Bell named Planning & Zoning Director for city  

Published 1:25 pm Wednesday, June 26, 2019

AMERICUS — Deborah Bell has been hired as the Planning and Zoning director for the city of Americus. Bell is a native of Fayette County, Georgia, which was a much smaller community then than it is now. She graduated summa cum laude from the University of Georgia with a bachelor of landscape architecture, turning a lifelong love of the outdoors and nature into a career. Along the way, she discovered a love for historic preservation and old cemeteries.

After working for a privately-owned landscape design and installation firm, she worked for Fulton County, Georgia, for a few years before accepting a job with Newton County, Georgia, where she worked for 12 years. As the county landscape architect, she coordinated development plan review, assisted with planning and zoning issues, and historic cemetery preservation projects. She managed construction projects for the Historical Society, the Recreation Commission and Keep Covington-Newton Beautiful. Most recently she worked for an Australian real estate investment firm as land manager for its U.S. assets.

“I’m excited to be joining the city of Americus and am looking forward to being a part of the community. Zoning ordinances and development regulations protect property values, historic, environmental resources, and other things a community deems important, such as recreational areas. These resources can be income generators and contribute to its vitality,” Said Bell. “At the same time, zoning regulations can seem very arbitrary to people who aren’t familiar with them. Helping people understand why a community has zoning codes and trying to find solutions to zoning issues are important aspects of my job. Change is inevitable — if a community doesn’t grow, it dies slowly. Guiding growth helps make sure that the community continues to be a place people want to live and to visit.”

“We are delighted to bring Debbie on as our Planning and Zoning director,” said Charles Coney, city manager. “Her vast experience in planning and community development is extremely impressive. We believe her expertise will be an incredible asset to our team.”

Bell is a Georgia Registered Landscape Architect and a Certified Arborist with the International Society of Arboriculture. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time on her farm, doing genealogy research, photographing old buildings and cemeteries, and volunteering with pet rescues.