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New assistant planning director served Melrose, Wellesley

Erin ZwirkoZwirko

UPDATED, May 3: Erin Zwirko has joined the staff of the town Department of Planning and Community Development as its assistant director and began work April 23.

She fills a position vacated by longtime department employee Laura Wiener, who had been a point person on housing, cycling and Mass. Ave. Wiener told YourArlington that she left her position in the Planning Department in January to become senior transportation planner for the Town of Watertown. She worked for Arlington for 17 years.

Zwirko will perform professional and technical work, including the development and implementation of land-use policies for the town and management of community affairs. 

She comes to Arlington with 14 years of professional planning experience, including serving as assistant planning director for the City of Melrose and as planner for the Town of Wellesley. 

She has served on local and regional boards, including as a past commissioner for the Melrose Conservation Commission. In Melrose, she supported the city’s master plan initiative, researched and prepared zoning amendments to further smart growth and transit-oriented development goals, and worked across departments on a number of development projects.

In Wellesley, she administered the town’s Large House Review and supported the Design Review Board and Historic District Commission. She has a master’s degree in urban and environmental policy and planning from Tufts University and a bachelor’s degree in human ecology from the College of the Atlantic.

Her credits include AICP from the American Institute of Certified Planners, and LEED AP, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Accredited Professional, a credential showing expertise in green-building design.  "I'm pleased Erin has accepted the appointment," Jennifer Raitt, director of planning and community development, said in an April 26 news release. "She brings a wealth of skills, knowledge and expertise to the department and the town."

Zwirko commented in the release: "I'm excited for this opportunity, and I'm very happy to join the dedicated department .... The department and the town have a wonderful reputation. I look forward to working with them and the community on projects that support the Town of Arlington."

She was selected from a pool of 20 who applied for the position. Members of the selection team were Caryn Malloy, town human resources director; Michael Byrne, town director of inspectional services; and Raitt.

Caryn Molloy, human-resources director, reported Zwirko's annual salary at $87,289.

In the release, the town Department of Planning and Community Development says it aims to improve the quality of life for Arlington's residents by increasing housing opportunities, transportation access, economic development to enhance the vitality of our business districts and generate commercial tax revenue, providing opportunities for low- and moderate-income households, and preserving and promoting the town's natural, historic and cultural resources.

The department focuses on planning, redevelopment and creating future development opportunities. The department oversees various planning and community development activities within the town, including implementation of the master plan, Mass. Ave. Phase II planning, Complete Streets and a range of efforts in the town's business districts. 

The department has 13 full-time and two part-time staff members. Staff supports the Arlington Redevelopment Board and manage three town buildings: Jefferson Cutter House, Senior Center and 23 Maple St. 

For more information about the department, go to

This news announcement was published Saturday, April 28, 2018, and updated April 30, to add salary and again on May 3.

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