"Sprawl is everywhere, and sprawl is kind of a buzzword that can give a negative connotation," Lookadoo
said."What I'd like to work toward is planned growth, good growth."Lookadoo, who left a planning position in South Dakota about a month ago to take the top post at Florence County's planning department, earned a degree in geography with a concentration in city and regional planning from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte in 1994.After graduation, Lookadoo worked for about a year as a code enforcement officer in the town of Matthews, N.C., before accepting a position with the Western Piedmont Council of Governments.He
later left the Council of Governments to become the town of Granite Falls' first town planner, a position in which he
served for almost three years.
After several years in government work, Lookadoo
decided to venture into the private sector in real estate sales and land development.The experience provided him with a different perspective that he
said has helped him since his
return to public planning work."I've built houses and subdivisions so I know what it's like to have to sit and wait on a permit while you have a big bank note out there with interest increasing by the minute," said Lookadoo, who is a member of the American Institution of Certified Planners.
"So I want to ensure that my department does their dead-level best to do everything it can to make the process easier for our customers, without breaking any rules.I want us to serve the public as efficiently as possible."
In addition to improving community relations, Lookadoo
wants to get the county's comprehensive plan adopted and in place.A comprehensive plan comprises seven elements of planning: population, economic, natural resources, cultural resources, community facilities, housing and land use.Lookadoo
said he'd also like Florence County consider an appearance element in developing its plan and he'd like input from officials in the county's municipalities on what they'd like their community to look like in the future.
"The comprehensive plan's basically a road map for our future development, so I think the county needs to decide what it wants its appearance to be five or 10 years from now," Lookadoo