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Ex-planning director returning to Dunedin

Richard Follett, who left Dunedin three months ago for greener pastures in Clearwater, is back in his old job. He was hired back Monday as head of Dunedin's Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) and the city's director of planning _ posts he left in July because he said he had done all he could in Dunedin.

But Follett said Monday he decided to leave Clearwater because he missed talking to the public.

"It's a larger city and more compartmentalized," he said. "Dunedin gives you the ability to get involved with the downtown people."

As a senior planner in Clearwater, Follett drafted a plan to help the city develop annexation incentives for property owners. He furnished the state Department of Community Affairs with documents necessary to secure a grant for studies dealing with land-use regulations.

Kevin Campbell, Dunedin's director of planning and development services, said 25 people applied for Follett's old job. Follett, 45, said he will earn about $32,000 _ the same salary he was paid when he left.

"It's a known quantity," Campbell said Monday night. "I get to put him right back to work."

Follett was hired in Dunedin as a planner in 1987. He became planning director in 1989 and has since directed a push to revitalize downtown.

He helped design a proposed new look with angled street parking, benches and planters. He also worked with local businesses to start a farmers market.

Follett gave Clearwater two weeks' notice on Monday.

"He figured very prominently in our downtown redevelopment plan," Clearwater Planning Manager Scott Shuford said. "Richard has certainly done an excellent job."

Follett will take over his old job Nov. 5.