The Western Regional Office is located in Building B in the Asheville Office Park on the east side of downtown Asheville near the Beaucatcher Tunnel.
Karen Smith, AICP, Chief Planner. Karen began working for the DCA Western Regional Office as a Community Development Planner in August of 2005 and became its Chief Planner in June of 2006. Prior to joining DCA, Karen spent almost 14 years working as a planner for Henderson County, NC, including more than 6 years as the Planning Director. Karen has a Bachelor’s degree in Geography from Boston University and a Master’s degree in City and Regional Planning from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her experience includes land use and comprehensive planning, growth management, ordinance preparation and administration, board and committee support and training, and planning administration. She currently serves as an appointed member of the Executive Committee of the North Carolina Chapter of the American Planning Association in the positions of Awards Committee Co-Chair and At-Large Member for the West. She is also a member of the Western Carolina University Local Government Training Program Advisory Board.
Virginia Faust, AICP, Senior Planner. Ginny joined DCA in 1997 after working for Haywood County for six years; previously she had been the City Planner Hendersonville when she first moved to the area in 1985. She has a degree in history from the University of Notre Dame and received her Master’s in City and Regional Planning from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. While an interest in farmland preservation led to her decision to pursue a career in planning, her areas of expertise now include urban design, creating walkable communities, encouraging downtown revitalization, and floodplain management issues.
Kristy Carter, AICP, Appalachian Regional Commission Regional Planner. Kristy joined DCA in January 2006. Prior to working with DCA, Kristy worked with homeless folks and on housing issues in Asheville, NC. Kristy has a BS and an MPA from Western Carolina University. Her specialty areas include long-range palnning, facilitation and training, bicycle and pedestrian planning, and neighborhood development. Kristy is involved in a variety of community activities and is a current member of the City of Asheville’s Planning and Zoning Commission and a former member of the City of Asheville's Board of Adjustment.
Ron Hancock, AICP, Community Development Planner. Ron graduated from Western Carolina University in 1995 with a B.S. in Geography, and from Appalachian State University in 2001 with an M.A. in Geography and Appalachian Studies. Ron has been with DCA since 2006 and has prior local government experience working as a Land Use and Air Quality Planner for the Western Piedmont Council of Governments in Hickory, NC. He was previously employed as a GIS Technician for the N.C. Center for Geographic Information and Analysis in Asheville and was the GIS Administrator and an Instructor in the Department of Geography and Planning at ASU. Ron’s areas of specialty include: small town and rural planning; environmental and natural resources conservation; and spatial analysis.
Glen Locascio, Business and Technology Applications Analyst. Glen has been with DCA since 2001 as a specialist in the application of Geographic Information Systems (GIS). He graduated from Tufts University with a BS and Duke University with a Master of Environmental Management in 1996. Glen previously worked in the private sector and with the Southern Appalachian Forest Coalition in the field of GIS. With DCA he provides GIS support services for communities in Western North Carolina, including GIS training and implementation as well as technical assistance for local governments and economic development organizations. His projects range from zoning map creation to evaluation of development constraints on the natural environment. Glen specializes in analyzing and characterizing information to assist officials in the decision-making process. He currently serves on the Asheville Greenway Commission.