New Richmond County official has roots in the Northern Neck
Returning to the Northern Neck was never a question for Jon R. Grimm.
Jon Grimm is Richmond County's new assistant county administrator and director of planning.
And this week, as he settled into his position as Richmond County’s new assistant county administrator and director of planning, Grimm had an ease and eagerness about his new role that exemplified his dedication and passion for the area.
“I love it here,” Grimm said during a Nov. 5 interview, the day he officially assumed his responsibilities. “I am very much looking forward to returning full-time to the Neck because…I have often considered it to be my [true] home.”
Grimm, who was recently hired after a thorough vetting of all the prospective candidates, first came to the area in the mid-1980s where he worked for the Northern Neck Planning District Commission.
Starting as regional planner, Grimm was later promoted to executive director of the NNPDC. After building an energy conservative home in Heathsville in 1986, Grimm felt he had found the perfect place to lay down his roots. However work soon called him away from the Northern Neck, bringing him to a government post in Maryland, where he served as the director of planning and zoning for St. Mary’s County from 1988 until 2003.
“The last nine years I have been in the private sector, doing the same sort of thing I will be doing here, which is reviewing project applications and finding the best ways to get them approved,” Grimm said. “It is all about finding ways to say ‘yes.’”
Grimm said that after his children, son Keenen, who was born in Kilmarnock, and twin daughters Claudia and Alaina, had grown into adulthood he decided to come back to the Northern Neck and his Heathsville home.
After learning about the open position, Grimm, a longtime friend of former County Administrator Bill Duncanson, who officially retired last week, decided to get back into local government and get involved with the community he considers home.
“I enjoy working with and helping people,” said Grimm, who has over 30 years of community planning and land development experience, 22 of which were with local and regional governments.
“I am familiar with the county’s comprehensive plan, I [studied] that before I got here, and I am familiar with the structure of the zoning and subdivision regulations,” Grimm said, adding that just a few hours into his job he was already working on four applications.
Noting that he would take his assignments from current County Administrator Morgan Quick, who took over the reigns last Friday, Grimm said that his first order of business would be to update the draft comprehensive plans and then, in the near future, look at the impacts of the Bay Preservation Act and the upcoming implementation of state-wide storm water regulations.
“I don’t see a lot of hurdles here, just steps and that’s why facilitation is a good term for what I do,” Grimm said. “In my career I have seen plenty of applications come through the door that don’t meet the code requirements, but if I can figure out a way that will adjust the plan or help them work with the site, then I am accomplishing my job. We want to have things move forward.”
Grimm, an avid bicyclist, animal lover, lifelong civic activist and dedicated astronomer, said he is looking forward to meeting with local conservation groups and also continuing his pattern of volunteering in the community.
He added that he intends to keep the public regularly informed about any important updates from his office.
“I am here to serve and I am very much looking forward to this,” Grimm said.