Warren County has a new zoning officer - Aaron Kalkbrenner.
He's the go-to guy for information about what property owners can build where.
"If people want to build or erect any structure on their property, they come to me first to find out... if the structure adheres to the zoning ordinance," Kalkbrenner said.
He got started at his new post with weeks of reading, starting with about 125 pages of the county's zoning ordinance.
That perusal didn't turn up anything clearly unnecessary nor any glaring omissions.
"I think the zoning ordinance is good," Kalkbrenner said. "As of right now I wouldn't change anything."
He said it is "relaxed compared to other counties'" ordinances.
Kalkbrenner did note a lack of zoning information regarding the preservation of historic landmarks. With his training in history that's a concern, he said, adding that he is interested in exploring adding some language that would outline what can and cannot be done to and around history landmarks.
Having to work with those kinds of properties is no chore for Kalkbrenner. "Warren County has a lot of rich history," he said. "I'm very glad to be working in Warren."
Letting people know the rules is not the only thing in the job requirements. "The other part of the job is to listen to complaints," he said. "I have to follow up on each complaint with a field visit."
That gets him out of the basement of the courthouse "three to four times a week."
There were a few items on the burner when former Zoning Officer Gary Snook retired and Kalkbrenner was hired in mid-June. He hasn't yet dealt with the proposed development of a Sheetz convenience store in North Warren, but expects that to be his first major project.
Asked about the possibility of Farmington Township leaving the umbrella of county zoning, Kalkbrenner said he was aware of the talks, but had not been involved in them. "If they choose to leave, I would hope they would continue with zoning" of some sort, he said. "I'm not sure going without is a good idea."
Kalkbrenner did not have the benefit of talking to Snook, but the door to veteran Planning Director Dan Glotz's office is a few feet from his. "Dan's a great boss," Kalkbrenner said. "He's very knowledgeable."
While Kalkbrenner hoped to someday enter government, with an eye for planning and zoning, he didn't reach the field exactly the way he expected to.
When he was working on his degree in integrated social studies at Malone University in Canton, Ohio, he thought he could use teaching as a stepping stone to government. In addition to taking classes regarding various levels of government, Kalkbrenner took some planning and development courses.
"Through that, I learned the process of how government worked," he said. "Getting involved in government isn't a far step from teaching the process of government."
He skipped the stepping stone, and he's happy about it.
"I like working with government," he said. "I really like this job."