By Alex Malm
Londonderry’s new Town Planner is Benjamin Bennett, who is originally from Jacksonville, Florida, was hired for the position in September.
Assistant Town Manager, Kellie Caron, was originally hired for this position last year following the departure of Colleen Mailloux before Caron was promoted to her role as Assistant Town Manager/ Director of Economic Development.
Bennett said he attended Jacksonville University where he earned a Bachelor of Business Administration, with a specialization in economics and sustainability. He then went to the University of Florida where he earned a masters in Urban and Regional Planning, with a focus in housing, community, and economic development.
When asked about what led him to become a planner, Bennett said “All places exist, but I desire them to thrive.” He went on to say ” Planning provides an opportunity to contribute to the enhancement of a municipality through a variety of ways,” Bennett said. “The inherent nature of the work prevents Groundhog Days, which takes the monotony out of routine work.”
Before coming to Londonderry, Bennett said he was a planner in the public and private sectors.
According to his Linkedin page, Bennett served in the United States Army for four years, before serving in roles including as Planner for St. John’s County Board of Commissioners, for about 11 months and in his most recent role as a planner for AE Engineering Inc., for a little over a year.
He also served as the Principal of Better By Bennett beginning in August 2021, and as manager of Paradise Grooming For Men beginning in 2016. According to his Linkedin page, he still presently serves in those capacities.
Bennett said he ended up in Londonderry “because the opportunity presented itself to be a benefit to the town. This is an excellent place to facilitate the planning process while maintaining the town’s character…Some of the superlative characteristics that stood out to me were the value the residents appeared to place on their quality of life and their engagement with Town Hall.”
Bennett said he is looking forward to “Assisting in the cultivation of a versatile, sustainable, and vibrant community,” in his new role.
When asked what he sees as the biggest challenges facing Londonderry from a planning/ land use perspective, Bennett stated that “There is a myriad of factors that should be considered when making that type of assessment, and as I am new to the role, assuming the challenges Londonderry might be facing would be presumptuous.”
“The challenges produced by those factors could be cyclical, a singularity, or combination of many things. Blindly placing my assumptions of these challenges within a hierarchy would be irresponsible,” Bennett said.
He added: “When we discuss matters such as these, one thing to recognize is that no municipality is exempt from the challenges of ensuring multiple land uses are interconnected between resources to drive it toward a sustainable future. Some of these challenges may be in the form of environmental impacts, compatibility issues, or legal risks. Therefore, planning should strive to transparently provide factual information regarding these matters. As markets, resources, residents, etc. evolve, planning must adapt to anticipate those challenges, competing interest, and ever-changing needs.”
When asked if he is residing in Londonderry or somewhere else, Bennett declined to comment.
Bennett said he is also “fortunate to be of service to the Town of Londonderry and its residents, and look forward to building upon its legacy.”
According to Town Manger Mike Malaguti, Bennett will be making just over $92,000 per year.