Town of Rolesville Hires New Planning Director

— Mason Lipman •mason.lipman@rolesvillebuzz.com • March 2017

Danny Johnson

PHOTO BY JEANNE E. FREDRIKSEN
Danny Johnson

Danny Johnson Encourages Sense of Community for Growth in Rolesville

Planning Director Danny Johnson is the most recent addition to the Rolesville Town Hall. An experienced planner, Johnson has worked in various local governments throughout his nearly 40-year career, and he expects to put that experience to work quickly.

“My years of experience and knowledge of planning should be valuable for confronting the issues that the town is going to experience in the next coming years with the challenge of growth and development,” he said.

A 1978 graduate of East Carolina University’s planning program, Johnson started his career working as a planner for the city of Salisbury for 10 years before working as a senior planner in various counties, including Rowan and Granville. From 2002 until being hired by Town Manager Bryan Hicks this year, Johnson was the assistant planning director in Fuquay-Varina, a town he noted as similar to Rolesville in the growth that it has experienced since he was hired there.

He emphasized the growth that Rolesville is expected to experience along with the need to deal with the changes that growth can bring while maintaining good customer service and cultivating growth that is “positive, growth that the community welcomes.”

“The current trend is predominantly residential,” he said. “What we want to do is encourage and promote commercial and employment jobs to help provide a balance of shopping and employment close by.”

The 401 bypass has land – particularly on the southern side – that could be “a great opportunity to create a mixed-use type of development that is more walkable and bikeable.”

“If the right developer takes a look at it, there could be a very positive mixed-used, residential-commercial space and a lot of civic space that makes it very attractive for an active neighborhood,” Johnson said.

Johnson spoke of an upcoming land-use plan that will begin to make preparations for developers to look into building in Rolesville. The plan will also help make preparations for public transit in Rolesville, specifically for a bus service for residents who are at a disadvantage when it comes to transportation or would prefer the lower cost of public transportation rather than driving.

“We are working on it now, and it is getting ready to be released. That was one of the tasks that I was assigned when I got here,” said Johnson, who also said the plan will be available for public input, comments and the possibility of adoption by the summer.

“It’s important to maintain the sense of community with all the types of development,” Johnson said. “That’s just a key element. That’s what makes Rolesville very attractive for new families or even empty-nest households, senior citizens.”

That sense of community and cohesion is central to Rolesville’s growth and development for  Johnson.

“That’s the important element we’ve got to try to maintain here as best we can,” he said, “particularly with the various businesses and interests here in the town. We just have to make Rolesville attractive and appropriate.”