Claire Ricker, 2022Ricker

UPDATED: Claire Ricker has been appointed the new director of planning and community development, Town Manager Sandy Pooler announced Tuesday, Aug. 23. She plans to start Sept. 19. 

Ricker is the director of real estate for Coalition for a Better Acre. The community-development corporation in Lowell oversees the development of affordable housing and long-range neighborhood planning to support stable housing in Lowell, Dracut and Haverhill, among other responsibilities.

She will be assuming the position held from 2016 until June by Jenny Raitt, who left to head a regional planning agency based in Lowell.

'A great reputation'

"Arlington has a great reputation for being innovative around planning and community-development initiatives,” said Ricker in a town news release. “I look forward to working with the Arlington community and the talented [planning] team.” 

Before her role at the Coalition for a Better Acre, Ricker worked in the Department of Planning & Development for the City of Lowell as both the chief design planner and urban-renewal project manager.

Her past experiences includes work as a senior planner in Holyoke, an environmental planning fellow in Cambridge, and an economic-development and land-use planning gellow in Newton.

She has also served as a licensed foreman, journeyman and apprentice electrician for IBEW Local 103 in Boston.

Academic background

She holds a master's in urban planning from Harvard University Graduate School of Design, a bachelor of arts in history from Mount Holyoke College and a certificate in construction management from Wentworth Institute of Technology.

She is certified by the American Institute of Certified Planners.

The director advises the Arlington Redevelopment Board and oversees the town’s planning, housing, economic development, arts-and-culture, conservation, urban renewal, zonng and transportation initiatives.

“I am excited to have Claire lead our excellent Department of Planning and Community Development,” said Pooler in the release. “Her experience in planning, real estate, urban renewal and economic development throughout Massachusetts make her uniquely suited to take on the position of director.”

Ricker will be paid $125,000 a year, Personnel Director Caryn Cove wrote in response to a query from YourArlington. Raitt was paid $131,204 annually. 

Selection team

Members of the selection team were Redevelopment Board Chair Rachel Zsembery, Arlington Human Resources Director Caryn Malloy, Director of Inspectional Services Michael Ciampa and Deputy Town Manager/Operations James Feeney.

The Department of Planning and Community Development is committed to improving the quality of life for Arlington's residents by improving access to housing and transportation, enhancing the vitality of business districts, providing opportunities for low- and moderate-income households, and preserving and promoting the town's natural, historic, and cultural resources. 

The department oversees various planning and community development activities within the town of Arlington, including implementation of the master plan and administration of the Arlington Community Development Block Grant Program.

Staff supports a range of town boards and committees, including the Redevelopment Board, and manages three redevelopment properties: Jefferson Cutter House, Central School (Community Center) and 23 Maple St. The Department has nine full-time staff members.

For more information about the department, go to  

May 4, 2022: Raitt leaving Arlington to lead regional planning agency

This news announcement based on information from the Town of Arlington was published Tuesday, Aug. 23, 2022, and updated, to add salary details.