After five years as the Planning Director of Morgan County, Lance Evans moved on to the private sector of planning and is now the Principal Planner at an enterprise in Ogden. Hired in June, the new Planning Director, Joshua Cook, brings a variety of experiences including a total of 23 years working in the planning industry.
Morgan County Planning Commissioner Dustan Little said, “I enjoyed working with Lance and learned a lot about planning from him.” Morgan County Commissioner Mike Newton agreed, “Lance Evans served Morgan County well. He cared deeply about the short and long-term plans for Morgan County. Lance oversaw the County reviews of several large projects. We wish Lance the best in his future endeavors.”
Family ties brought Cook back to Utah where his wife Bobbi and their seven children now live in Ogden. In his spare time, Cook likes to play videogames with his kids, draw portraits, and write.
Cook does not plan to make any immediate changes in the department but wants to see how things work and operate. However, there are certain things that Cook does believe strongly in. He states, “I believe that the adopted codes need to be followed and I do what I can to help developers and residents get through the development process. Cook believes in “one bite an apple,” or not doing unnecessary actions such as multiple reviews or such if one has already been done. However, Cook asserts that everyone must follow the same rules.
Cook has a degree in Geography Planning Resource Management from Brigham Young University and a master’s degree in City/Urban, Community and Regional Planning from Clemson University. Recently moving from Arizona, Cook has lived in multiple states such as South Carolina, Oregon, and Kentucky working for both public and private sectors. As previous Development Services Director, Regional Senior Planner, Planning Project Manager, and CEO among many more positions, Cook has years of valuable experience to help him better serve Morgan.
Newton commented, “Josh Cook comes to Morgan County with many years of experience. He has expertise in code writing and review, land use planning, and government. We are excited to have Josh on the Morgan County team and look forward to all that he will contribute.”
Little shares similar thoughts, “I look forward to working more with Josh. I believe he brings with him experience that will help Morgan County prepare for the future.”
For Cook, one of the most fulfilling parts of the job is seeing and being involved in community growth. “There are ways to maintain the rural agricultural lifestyle while also providing areas for economic growth,” states Cook. He opines the county can restrict growth but needs it seeing that if a community is not growing, it is dying. You need rooftops to get additional services, Cook says. While community growth is fulfilling, Cook’s least favorite part of the job is code enforcement.
Believing in being available, Cook operates with an open door. “I am excited to be working for Morgan County and have really enjoyed meeting so many kind and welcoming people,” enthused Cook. “Thanks for making the first few weeks great!