Craig Southern has been hired by the Village of Palmetto Bay to serve as village planner for the Planning and Zoning Division of the Community and Economic Development Department. He began in his new position at the end of June.
Southern previously was a senior planner at the Village of Islamorada for three years and has more than 15 years of experience in community development, planning and floodplain management, 11 of those years in South Florida. He also has six years experience in historic preservation and archaeology.
A graduate of Missouri State University he obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Urban and Regional Planning in 2006.
“Before I graduated with my Urban and Regional Planning degree and worked as an urban planner, I initially moved to Miami in 2005 to work on the Miami Circle as an archaeologist,” Southern said. “Naturally, as an archaeologist my inclination was to explore and experience some of the historical locations of South Florida, so coincidentally my first visit to Palmetto Bay was to the Deering Estate.
“As an outside resident, currently residing in Homestead, along with traditionally visiting the Deering Estate, I have also always really enjoyed the Bill Sadowski Park and Nature Center.”
He said he sometimes attends the stargazing events that are held there on a regular basis.
“Now as a new employee, I have recently taken my son, Talvin, to the Palmetto Bay Skatepark; we’ve been riding our bicycles around the Village and I have been walking the sidewalks and streets, which has been quite enjoyable, and essential to get to know any place more intimately and viscerally. Even though the parks were my initial attraction to Palmetto Bay, now as the new village planner, I feel that this is my responsibility, in understanding and truly getting to know the Village better,” he said. “This is how I can help people shape and preserve their community in a healthier and more vibrant way.”
What does he see as the challenges of his new job?
“Ensuring and encouraging the healthy balance of the neighborhood residential feel, which is found in the center of the village and the essential mixed-use development and design of downtown, will require careful collaboration and communication between citizens, community groups, business owners, developers, elected officials, village employees and numerous other entities,” Southern said.
“Simply working to find the balance to cultivate and preserve a feasible and implementable vision for the village that will make people’s lives better while serving the broader and long-term needs of the community.”
What does he consider the priority issues he wants to tackle first?
“Simply engaging and focusing on the many aspects of community, learning, working, and collaborating with my coworkers, the elected officials, and the citizens of Palmetto Bay.”
Southern is a single father with two children, Amelia, 18, and Talvin, 17. In his free time he enjoys biking, kayaking, camping, fishing, playing music and barbecues with family and friends.