Former Rindge interim planning director lands job in Hillsborough

Rindge's Former Acting Planning Director Robyn Payson was recently hired as the planning director in Hillsborough.

(Courtesy photo)

Rindge's Former Acting Planning Director Robyn Payson was recently hired as the planning director in Hillsborough. (Courtesy photo)

RINDGE — Former Acting Planning Director Robyn Payson, who served Rindge for eight years, was recently hired as planning director for the town of Hillsborough.

Payson, who still resides in Rindge, had applied to serve as her town’s full-time planning director on a permanent basis earlier this year, but the Rindge Planning Board instead chose to hire Matt Henry, Lincoln’s former planning and zoning administrator.

Payson worked her final day for the town of Rindge on March 30, but even at that time, she said she knew planning would be a part of her future. “I personally believe that there is a plan in life for all of us and this has really given me faith in that,” Payson said of her job in Hillsborough in an interview with the Ledger-Transcript on Wednesday. “This is something that I was truly meant to do.”

Payson, who worked her first day for the town of Hillsborough on Oct. 29, said the planning director position is part-time, ranging from 24 to 30 hours per week, but that it had been full-time up until this year.

Hillsborough Planning Board Chair Herman Wiegelman said Monday that the Select Board decided to change the position because of financial constraints. But, he added, “I think there is a very good chance that next year [Payson will] become a full-time employee.”

Wiegelman said Payson is a perfect fit for the job because she is eager, detail-oriented and “gets excited when something good is confronting us.”

Payson’s economic development experience in Rindge, relationships with area developers and historical insight are assets, which she said are already proving to be beneficial in the new town she is working in. “I came out of Rindge pretty devastated,” Payson said. “But as much as I miss the people in Rindge, the [Hillsborough] Planning Board and selectmen have been so receptive to my ideas and respectful of my knowledge, which has been incredibly validating.”

While employed with the town of Rindge, Payson said she learned from two impressive women: Jo Anne Carr, former Rindge planner and current director of planning and economic development in Jaffrey, and former Rindge Planning Director Jane Pitt. Carr encouraged Payson to pursue planning, Payson said, adding, “Pitt gave me the benefit of her 30 years of experience and an education from the trenches that you can’t get from a classroom.”

Payson, who was working as a planning assistant in Rindge at the time, was named Rindge’s acting planning director shortly after the resignation of Pitt in March 2011. Payson was the part-time planning secretary for the town of Rindge from 2004 to 2007, starting at 20 hours a week. She worked her way up over the years, becoming full-time planning assistant by August 2008. After Payson became acting planning director, the full-time planning assistant position was eliminated.

Payson said the next few months will be an exciting time for Hillsborough. The Planning Board anticipates reviewing a proposal for a new development, which includes more than 300,000 square feet of commercial space and more than 65 elderly housing units. Payson wouldn’t disclose any further details about the project, other than to say the developer is scheduled to meet with the Hillsborough Planning Board on Dec. 19. “This is a neat little town, rich in history,” Payson said, “and this development could help bring it into the forefront even more.”

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