Macon County native Matt Mason has been hired as the new county planner. Mason, who began his career with Macon County in August of 2006 as an erosion control inspector, currently serves as the county’s Environmental Services Supervisor.
“I am very excited to be the county planner for Macon County,” said Mason. “The new position has changed slightly, along with the traditional responsibilities of the planner. Our department is evolving and also incorporating the administration of the Flood and Watershed Ordinances. Going through the interview process and eventually accepting the position was very exciting, and I am very proud of the fact that our county leaders placed such a high level of confidence in me for the position of county planner.”
Mason will take over for Jack Morgan, who briefly served as the interim planner following the departure of Derek Roland.
Roland, who now serves as the town planner for Franklin, stated that he was confident that Mason was the best individual for the job. “Matt is more than capable of being successful as the next county planner,” said Roland. “During my three years as county planner, Matt served as a mentor for me and I honestly believe that the county could not have not selected a more qualified or better suited individual. Matt is without a doubt the best person for the job.”
Board of Commissioners Chairman Kevin Corbin believes that Mason’s experience and Macon County roots will help the county continue to grow with the best interest of the citizens in mind.
“Matt Mason is a bright young man and we are happy to have him heading the Planning Department,” said Corbin. “He has several years experience and will do well working with the public in this role. With a degree in landscape architecture, Matt is very qualified for the position both in education and experience. We are looking forward to working with Matt.”
According to Corbin, the decision to hire Mason was a combination of his experience, education, and benefit of hiring from within the planning department.
“By hiring from within, we are combining some duties in that department and saving the county money,” noted Corbin. “With this economy, we have been in that mode for a while. If the time comes that permitting and building pick up then we will address personnel needs at that time. For now, we feel like moving Matt into this new role is the right move for the county and the taxpayers. The commissioners wholeheartedly support Jack Horton in this personnel move.”
Commissioner Ronnie Beale also noted that Mason’s experience within the planning department will prove to be beneficial in his role as planner. “Matt will definitely bring a lot of knowledge and experience to the planning department,” said Beale. “He will be able to provide guidance to the planning board and will be a great leader as we plan for the future of Macon County.”
After graduating from Franklin High School, Mason attended Clemson University, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Landscape Architecture degree. After college, he owned and operated his own landscape design and construction business in upstate South Carolina before returning to Macon County in 2004.
Mason is currently a Certified Professional in Erosion Control, Certified Floodplain Manager and holds his Stormwater Reviewer Certification for Best Management Practices. He also serves as assistant chief of Clarks Chapel Fire and Rescue.
As planning in Macon County and the county’s Planning Board have continued to be in the spotlight over the last few months, as the new county planner, Mason plans to move forward for the betterment of the county despite recent controversies.
“The controversy surrounding the planning board is an issue that must be put behind us in order for the board to move forward in the planning process,” said Mason. “We have a very dedicated and strong group currently serving on the planning board. Our commitments and relationships will strengthen in order to become a unified body that will strive to accomplish the greater goal of planning the future of Macon County.”
Mason will work with the Planning Board to reevaluate the county’s Subdivision Ordinances, as requested by county commissioners last month. “In April, the county commissioners chartered the Planning Board with a complete review of the Subdivision Ordinance,” said Mason. “The Subdivision Ordinance, which was originally adopted in 2008, has several issues that need to be discussed and resolved. The ultimate goal of the review is to identify problem areas in the ordinance and complete a needs assessment on the issues that arose during the administration of the Subdivision Ordinance.”