Read Brodhead, Zoning Administrator, City of Charlottesville
Your job title is Zoning Administrator. What, in your own words, would you say you do?
My job is the interpretation and enforcement the zoning ordinance. Every piece of property is zoned a certain way and there are certain regulations that dictate how a property owner may use their property. I also review many different applications such as building permits, sign permits, food truck applications and home occupation permits. I perform zoning inspections in the field and answer general questions from the public. I am also the Secretary to the Board of Zoning Appeals.
What is the best part of your job? The most difficult part?
The best part of my job is that I get to meet many different people and work with developers to ensure that the project will conform with our codes. I know about every project before the general public because that new business needs to go through me to make sure their business can operate in certain locations.
I joke that there are two types of people in town: those who hate me, and those who don’t like me very much. Unfortunately I have to tell people “no” and in some circumstances even take people to court. Fortunately, I have developed some good relationships with many professionals in the community and we can usually work through disagreements and ultimately comply with the law.
How does your job most directly impact the average person?
I don’t think that people realize how important zoning is until it directly effects them on a personal level. I get a lot of complaints from citizens who don’t like what their neighbors are doing, such as renting to too many people, operating an illegal business or parking vehicles on their front yards. I am the first line of defense for any zoning violations. I also spend a lot of time explaining the law to people. I try to get people over the hurdles to get their addition built or business running as quickly as possible.
What is the most interesting project or work experience that you’ve had while with the City?
I really enjoyed touring some of the larger projects before they were open the general public such as Whole Foods. I work on so many different projects in every neighborhood of the City so there is always something interesting going on.
What is a little-known fact about you?
I am a direct descendant of George Read who was a Representative from Delaware and a signer of both the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. “Read” is a family name. Also, I am the guy from the Ride Share commercial. I didn’t think they would still be running it on TV six years later.