which is to be completed by the city’s bicentennial year in 2019. Zeanah also played a leading role in the development of the Mid-South Regional Greenprint Plan that is a master plan for a regional network of greenspaces and parks as well as the trails, greenlines and greenways that connect them.
He started the city’s Office of Comprehensive Planning. Before that he was program manager and administrator of the Memphis-Shelby County Office of Sustainability.