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Cody Christensen named Des Moines’ Development Services director


Cody Christensen has been named director of Des Moines’ Development Services department, the city announced.

Christensen will oversee a city department that provides strategic and long-term planning; reviews development projects for compliance with planning, zoning and subdivision codes; issues building permits and inspects construction projects; and manages economic incentive programs including tax abatement and tax-increment financing.

Cody Christensen

Christensen has worked for the city since 2006 when he was hired as a building inspector. He most recently was administrator of Des Moines’ Permit and Development Center.

“As an experienced staff member and departmental leader, Cody brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to this position that is so vital to the growth and vision of Des Moines,” City Manager Scott Sanders said in a prepared statement.

Christensen said he’s looking forward to working with a staff that is adaptable and willing to consider new approaches to the way the city does business. For example, during the pandemic the staff shifted away from being reliant on hard copies of plans and other documents and primarily conducting meetings in person.

“We’ll probably take some different approaches and push the limits on things that are on the leading edge of development concepts,” Christensen said. “That’s one of the things that makes Des Moines really special – we have the ability to see the things that nobody else in the state has seen.”

For example, Iowa’s first mass timber development project was in Des Moines at 111 E. Grand Ave., he said. “We are open to those new concepts. … I fully intend to continue to approach these new ideas with the mindset that ‘Yes, we want to help find a way for this to work in Des Moines’ while we are maintaining high-quality development, sustainable development, and ultimately, safe construction.”

Christensen, who will be paid $177,000 annually, began his new position on Monday. He succeeds former director Erin Olson-Douglas and interim director Michael Ludwig in the role.


Kathy A. Bolten

Kathy A. Bolten is a senior staff writer at Business Record. She covers real estate & development, law & government and retail.

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