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Principal Planner Rebecca Bessey has been promoted to Director of Planning & Community Development for the City of Steamboat Springs. In addition, Senior Planner, Bob Keenan, has been selected to fill Bessey’s role as Principal Planner.
“As the city evolves, we’re privileged to have someone as talented and highly-skilled as Rebecca, who can step right into the director role,” said City Manager Gary Suiter. “The community has benefited from her expertise and leadership for years, and now in her new role, I only see that expanding for our community.”
Bessey officially assumed her new leadership role this week and joins the management team reporting directly to City Manager Suiter. She was named director earlier this year and served in an interim capacity since April, when Tyler Gibbs announced his retirement.
With more than 20-years of industry experience, Bessey joined the City of Steamboat Springs as Principal Planner in 2013. In that role, she oversaw hundreds of development applications; directed long-range planning, piloted the first comprehensive revision in over a decade of the Community Development Code; and, worked to improve customer service and planning efficiencies.
Prior to joining the city, Bessey worked just down the street as a Planner for Routt County for three years. For more than a decade, she held various planning and development positions from Staff Planner to Principal Planner for Birchler Arroyo Associates, an award-winning, national planning and transportation consulting firm in Lathrup Village, Michigan. She began her career as a Planning & Zoning Assistant for the Village of Dexter in Michigan.
“This is an exciting time for Steamboat Springs as the community articulates its long-term vision for downtown, examines community housing opportunities and investigates a significant annexation,” said Bessey. “I’m honored to play a role in forging the city’s future; and, along with a talented planning staff, look forward to working with residents, businesses and our development partners.”
Bessey received a Bachelor of Science with honors in Environmental & Natural Resource Policy from Michigan State University and a Master of Urban Planning with an emphasis on Physical & Development Planning from the University of Michigan. She is a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners and the American Planning Association.
In related planning news, Bob Keenan has been promoted to Principal Planner. Keenan has been with the city since 2001, providing planning guidance across a number of positions, most recently as Senior Planner for the past 11 years.
In that role, he managed municipal land use planning, floodplain management, Planned Unit Development Code; and, complex planning projects ranging from large scale multi-family units to mixed-use commercial to extensive subdivision developments. Before moving to Steamboat, Keenan was a Resident Engineer & Associate Engineer with Guertin Elkerton & Associates in Stoneham, Massachusetts.
A 17-year Yampa Valley resident, Keenan was nominated for the Community Alliance’s New Pioneer of the Yampa Valley in 2008 and recognized with a Yampa Valley Sustainability Council award for his sustainability advocacy with the city’s Green Team, which he chaired. Outside municipal interests, Keenan served on the Board for the Routt Schools Federal Credit Union, holding the president position for four years.
A member of the American Institute of Certified Planners and a Certified Floodplain Manager, Keenan holds a Bachelor of Science in Regional Planning with an emphasis in Environmental Planning from Westfield State College.
Gary Suiter, City Manager, 970.871.8240 or email
Rebecca Bessey, Planning & Community Development Director, 970.871.8202 or email
Michael Lane, Communications Manager, 970.871.8220 or email