Earlier this year, the city of Weatherford named Kaleb Kentner the new Development and Neighborhood Services Department director. Kentner started his position at the end of July.
Kentner had previously served as the Neighborhood and Development Services director in Garden City, Kansas for about 15 years, according to a Weatherford press release. He has specialized in building inspections, code compliance, planning and zoning, development design and engineering, and community services.
Kentner sat down with the Weatherford Democrat and discussed his new job and working with people in Weatherford.
Weatherford Democrat: What do you think of Weatherford so far and how does the new environment compare to Garden City, Kansas?
Kaleb Kentner: It’s great. Weatherford and Garden City are about, population-wise, pretty close to the same size, so it’s been really good. The people are great, super friendly and it’s been a pretty good transition so far.
WD: When you transition to leading zoning and platting discussions at city council meetings, how do you feel about taking on this role?
KK: I feel pretty comfortable with that. I’ve been doing this for just over 20 years, almost 22 years actually, so I’m very familiar with the processes and the concerns that come with that process from the developer’s side as well as the city’s side.
WD: What are your goals for the Development and Neighborhood Services Department that you’d like to achieve over the course of the next year?
KK: I work at the will of the city manager, and the city manager, of course, works at the will of the city council, and so we take all those goals that the city council provides for us as staff, and we’ll do our very best to apply them and to make them come to fruition as they have directed us to do.
WD: Sometimes city staff and residents disagree on zoning or platting cases. What is your approach in this situation?
KK: Always being able to listen and understand where everyone’s coming from. We have the direction and the goals of the community that’s passed down through the city council and the mayor. We’ll take those and apply those to what they want to have happen, and transparency and openness has always been what I strive to do and accomplish. We really will try to do that with the community as they, city council request changes to new laws or as conflicts arise, we’ll do our very best to explain the rules and the regulations and why they’re there and why they’re important and then see if we can come up with a compromise, if that is the situation that needs to happen.
WD: What is your plan to increase transparency in your department?
KK: I don’t know if there are any issues so far with transparency in the department. I think the local government is pretty transparent so far right now, and we’re going to continue on that direction as we receive further changes or direction in the future. Always it’s important, especially as the Development and Neighborhood Services Department, we deal with people’s property, and that’s always an important topic to each individual. It’s their rights and their privileges that are associated with that within the realm of the laws that are adopted by the city, so our goal is to help them as much as possible to use their properties to the highest and best uses that they can, and be open in providing alternatives and different methods for them to accomplish that.
WD: How do you plan to help manage growth in Weatherford?
KK: Again, it comes down to the goals and directives that are established through the city’s adopted comprehensive plan as well as the initiatives established by the council and the mayor as they move forward with those projects. Having worked in two extremely fast-growing communities in the Kansas City Metro-area and as part of my career, balancing those needs and wants is always a difficult thing, but I believe listening and those growing pains don’t go away, but they are something that we will definitely listen to the public and to the developers and those who are interested in seeing change in the community and we’ll help them through that process, and that’s really what our department does is help people through that process with their property.
WD: What would you like Weatherford residents to know about you?
KK: If they’re wanting to do anything that the Development and Neighborhood Services Department has to offer, we’re glad to listen and we’re glad to help. That’s what I want them to know is that we’re here to help them. We work for them and in this community to make it better and make it a place that they want it to be. We’re here for the community, so let us know how we can assist you.