Jay Marder of south Florida has been hired to lead the town of Oakland in its next chapter of significant planning and development, most notably along the town's gateway corridors. He replaces Max Spann, the former planner who recently resigned from the town to become a landscape architect with an engineering firm in Sanford.
Town Manager Dennis Foltz said Marder was highly recommended by several Central Florida planners who were contacted by Foltz.
“Jay Marder fits the criteria very well of what I think we need in a planning director in Oakland. He has a professional education and a strong background in planning in Florida, including 17 years with the city of Sanford and nine years with the city of Miami Gardens. He was (Miami Gardens') first planner, and in Sanford he was very instrumental in the river walk.
“I believe he’ll be a good fit for the town and with the development activities that we anticipate,” Foltz said.
Marder has master's degrees in urban planning, from San Jose State University, California, and public administration, from the University of Central Florida. His interest in planning was sparked by an introductory planning course he was encouraged to take when he was an undergraduate.
“It was taught by a great planner who helped establish the coastal protection in California,” Marder said. “I just kept going.”
In Miami Gardens, Marder initiated a livable “grand boulevard” vision that would completely re-plan and transform the five-mile segment of U.S. 1 and the adjacent roadway used by the local transit system.
He also received an award from the Miami-Dade County Historic Preservation Board in 2013 for initiating and preserving historic resources including local designations and architecture, and he helped obtain National Register designation for the Sunshine State Arch and various historic markers.
He's excited about the possibilities in Oakland and looking forward to working in a great environment and moving the town forward with positive contributions.
The new planner said he wants to do the following: Create a planning framework to preserve the character of the town within the context of burgeoning development pressures, continue the strategic actions and initiatives already under way including activating the downtown Tubb Street/West Orange Trail area, regulate State Road 50 development in a way that reflects the town’s character and prevent the typical “strip commercial” development that characterizes much of the Orlando Urban Area.
Marder, 66, has been married for 40 years to his wife, Randa, a certified life coach and health coach. They have one daughter, Talia, who works in the fashion industry, and a son, Josh, a rabbi in Chicago who is married with five children.
He previously lived in the Orlando area for 20 years and said it is great to come back to so many friends and colleagues. He is currently looking for a home in Oakland.
“He’s very passionate about planning and was doing some very creative volunteer planning down in the south Florida area where he lives,” Foltz said. “He’s educated, and he’s got experience, and I believe he’ll be very creative in what he does.”
Contact Amy Quesinberry Rhode at [email protected].