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Tilton loses town planner to Belmont

Tilton Town Planner Dari Sassan gave selectmen a final update on current and future projects in his department last Thursday before heading off to his new job as the town planner in Belmont. (Photo by Donna Rhodes) (click for larger version)
April 17, 2019
TILTON – At the April 11 selectmen's meeting in Tilton, Town Planner Dari Sassan presented the board with a summary of ongoing projects and upcoming activity in the Tilton Land Use department before bidding them farewell as he prepared for his new position with the Town of Belmont.

"I just wanted to let you know about things to keep an eye on in the future," Sassan said as he wrapped up his advisory report.

Town Administrator Jeanie Forrester thanked Sasson for the information and told the board that since he first gave notice about his move to Belmont, he had done an outstanding job in bringing both she and other town officials informed about things should be aware of in the future.

Selectmen also gave their praise and thanks to Sassan.

Selectman Joe Jesseman not only thanked Sassan for sharing his expertise in town planning over the years, but told him, "The town is much better off than we were before you came here."

Sassan him thanked him in return by saying it had been a very enjoyable and productive five years spent as a full time employee in Tilton.

As he moves now to Belmont, with a start date scheduled for this past Monday, Sassan said later that he has always been interested in environmental protection issues since he was an undergraduate student in Indiana. He followed wildlife organizations while in school but soon came to realize that the way land is developed and how resources are protected also has a big impact on the environment. And that, he learned, all starts at the local planning level.

He then furthered his education by doing graduate work at Plymouth State University where he was able to take part in research projects through the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services.

"I worked with some top notch planners at PSU and caught the planning bug," he admitted.

Since his graduation from PSU, Sassan has worked with the North Country Council, the Office of Energy and Planning, the former Commission on Wetlands, and ARA funding projects developed under Pres. Barak Obama. He also served on the Lakes Region Planning Commission.

When he came to Tilton nearly eight years ago he began as a part time employee helping with their town planning visions. Every year though, Sassan said, the town saw more of a need for more planning. After approximately three years, they increased his position to full time job as they came to realize the full economic impact that proper town planning could have on a community.

However, when an opening for Town Planner in Belmont came about earlier this year, Sassan saw it as an opportunity to perhaps make an even bigger impact on a town. With a bigger land use staff and a larger commission to work with, he believes he will find different and exciting new challenges ahead of him now in Belmont.

Sassan said he is confident that he is leaving Tilton in a good place though. He feels they have competent land use staff on board and has no worries about their ability to carry on with all that lies before the town.

"I don't doubt that I'll be reading about all the great things that will be happening in Tilton in the years to come," said Sassan.

His new role for the Town of Belmont began this Monday, April 15.

Varney Smith
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