New City Of Brevard Planners Embrace The Area – Brevard, NC


Last updated 8/12/2020 at 4:10pm

Kaitland Finkle

The attraction to working in a small community is how two new city planners found their way to Brevard.

Both Kaitland Finkle and Leigh Huffman started their positions as assistant zoning administrators for the city in March.

"I absolutely love working in Brevard," said Finkle. "I love the staff that I work with and the people in the community. I'm really passionate about smaller communities."

Finkle grew up in Charlotte, and though she liked it, the city was much too big, she said.

"I've worked in five local governments now," she said. "Brevard is my perfect fit. It checked all the boxes: Western North Carolina, a smaller community with outdoor recreation and it has an eye toward preserving the natural environment."

Finkle completed her undergraduate degree in planning at Appalachian State University, graduating in 2012, and then spent five years working in various local governments at the city and county level in North Carolina.

"I had an internship with the city manager's office in Hendersonville, with a temporary stint in the finance department over there, before I got to come back to my real interest in planning here in Brevard in March," she said.

She's currently finishing a double online masters program at UNC Chapel Hill, one in city planning and the other in public administration.

"I'm finishing up that online this semester and should, hopefully, graduate with those two in December of this year," she said.

Finkle enjoys Kayaking, and she and her husband, Matthew, and their rescue dog, Bella, go on frequent hikes in Brevard.

Huffman grew up in Hendersonville and went to the College of Wooster in Ohio.

After that, she worked as an assistant in international development for the International Monetary Fund in Washington, D.C., for two and a half years.

"I read and edited economic and technical assistance reports, and helped with some of our departments' outreach, and helped to plan big events and conferences," she said.

During that time, she pondered her next step.

"Being in DC, there is a significant culture in that you can't go higher in a job without a masters degree, so I was looking into what I potentially want to do later, and got really interested in city planning," she said. "That's when I started applying to urban planning programs."

From there, she went to Georgia Tech in Atlanta for her masters in city and regional planning, grad uating in May 2019.

After grad school, she said she knew that she either wanted to live in Western North Carolina, Atlanta or back in the Washington, D.C., region.

What she likes about working here is the variety, she said, and for two new city planners starting in the midst of COVID-19, there's been plenty of that.

"In bigger cities, you will do just one thing: approve zoning permits," she said. "But here in Brevard, we do the zoning permits, the inspection and I've been working on the downtown response for COVID-19, which entails the new COVID-19 use permit process, the curbside pick up areas and working out the outside seating tables."

Having grown up in the mountains, Huffman enjoys Hiking, camping and, prior to COVID-19, swing dancing in Asheville.

Leigh Huffman

She also likes the people here, she said, and in her downtime, she enjoys knitting, which makes Brevard a good fit for another reason, because "it has a great yarn store."


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