After nearly two decades of service to the City of Delaware’s Planning and Community Development Department, Dave Efland is leaving to join the City of Westerville in the same capacity.

Efland relayed his intentions to the city on Monday, ending an 18-year run in Delaware. He will serve as the planning and development director in Westerville beginning June 12, taking over for Karl Craven, who is set to retire after more than 40 years.

In a letter of resignation submitted to City Manager Tom Homan, Efland stated, “I am extremely proud of my team in the Planning and Community Development Department. They are outstanding and work tirelessly for this community and with each other in our family atmosphere. I know the department is and will continue to be in great hands.

“With all we have accomplished as a team and a community in the city of Delaware, I firmly believe the future is even brighter. My family and I will always be Delawareans carrying this place in our hearts wherever we go.”

During his time as the head of Delaware’s planning efforts, Efland has guided the community through considerable changes and growth. According to the city, Delaware’s population expanded by nearly 10,000 people, or nearly 38%, between 2000 and 2010. Today, Delaware’s population is estimated to be approximately 45,000 people.

“Delaware is fortunate to have had Dave leading our department,” Homan told The Gazette. “For nearly two decades, he guided Delaware’s planning and development through unprecedented growth and unique times. We will miss him greatly but wish Dave and his family nothing but the best in this next chapter of his distinguished planning career.”

Efland’s resume, which earned him a place in the American Institute of Certified Planners College of Fellows in 2o22, made him a prized acquisition for the City of Westerville at a time when it has its own growth-associated challenges to manage.

“Dave’s expertise and experience is a blend of urban, town/gown, and suburban planning that Westerville wanted as we continue our own growth trajectory with both economic and residential opportunities,” said Westerville Assistant City Manager Jason Bechtold in a press release. “With change happening all around us in central Ohio, Dave is the right leader to help us capitalize on development opportunities that make sense for Westerville.”

Efland said of his decision to take the position, “Westerville is known across the state for its excellence in planning and development, and I want to be a part of that team. While honoring the history and character of the community, we have unprecedented opportunities to pursue building on the existing strong quality of life enjoyed by residents, businesses, and the workforce.”

As for where Delaware will now turn to fill the void left by Efland’s departure, a city spokesperson said the search for a new director will begin in June.

“The city of Delaware is a unique community and our Planning and Community Development Department is an outstanding team. Tremendous opportunity awaits for our next planning director and we are excited to begin the search,” Homan said.

Reach Dillon Davis at 740-413-0904. Follow him on Twitter @DillonDavis56.