OCEAN CITY – The Mayor and City Council recognized Planning and Community Development Director Jesse Houston this week on his retirement after 30 years of service with the town.
With Mayor Rick Meehan absent during Tuesday afternoon’s Mayor and City Council meeting, Council President Jim Hall presented Houston with a Proclamation and Key to the City recognizing him for his service.
Houston joined Ocean City in 1982 and has played a significant role in the Department of Planning in Zoning. While Houston’s formal responsibilities included leading the daily planning and zoning efforts of the town, he was also instrumental in the preparation of several comprehensive plans, comprising of the development of Eagles Landing Golf Course, the formation of the Ocean City Development Corporation and the development of Ocean City’s Critical Area Program.
“We are going to miss Jesse,” Jim Hall said. “For me, serving 26 years, Jesse takes care of the comprehensive plan for us. If you want to look at an item that took a lot of work, he is the master of the comprehensive plan and for that we are really going to miss him … hats off to you. We are very proud of you and we are going to miss you.”
In addition to being active in the creation of numerous zoning and development-related legislative efforts, including the rezoning to protect Caine Woods as a single family neighborhood, Houston has represented the town in many capacities, such as on the Maryland Coastal Bays Board of Directors and Implementation Committee, the Maryland Climate Change Commission and as a charter member of the American Planning Association.
“I want to thank the council, all the mayors, and all the City Councils that I have had the pleasure serving with. All of the city staff from my department to all the departments in town, you couldn’t find better people to work for. Everyone has always been there when I needed any help, or information, or backup and support, so it has been a wonderful opportunity,” Houston said. “I just realized the other day I have worked here almost half of my life, and that is a long time … I thank everybody. It has been a wonderful experience. Where else can you work and not wear socks?”
Houston has a Bachelor’s degree from Western Maryland College and a Master’s degree from Kansas State University. Before joining the Town of Ocean City, he was first employed with Indiana Heartland Coordinating Commission and Wicomico County Planning Department. His plans after retirement include traveling with his wife, Bonnie, and visiting his children and grandchildren in various parts of the country.