Dover planner Townshend resigns for job in Lewes

DOVER — Ann Marie Townshend recently received the proverbial “offer she couldn’t refuse” from the city of Lewes.

So Mrs. Townshend informed the city of Dover in a letter on Wednesday that she would be resigning from her position as the director of planning and community development and her associated appointments of city planner and building inspector.

Mrs. Townshend, whose last day with the city of Dover will be March 31, has accepted a job as Lewes’ city manager.

“I have had an interest in moving on to city management and I have an opportunity to do that,” she said. “I’m going to be going to the city of Lewes as their city manager. We’re still working out some of the details, but they’ve offered me the position and I’ve accepted it.”

Mrs. Townshend’s impending resignation came just two days after Dover City Manager Scott Koenig announced at a city council meeting that he would be retiring as of today.

She said the two announcements are not related and that she just got “a great opportunity.”

Dover Mayor Robin R. Christiansen said Mrs. Townshend’s resignation came as a surprise.

“Ann Marie Townshend’s departure from city government is certainly a surprise and a great loss to the city team,” Mayor Christiansen said. “For the last 11 years she has provided stable and straight-forward leadership to her department.

“While she and I often had disagreements on her interpretation of the codes and zoning ordinances — the Book of No, as I liked to call it — she fairly administered her duties with diligence and fairness.”

Anne Marie Townshend

Mayor Christiansen also noted that Mrs. Townshend also officially began managing the Parks Division in 2013.

“She stepped forward to manage the Parks Division when asked to do so,” he said. “She also was a member of the Downtown Dover Partnership and the Economic Development Committee, again adding great insight.

“Her talents and dedication will be missed and I wish her well as she pursues her next great adventure.”

Mrs. Townshend said Dover has provided her with a tremendous amount of working knowledge and many lifelong friends.

“I have absolutely enjoyed my time working for the city of Dover,” Mrs. Townshend said. “I have had the benefit of working on some very challenging tasks.

“I feel like I’ve developed some very strong personal and professional relationships through my role with the city. I have been very fortunate.”

A lot of Mrs. Townshend’s job has been a balance of trying to protect the historic heritage of Dover while also preparing it for a vibrant future.

That’s not an easy task, but she said it is one that she has thoroughly enjoyed.

Mrs. Townshend has lived in Dover since 1999 back when she bounced back and forth between the state capital and Newark as a state principal planner.

She was hired as Dover’s director of planning and inspections on Feb. 27, 2006.

She has been a fixture at City Hall and seems to be an attendee at just about every meeting the city holds.

“I like being busy,” Mrs. Townshend said. “Busy has always been good to me.”

She said her time spent with the city of Dover is one that she will cherish.

“I would say that working on the Downtown Development District and Restoring Central Dover project has been the most rewarding in my career,” she said. “The people who are involved in (building new houses and restoring downtown neighborhoods) are so committed to the mission that it can only lead to success.”

Delaware State News staff writer Mike Finney can be reached at mfinney@newszap.com.

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