The Community Development Director for a city wears many hats. They are typically responsible for, but not limited to, Planning/Engineering, Building/Codes, Public Works, Information Technology/Geographic Information System, and Fleet Maintenance. The quality and efficiency of the work done in community development directly impacts the quality of life for the residents of a community.
Mark Trosen has been the Community Development Director for Grain Valley since June of 2019. The Jackson County resident is a proud parent and new grandparent who was recently nominated to be featured in the Community Profile section of Grain Valley News.
When Trosen is away from work he loves spending time with family along with being outdoors and on the water. Boating and fishing are hobbies for Trosen.
Grain Valley City Administrator Ken Murphy works closely with Trosen and shared his thoughts on what Trosen has brought to the city in his role as Community Development Director.
“We were really excited when we learned that Mark applied for the Community Development Director position. Over the years, I have worked with Mark in his different roles with Jackson County and gained a great deal of respect for him,” Murphy said.
“Mark wasted no time getting to work for the city and has done a great job making sure that our difficult programs and projects have a clear direction moving forward.”
“Mark’s ability to find solutions to problems that the department is faced with makes him the right fit to lead in such a critical time of growth.”
Whether it’s Burger King or a medical marijuana cultivation facility, Trosen works with city staff and the Planning and Zoning Commission to facilitate the process of new businesses showing interest in Grain Valley.
There are typically seven steps a new business will go through in trying to partner with Grain Valley in seeing if there’s a fit.
1. An email or telephone call by a business interested in a property.
2. A response by the city with how that property is zoned, available utilities for that site, and rules and regulations for that zoning area.
3. If the location is desirable for a business, they go through a pre-application meeting to review pressing plans and the process of filling out an application with the city.
4. The business stays in contact with the city as they work through questions and details prior to submitting their application.
5. The business files the application with the city.
6. A public hearing is held with the Planning and Zoning Commission and they make a recommendation.
7. A public hearing is held with the Board of Alderman prior to an approval vote for ordinance.
“What I love most about my job is getting to work with people. We receive a lot of questions from people on how they may use their property and what type of development may occur. I get to share the vision of the city with people in regard to its comprehensive plan,” Trosen said.
“My role also allows me to problem solve, which I enjoy. A recent item we have problem solved and planned for is the recent presentation we did before the Board of Alderman about the city street maintenance program.”
“Back in 2018, there was a citizen survey that conveyed one of the main items residents were concerned about were street conditions in Grain Valley. When I started here last year one of the first things I did was looking at the city citizen survey and comprehensive plan.”
“That led to a proposal in the 2020 budget that would do a pavement condition assessment for how best we could improve the street conditions in Grain Valley.”
“The thing I enjoy the least about my job is that unfortunately, I have to tell people ‘no.’ Simply by ordinance they may not be allowed to do something based on land use or zoning. Those rules and regulations may make us say you can’t put that deck as close to your property line as you would like based on the minimum setback of city ordinance.”
“It’s tough to tell people ‘no.’ Explaining why that ‘no’ exists usually leads to people understanding though.”
Trosen has been complimented on more than one occasion during Board of Alderman meetings for his preparedness in providing maps, research on city ordinances, and providing answers to questions used by the Board of Alderman to make decisions.
“Knowing where to find resources that provide accurate answers is an important part of the job. We depend a lot on the Jackson County GIS system because they keep current aerial photos for maps. One of the goals of our department is to improve the capability of our local GIS so that down the road, citizens can get on the city website and find what they need as well,” Trosen said.
“When it comes to city ordinance, it’s both what you remember because of the day in and out of your job as well as doing research. I can recite the building setbacks of R1 zoning district right now, but if you said you wanted to have a particular use in the city, I would have to check ordinance to verify.”
“That’s kind of our role with citizens, developer, builders, and companies looking to locate here. We try to be ambassadors for the city regarding ordinances and guide them in where they can find the information they need to have the correct answers to make a decision.”
“We don’t want any surprises for people. We want to be up front with rules and regulations so there can be a partnership.”
Trosen has most been fascinated with the community feel of Grain Valley. The compassion that people have for wanting to be in the best neighborhoods, fire protection districts, and school district possible impresses Trosen.
Trosen paused for a second in reflection before giving his final interview answer as to what is the best advice he would give someone based on his professional experiences.
“Working for local government, the only thing you truly have is your integrity and character. If that’s ever tarnished by the way you perform in a particular job, it’s reflected in how people think of you.”
“Being upfront, transparent, and sharing accurate information is what I’m judged upon on in my opinion.”
Have a nomination for a Community Profile? E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org