Ian Houseal has been named Sanford's new Community Development Director. Photo/Courtesy Linked-in

Ian Houseal has been named Sanford’s new Community Development Director. Photo/Courtesy Linked-in

SANFORD — Ian Houseal, who most recently managed the city of Portland’s rental inspection and registration program, has been named director of Community Development. 

Houseal, a former assistant to the city managers in Portland and Lewiston and who headed Portland’s energy sustainability office prior to taking up the assistant city manager’s job there, begins his new gig  in Sanford on Jan. 17. Among his tasks will be to focus on Sanford’s multi-family dwelling market. 

City Manager Steve Buck announced Houseal’s appointment Tuesday. He will be introduced to the City Council at their Jan. 17 meeting.

In a written report to the City Council, Buck said Houseal is well qualified for the newly-created job.

“Mr. Houseal is well experienced in the coordination of project and project development, direction of staff, and demonstrated achievements in the area of policy development and implementation strategies to improve all aspects of city housing, land use planning, code enforcement, licensing, inspections, and capital infrastructure,” Buck wrote. “ He is currently managing the City of Portland’s rental housing registration and inspection program, having already successfully registered over 4,750 rental properties and directed the inspection of over 600 of these properties with 1,200 inspections in just 6 months. All of these attributes will lend towards Sanford’s future housing initiatives as part of the city’s overall Community Development strategies.”

Buck said Houseal has more han seven years of municipal experience as an assistant city manager both in Portland and Lewiston, along with project development focused in the areas of housing and code enforcement.

According to his Linked-In resume, Houseal  is a graduate of Bates College. He earned a master’s degree in architecture at North Carolina State University and a master’s degree in regional and community planning at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  He has worked as a planner, an engineering consultant, as the “energy czar” as an assistant city administrator in Lewiston, and as energy coordinator for the city of Portland before taking up his other duties there.

Multi-family housing will be a priority for Houseal.

About one-third of Sanford’s multi-unit buildings are old. A study conducted prior to the city’s 2016 budget approval process last spring showed that 33 percent of such properties were built before 1939.

“Their value continues to go down,” Mayor Tom Cote pointed out in an April interview. Owners of Sanford’s rental properties – which total 3,044 units – currently pay about 9 percent of the city’s assessed value, while owners of Sanford’s 6,386 single-family dwellings make up almost 62 percent.

The position is budgeted at about $84,000 annually. This fiscal year, however, the city budgeted for a six-month position, hence the January start.

“Sanford is on the precipice of redefining itself,” said Buck at a prior council meeting, “We’re turning the corner now, and have a large number of jobs being developed. We don’t have the type of housing we need.”

— Senior Staff Writer Tammy Wells can be contacted at 324-4444 (local call in Sanford) or 282-1535, ext. 327 or [email protected].

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