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Green Bay zoning administrator retires after three decades of service

By Kat Halfman
Staff Intern

GREEN BAY – At the beginning of this month, Paul Neumeyer, senior zoning administrator for the City of Green Bay, celebrated 30 years of service.

One day later, he called it a career.

Neumeyer has served the Green Bay community since 1992, working in the planning office at the City of Green Bay government in the Community and Economic Development branch.

Neumeyer retired as senior zoning administrator, a role he has held for the past 12 years.

But he started his career with Green Bay as a physical planner, a low-level planning position.

However, Neumeyer said the two jobs weren’t all that different, but as a physical planner, he handled more secondary projects, like sign permits and subdivisions.

As zoning administrator, a 40-hour-per-week job that typically started at 7:30 a.m., Neumeyer said he enforced the city’s zoning ordinances, handled zoning changes, like conditional use and change-of-use permits, wrote staff reports for the Planning Commission and Board of Appeals and fielded calls from citizens about zoning and development.

He said the reports varied depending on who they were for.

Neumeyer said reports for the Planning Commission were more focused on zoning issues, whereas reports for the Board of Appeals focused more on individuals and variance requests.

“My favorite aspect of the job was definitely working with people, both coworkers and constituents,” he said.

Neumeyer said working in local government is slightly different, “because we’re working for constituents, citizens and taxpayers of the community.”

“So it was different than working on the private side of the business, so to speak,” he said. “It was about working for the city and doing what was best for the city to help it grow and be sustainable.”

From physical planner, Neumeyer said he was promoted to senior planner, which was combined with zoning administrator shortly after to create the role he would retire in, senior zoning administrator.

He said he worked on an average of 25 projects a year, none of which he said stood out as much as the people that he worked with and for.

Over his 30 years on the job, Neumeyer said the community has seen some significant growth, yet Green Bay’s hometown-feel has remained consistent.

“While the city has certainly grown, especially on the east side, and the leadership has changed several times as well, I would say that we still have that small-town mentality and care that sets us apart,” he said. “The government and community aren’t all that different from when I started.”

Neumeyer graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay with a degree in urban planning before going into local government, a decision he said he has never regretted.

“What I’ll probably miss the most (about this job) are my coworkers and the citizens that I was able to connect with,” Neumeyer said. “There was some immediate gratification because I was able to answer people’s questions kind of right away and get a response or feedback from them.”

Now that he’s retired, Neumeyer said he’s looking forward to spending more time with his daughters, who are home from college this summer.

“And the rest of my family,” he said. “Also getting out to walk, bike and even play a little golf.” Neumeyer joked that unfortunately, he wasn’t able to sway his daughters to follow in his footsteps of urban planning, with each pursuing their own dreams.

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