Saturday, July 2, 2022

A Strong Work Ethic With A Dash of Southern Charm, Richard Schell Is An Unsung City Hero

Anyone raised in the south understands that there are certain unwritten rules, and failure to adhere to these basic societal principles just isn’t acceptable. For example, one must always be hospitable and polite, kind and helpful. Many Southerners learn to perfect these traits, believing life will be better for having done so.  And when a person is successful in honing the skills, he or she is regarded as possessing southern charm.  Principal Planner Richard Schell is a fine example of a hard-working, charming gentleman, who carries out his duties with unpretentious courtesy, plenty of respect for others, and a gracious temperament.

Richard is responsible for reviewing development plans and plats for property owners and authoring staff reports for board meetings. When called upon to present the items at a Zoning Board of Adjustment or Planning & Zoning Commission meeting, he steps into the spotlight and becomes a well-polished spokesman, presenting complex information, recalling important (and sometimes minute) details, and professionally fielding questions. During FY 2017, the planning team processed 153 development applications, including site plans, specific use permits, comprehensive plan amendments, and plats.  Richard presents the majority of these cases at the P&Z Commission and 2035 Corridor Committee meetings and presents all the cases at the Zoning Board of Adjustment meetings. All of this important work is carried out with quiet confidence and proficiency.

Major projects that Richard has worked on recently include TD Ameritrade, Apple Store, CISD school bond facility projects and major residential projects such as Crescent Heights (57 lots), Town Square Parkview Residences (38 condos), Metairie (56 lots) and Stony Brook (48 lots).

Due to his efforts, review procedures work smoothly. His considerable ability to usher projects through the process serves the City, board members, and our customers very well.  That he is able to achieve it all with a calm and capable demeanor underscores the depth of his talent.

“Richard has an incredible work ethic,” said Ken Baker, Senior Director of Planning and Development Services.  “He works hard and smart, and when it comes time to deliver the work product, he always hits his mark. He arrives before 7:00 a.m. on most days, and is one of the most productive and amiable employees I’ve ever supervised.”

Richard’s manner is always humble, in spite of his considerable skill. His soft, southern drawl makes a strong impression and contributes to his reputation as a well-mannered professional and Southern gentleman.

Thank you for all you do, Richard, and for the way you do it.