MONUMENT • The town’s new planning director has 21 years of experience working in municipal government, including in Pueblo and Colorado Springs.
During June 12 Monument Board of Trustees meeting, Town Manager Mike Foreman introduced Meggan Herington as the new planning director. Herington’s career includes 13 years working in multiple facets of planning for the City of Colorado Springs.
A native of Pittsburgh, Herington moved to Colorado in 2003 and never looked back, she said. “The Front Range is such a great place to live and raise a family,” Herington said. “I have a number of family and friends in the Pittsburgh area, and they love to come and visit here.”
Her first job in municipal government was with Allegheny County in Pennsylvania, where she worked as a Geographic Information Systems technician. Her department worked with the county assessor to create land parcel data and other county maps.
“It wasn’t glamorous, but I really learned a lot about land surveys, property assessment, mapping and analysis,” Herington said. “Most of those skills I still use today.”
As a planner it is important to understand how property is divided, land use relationships and how to use GIS to create maps that tell a story, she said. Three years into the job, a friend living in Colorado Springs encouraged Herington to relocate to Colorado.
Since municipal planning and GIS go hand-in-hand, Herington said, she accepted a position as a planner with Pueblo County — her first official planning role.
Over her career, Herington has worked in land use planning and comprehensive planning for El Paso County and the City of Colorado Springs, where whe worked her way up the ranks to assistant planning director. In that role for six years, with a staff of 25 planners assisting, Herington managed two divisions of the Planning and Community Development Department with direct oversight of all land use planning and zoning construction reviews for the city.
Herington said her most memorable work thus far was working on a Short Term Vacation Rental Ordinance and permitting program for the City of Colorado Springs.
“The topic of short-term vacation rentals is very divisive, and probably one of the most controversial city ordinances I’ve worked on,” she said.
Herington said she is excited to work with Foreman and the Board of Trustees to implement the vision of the community. She said the interview process showed the staff has so much excitement and vision for the town.
“I wanted to be a part of that,” she said. “Monument, as is all of El Paso County, is seeing a large amount of growth. That growth occurring outside of the town limits does impact the town. I’m excited to start looking at how Monument wants to grow and setting those goals for the future.”
Given Herington does not live far from Monument, she said she consistently finds herself in town to enjoy Monument Lake and local eateries.
Her interest in transitioning to a job in a smaller municipality was the breadth of work in which she would be involved.
“As the planning director, I can be more hands-on working on projects and interacting with the community,” Herington said. “The range of tasks is something I haven’t experienced and is a great opportunity to get back to the true meaning of being a municipal planning professional.”
With her background in planning with El Paso County and experience working with regional partners, Herington knew she could “hit the ground running” and give a fresh vision to the Monument planning department, she said.
Presently, Herington spends a lot of time understanding the needs of the planning department and where to direct available funds. One of her immediate goals is to do more education on what the planning department does and education to residents on zoning and what it means for an individual property owner. She also aspires to streamline the town’s permitting process to make it easier to work with the planning director.
Herington is married and has an 8-year old son. The family’ls summer weekends are usually spent camping, hiking, paddleboarding at Monument Lake and visiting the local swimming pool.