Claudette Grant, Senior Planner, Albemarle County
Where were you born (and raised, if different)?
My parents migrated to the United States from the island of Jamaica. For a variety of reasons they decided to settle in Hartford, Connecticut, which is where I was born and raised.
When and why did you move to the Charlottesville/Albemarle area?
I came to Charlottesville a little over twenty years ago to attend graduate school at UVA . Like so many other residents, I fell in love with Charlottesville and Virginia and did not leave.
What neighborhood do you live in now?
I live in the Locust Grove neighborhood in the City.
Family (spouse, kids, etc)?
I am married to Juandiego Wade , whom I met in graduate school and we have a 9 year old daughter, Gabriella.
What is your alma mater and when did you graduate?
I went to the University of Connecticut for undergraduate school and the University of Virginia for graduate school.
What were you doing before coming to the County?
My work background is one in which I have worked with every form of government from the federal, state and local level. Prior to working for Albemarle County, I worked for the City of Charlottesville, administering the Community Development Block Grant program and as a planner. My work experience has not always been with government bodies, though. After graduating from UVA I worked for a non-profit agency in Richmond as a housing counselor.
Your job title is Senior Planner – what, in your own words, would you say you do?
I primarily work on re-zonings and special use permits. As the lead planner on these types of projects, I coordinate various staff review of projects. I also work with applicants who are requesting re-zonings and special use permits so that their requests can get to public hearings with the Planning Commission and the Board of Supervisors . Quite often my job involves providing information to the public regarding these types of projects. I have also been a little involved in the work we are doing to update the Comprehensive Plan.
What is the best part of your job? The most difficult part?
I would say one of the best things about the work I do is getting to see a project develop from an idea on paper and hopefully if I am around long enough I get to see the project actually built. It is great if the project is something that everyone feels proud of. I also enjoy working with the public, who, for the most part, love our community and are passionate about what happens here.
The most difficult part of my job is that quite often the projects I work on involve some type of change. For most of us change is usually hard and challenging to accept. I try to find a balance because I do not think there is a way to avoid change.
How does your job most directly impact the average person?
The projects I work on become places where people in our community live, work, shop, and recreate.
What is the most interesting project or work experience that you’ve had while with the County?
Biscuit Run was one of the most interesting projects to work on. It was an extremely large, dense proposed development that incorporated things that urban planners dream of. It was an extremely controversial project that ironically we will not see developed.
What is a little-known fact about you?
I play the piano. I played for 10 years growing up and stopped playing when I went to college, but now that my daughter is taking piano lessons, I find myself playing the piano with her.
What do you do outside of work hours – hobbies, etc?
I enjoy gardening, cooking, volunteering and spending time with family and friends.