Following an extensive nationwide recruitment effort, County Executive Chris Shorter appointed Tanya Washington Stern as Prince William County’s Planning Director. The Board of County Supervisors concurred with the County Executive’s decision to appoint Washington Stern, whose appointment is effective Feb. 5, 2024.
In her role as Planning Director, Washington Stern will lead the county’s Planning Office, which is responsible for the review of development applications including rezonings, special use permits, comprehensive plan amendments, Agricultural and Forestal District applications, public facility reviews and zoning text amendments. The office also acts as support staff to the Planning Commission, Historical Commission, Agricultural and Forestal Districts Advisory Committee, Architectural Review Board, and the Trails and Blueways Council. The Planning Office has three divisions: Long-Range Planning, Current Planning and Community Development.
Washington Stern has nearly 20 years of experience in local government. She has served in several leadership roles in the planning field, including as the Acting Planning Director for the Montgomery County, Maryland, Planning Department. Prior to serving as the Acting Planning Director, she served for four years as the Deputy Planning Director in Montgomery County. She has also served as the Deputy Director for Planning, Engagement and Design for the Office of Planning in Washington, D.C.
“I am excited to welcome Tanya to Prince William County government as our new Planning Director,” said County Executive Chris Shorter. “She brings a tremendous amount of experience in comprehensive land use planning and development, including playing key roles in the updates of Comprehensive and General Plans in two jurisdictions and leading several area and countywide plans and studies.”
Shorter added, “I also want to thank the current staff and leadership in the Planning Office, who have worked tirelessly and diligently over the last couple of years in completing major projects. They are a very talented and dedicated team, and I am grateful for all that they have and continue to do to support our county.”
“I am honored to join Prince William County,” said Washington Stern. “Planning plays a pivotal role in the future of a community, and I am passionate about serving the public and enhancing the vibrancy of a changing and diverse community. The Planning Office in Prince William County has done a tremendous amount of work over the past several years, and I’m looking forward to continuing and enhancing efforts in advancing equity in community planning through policy development, equitable planning methodologies and community engagement.”
Washington Stern received her Master of City Planning from the University of Pennsylvania and Bachelor of Arts from the University of Maryland. She is a Certified Public Manager, as well as a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners, the American Planning Association, and the Lambda Alpha International Honorary Society for the Advancement of Land Economics. She also sits on local and national councils with the Urban Land Institute.