This week will mark the final one for Lee Krohn, Manchester's long serving planning director and zoning administrator. He is wrapping up more than 24 years of service to Manchester in an often difficult and high profile position, where he has been called upon to arbitrate over frequently conflicting viewpoints between the forces of change and the forces of tradition and continuity.

His tenure, which began in the summer of 1989, has spanned one of the more eventful periods in Manchester's history. Such a judgment is usually reserved for historians able to dispassionately study the past from a safe remove and with access to the full historical record. However, it's hard not to see how those future historians won't be able to look back on the last quarter century and say, "wow, a lot happened back then." A lot did happen, between Manchester undergoing a retail boom and new facilities constructed, such as Riley Rink, expansion at Burr and Burton (which evolved from a seminary to an academy along the way) and a host of other initiatives that transformed the landscape and look of the town. Some of those went well and exceeded expectations; others didn't. But Lee was at the center of nearly all of them in one way or another, as he helped guide those projects into conformance with town bylaws and ordinances, while working to update and strengthen those by laws to fit a rapidly changing environment around them.

Oh, and let's not forget about that that little Roundabout in the center of town, which Lee had an instrumental role in guiding forward, across the administrations of three town managers.


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Much has been written and said about that little piece of municipal infrastructure, but the final result has been one that, safe to say, worked much better than many may have expected, and Lee had a big role in that.

Lee also, as many know, was active in the community beyond his formal job with the town. He served on the town's volunteer fire department, and could often be seen around town with a bristling array of cameras, documenting one thing or another. Here at The Journal, we will miss his photographic contributions, as well as his accessibility to answer questions about one municipal issue or another.

Twenty-four years is a long time to have spent in one job in this day and age, and with Lee's departure goes an enormous amount of institutional history and memory along with deep and detailed understanding of bylaws and regulations and how all the pieces fit together. Inheriting all of that will be a big challenge for his successor, because there's no way really to replace that off the bat, or even after a certain period of time. Just like there is no replacement for a closing relief pitcher like Mariano Rivera, as the Yankees already know, there is no ready replacement for someone with the background and experience of Lee Krohn. The recent spurt of proposals being brought before the town's planning commission and design review board is testimony to applicant's understanding that Lee understood what works and what doesn't, and could offer timely and useful advice to them.

Lee will be moving on to the Burlington area, where he'll be taking on an important position with the Chittenden County Regional Planning Commission. We wish him well in his future endeavors with that organization. We're certain they are well aware of the talent they are adding to their team.

Good luck, and thanks, Lee, for all you did for the town.