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Obama Hires D.C. Planning Director at HUD

The White House has snatched the District’s point person for making Washington a more walkable and bikeable city.

D.C. Office of Planning Director Harriet Tregoning on Tuesday announced she will resign from the agency effective Feb. 23 to join the administration of President Barack Obama.

Tregoning, who is in her eighth year as planning director, will be going to work for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. During her tenure, she has pushed to make the city a more sustainable city and also fought to give D.C. more of a say in the shape of its skyline. In December, she testified to Congress on the merits of amending the federal Height Act to give the District more leeway to build vertically, putting her at odds with historic preservation advocates. Tregoning has also been a leader in the smart-growth movement.

“I have the chance to work with wonderful colleagues at the Office of Planning and throughout DC government,“ she said in a statement announcing her resignation. “I could not be prouder of the progress the city has made and I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to serve the citizens of the District of Columbia. This has been the best job ever.”

Prior to serving D.C., she was the director of the Governors’ Institute on Community Design. She co-founded the Smart Growth Leadership Institute with former Maryland Gov. Parris Glendening and served as its executive director. Tregoning developed her expertise in Maryland, where she served as Glendening’s secretary of planning and then as the nation’s first state-level secretary for smart growth.

HUD will not be Tregoning’s first federal government gig. She previously worked for the Environmental Protection Agency as director of development, community and environment. Tregoning’s academic training is in engineering and public policy, and she was a Loeb Fellow at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design.

Mayor Vincent Gray wished Tregoning the best at her new job.

“I’d like to thank Harriet for her dedicated service to the District and its residents,” he said in a statement. “She has worked tirelessly to help the District grow responsibly and become a thriving, more sustainable city. In recruiting her, President Obama and Secretary Donovan have demonstrated a keen eye for talent. Although she will be missed, I look forward to working with her in her new role.”

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