harper hill art
Harper Hill donates an Edward O. Wilson painting Nov. 2020

Harper Hill, an insurance agent and a former vice-president of the DeLand Area Chamber of Commerce and president the Rotary Club of DeLand, was unanimously appointed to serve on the city’s Planning Board Nov. 21.

Six applicants applied for the vacancy on the advisory board that was created when former Planning Board Member Dan Reed was elected to the DeLand City Commission in August. The other applicants were Kelly Hobbs, Lacey McMullan, Jonel Meta, Beverly Scott and Paul Tetor. 

Each applicant appeared before the DeLand City Commission to state their case for why they should be appointed to the Planning Board. Some cited their work experience; others cited their time spent in DeLand and familiarity with the community.

“This is an impressive group of applicants.” City Commissioner Charles Paiva said. 

Each applicant was awarded a score by the city commissioners in a brief vote, and Hill scored the highest. He was unanimously appointed to the board.

Hill, a local insurance agent for Allstate, said he is looking forward to serving.

“I have previously served on the economic development committee for the City of DeLand and enjoy being involved,” he told The Beacon. “I’m not only a property owner, but also a business owner. More importantly, my family is here and with my wife and four kids I’m invested in making sure our community is one they are proud of.”

A number of the applicants for the spot on the Planning Board expressed concern about the state of development in DeLand. Hill said it’s inevitable because of the city’s prime location and its growing reputation.

“Many families and retirees are looking for what we have to offer,” he said. “The key is managing the growth responsibly while maintaining our charm. I plan to look at each project that comes before me objectively, and making logical informed recommendations to our City Commission.”

Update, Nov. 29: This story has been updated to correct an error regarding Hill’s past credentials.


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