Marisa LauLau

Talia FoxFox

The town planning department has hired a new senior planner and sustainability manager.

Marisa Lau began in the former position in January, the same month Talia Fox took the latter job. Lau will participate in implementing the town master plan through projects related to the Historic Preservation Survey Master Plan. Fox will assist with putting into effect the net-zero plan and administering Green Communities grant and projects.

Planning Director Jenny Raitt told YourArlington on Feb. 2 that Lau took the position held by Kelly Lynema. She had been a senior planner since October 2018 and was promoted to assistant director.

Fox took job held by Ken Pruitt, but planning changed the title from energy and project manager. Pruitt, who worked here since July 2017. Now at Winchester, he made strides in promoting heat pumps the HeatSmart program.

Caryn Cove Malloy, director of human resources, wrote Feb. 2 that the annual salary for senior planner is $68,142 and sustainability is $83,287.

Tasks, background

Lau will also serve as a department liaison to Envision Arlington, serving on the Standing Committee, and as liaison with the Zoning Board of Appeals by providing technical analysis and reviews of special permits and variance requests and organization interdepartmental reviews, a town news release says. She will also conduct research and studies into a range of topics, such as land use, housing and economic development, examining alternatives and making recommendations in these topic areas.

Lau comes to the town from the City of Worcester, where she served as senior planner for the Office of Economic Development. There she served as staff liaison to the Planning Board for Planning and Regulatory Services Division, completing technical memos and participating in review sessions for preapplication projects.

Before that, she worked at the New Castle, Del., County Department of Land Use, where she created plan review processes, facilitated meetings for land-use legislative initiatives and launched a youth-outreach program for comprehensive planning. She also has experience as a recycling planner and working in park advocacy and conservation.

2 MAs

Lau holds two master's degrees -- in city planning with a concentration in city design and development from MIT and an MA in Anatolian Civilizations and Cultural Heritage Management from Koç University, Istanbul, Turkey. She has a bachelor of arts in political science and art history from Williams College.

“I'm excited to bring together my interests and experience in municipal government, parks and cultural heritage, and land-use planning in this role,” Lau said in the town news release. “I hope to connect people with local planning initiatives and facilitate broad participation in decision-making processes for Arlington.”

Sustainability manager, Fox also aids the Clean Energy Future Committee and the Energy Working Group and represent Arlington on the Metro Mayors Coalition Climate Change Preparedness Taskforce and the Urban Sustainability Directors Network. She also coordinate with other town departments, boards and commissions on larger town sustainability projects.


Fox comes here from Kim Lundgren Associates (KLA), where she most recently served as sustainability planning manager, leading participatory net-zero planning with municipalities throughout Massachusetts. Before KLA, she worked with Vanasse Hangen Brustlin (VHB) as an environmental and sustainability planner, managing climate-planning processes and data tracking for municipalities and public agencies in New England.

Fox completed her master’s degree in city planning with a concentration in environmental policy and planning from MIT and her bachelor’s degree in linguistics, cum laude, from Harvard University. She is also a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners.

"Through my experiences coordinating climate-change planning efforts around the region, I know that many municipalities look to Arlington for leadership on climate action,” she said in the town release. “I'm excited to collaborate with dedicated members of our community to build on this strong foundation and deliver on our carbon reduction and clean energy commitments. We have the tools and momentum to demonstrate that an equitable, carbon-free future is possible. Let's get to work!”

The Arlington Department of Planning and Community Development oversees planning and community development activities within the town and is committed to improving the quality of life in Arlington by improving housing opportunities, transportation access, and economic development to enhance the vitality of our business districts, and preserving and promoting our community’s natural, historic, and cultural resources. The Department oversees many key town-wide initiatives and implementation of long-range plans for the community. The Department manages the Town’s federal Community Development Block Grant Program and has done so since the program’s inception in 1974. The Department also provides staff support to many Town boards, commissions, and committees. For more information about the department, go to:

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This news announcement was published Thursday, Feb. 3, 2022.