The city of Sandy Springs announced on Jan. 8 the addition of James Tolbert as Assistant City Manager for Planning and Neighborhood Services. Tolbert joins the city from Charlottesville, Va., where he served as Director of the Department of Neighborhood Services. Tolbert also serves as an adjunct professor at the University of Virginia’s School of Architecture, Department of Urban and Regional Planning.

“The city has experienced a tremendous surge in development interest and activity. As we plan growth with an eye towards the future, it is essential that we balance the needs of neighborhoods with those of developers. James brings an extensive background in urban planning, and will be instrumental in guiding strategic planning in that area,” said Sandy Springs City Manager John McDonough in a press release.

Prior to his role with the City of Charlottesville, Tolbert guided planning and development for the cities of Albany, Ga.; Columbus, Ga.; Myrtle Beach, S.C.; Gatlinburg, Tenn. and and Opelika, Ala.  Tolbert was previously a member of the Albany Dougherty Planning Commission and served as City Administrator for LaFayette, Ala.  The Virginia Planning Association has recognized Tolbert for his work with awards including 2005 Implementation Award, 2007 Innovation Award and in 2014 honored with the Outstanding Plan Award.

As a member of the senior management team, Tolbert will oversee Community Development, Recreation and Parks, Neighborhood Outreach Services, as well as assist with strategic planning and special projects.  Assistant City Manager Bryant Poole will continue oversight of the City’s Public Works and Capital Improvement Programs.

Tolbert received his Bachelor of Science in Community Planning and Development from Columbus College and earned his Master of Community Planning from Auburn University.  He is a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP).  Tolbert is expected to join Sandy Springs in early February.