Staff Spotlight: An interview with Maxie Brown, AICP, CZA
What is the most interesting project that you worked on while employed as the Zoning Administrator in the Town of Culpeper?
“Probably the most interesting project was the rewrite of the Town’s comprehensive plan. A planner left the Town at the beginning of the project and I somehow inherited it. After 18 months of work with the Steering Committee, the community was very supportive and happy with the product as was the Planning Commission and Town Council. The Virginia Planning Association awarded the Plan in 2016 as the Best Comprehensive Plan in Virginia!”
What was your most favorite task in that role?
“One of the things that I enjoyed most about the Town was working with the different departments. For example, I worked with the Town’s Light and Power Department to draft ordinances to assist with new development requirements; I worked with the Police Department to remediate violation notice and correction orders.”
What was your least favorite task in that role?
What was the most difficult situation that you had to handle as the Zoning Administrator?
“One of the most difficult situations involved a contested rezoning of a large parcel of land. The parcel of land had been farmed for many years and was zoned residential; the Comprehensive Plan recommended the parcel be rezoned to commercial, due to its close proximity to the Town’s hospital and medical facilities. Patrick Mulhern was the Planning Director at the time. Patrick and I stuck to our guns and recommended approval (with conditions) based on the Town’s Comprehensive Plan Future Land Use Chapter. We managed to negotiate proffers to mitigate the impacts of the development as well as architectural renderings to ensure quality buildings.”
What has been the biggest accomplishment in your work career?
“Thirty-three years of service in the same local government and I’m still alive!”
What do you think made your occupation so important to the local community?
“I really enjoyed my years with the Town of Culpeper because I loved working on different projects; whether it was drafting a new ordinance, designing interpretative markers, or working on a downtown project. I also enjoyed collaborating and working with citizens, the Board of Supervisors, various commissions, and other groups/stakeholders. All of those things made Culpeper a better place to live and work.”
How did you get started in this career? What led you to be so interested in becoming a zoning administrator?
“I’ve always been interested in local politics since a young age. I started my working career as a real estate agent and I excelled in business, real estate, and land use law. When the Deputy Zoning Administrator position became available, I decided that I was a better fit for local government and zoning versus selling real estate.”
What interests you about your position with the Berkley Group?
“I have been in the public sector for thirty-three years; therefore, I am intrigued about the private sector. I am looking forward to a new challenge using my skills and knowledge in planning, land use, zoning, and local government relations.”
What do you hope to accomplish while employed here?
“I am looking forward to assisting other communities with their interim management needs. I believe my experience and background will be an asset to the Berkley Group as well as the communities we serve.”
What are some of your hobbies or interests outside of work?
“I have many hobbies, but my favorites are gardening, traveling, cooking, exercising with my girlfriends and shopping of course!”
What is the most interesting place that you have visited?
“In addition to our beautiful country, I loved visiting Buenos Aires, Argentina. From a cultural standpoint, it was so different from the United States. The scenery was beautiful and the food was awesome!”