City hires new community development director

Elizabeth S. Via has been named director of Community Development for the City of Manassas, replacing Roger Snyder who resigned in July.

She is leaving her position for the past two and a half years as division chief, Development Services, Office of Planning with Prince William County to take over the city post Feb. 24.

“I’m really looking forward to helping the city continue to move forward in economic development and redevelopment. I know I have some big shoes to fill in replacing Snyder who did a wonderful job for the city but I’m looking forward to the challenge,” Via said.

This will be Via’s second stint with the city as she served as city planner from 1990 to 1992, working on such issues as downtown revitalization, environmental regulations, transportation, housing and human service needs.

“It will be great returning to the city. I haven’t had time to plan much into the future but will get up to speed soon after coming on board,” she said.

With the county, Via managed the day-to-day operations of a 21-person division, including the work program, budget and personnel administration. She also assisted the Office of Economic Development on targeted industries and businesses.

Prior to the county position, she was division chief for Comprehensive Planning for Henrico County, Richmond for a year where she oversaw the operations of the 14-person division.

Via has 12 years in the planning field. She graduated from George Washington University with a degree in urban and regional planning.

“Via’s extensive planning, development and redevelopment experience in Northern Virginia and other Virginia communities fits very well into the immediate and long-range needs of the city,” said Lawrence D. Hughes, city manager, in announcing her hiring on Friday.

Hughes continued: “Via’s experience in Hampton with redevelopment projects will help the city develop partnerships for commercial redevelopment projects in the city. Her experience and credentials in the management of development processes in Henrico and Prince William counties will contribute substantially to the city’s efforts to maintain a competitive edge in economic development and redevelopment.”

Via, who lives just outside the Manassas city limits, also previously worked with the Prince William Park Authority as a historic preservation officer and part-time with the Town of Haymarket as a planning consultant.

She also received a bachelor’s degree in historic preservation from Mary Washington College in Fredericksburg in May 1985 and Hughes noted that “Via in addition to being an experienced planner, is well versed in the ideas and practice of historical preservation and city planning.”

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