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Published: Monday, 5/17/2004

Perrysburg's planning chief held 'dream job'

Douglas R. Guest, Perrysburg's planning and zoning administrator who was instrumental in several major projects, including the $250 million Levis Commons development under construction, died Saturday at Medical College of Ohio Hospitals. He was 48.

The cause of death was complications from throat cancer, his sister, Barbra Finnemore, said.

Mr. Guest was born in Toledo and raised in Bedford Township. He received a master's degree in planning from the University of Toledo in 1991. He had always been fascinated by geography, his sister said, leading to his career in city planning.

"He loved Perrysburg for the history and because it's an up-and-coming community," Mrs. Finnemore said. "He wanted to make the community a better place to live with more stores and a variety of different things."

Mr. Guest was hired as a planner for Bedford Township in 1989. He took a position with Proudfoot Associates in 1991, and was named director of planning for the company a year later.

About four years ago, Mr. Guest was named Perryburg's planning and zoning administrator - a position he called his "dream job," Mrs. Finnemore said.

Mr. Guest worked to create the "urban village" zoning for the Levis Commons development along State Rt. 25.

Timothy McCarthy, Perrysburg city council president, said the project is the first mixed-use development since the city implemented a new zoning district plan last year. The plans include an upscale town center featuring retail shops, restaurants, offices, and a residential neighborhood.

Last year, Perrysburg City Council adopted changes to its zoning code to allow development that interweaves an array of residential, commercial, and even light industrial uses.

"He was the chief person to help get that ordinance written," Mr. McCarthy said. "I think Doug was very enthusiastic about that project and the introduction of new planning ideas we haven't see in northwest Ohio to date, [such as] this mixture of uses."

Mr. Guest also helped to complete the city's comprehensive plan update, Mr. McCarthy said, and was instrumental in creating the city's sexual-oriented business ordinance.

Mr. Guest was a member of the Ohio Planning Conference, the American Planning Association, the Registry of Environmental Professionals, and the National Trust for Historic Preservation. He was also a former member of the Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Governments board of trustees.

Surviving are his wife, Nancy; stepson, Justin Stoner; parents, Richard and Sharon Guest; sister, Barbra G. Finnemore; and brother, James Guest.

The body will be in the Witzler-Shank Funeral Home in Perrysburg after 2 p.m. tomorrow. Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. Wednesday at Zoar Lutheran Church in Perrysburg.

The family suggests tributes to the American Cancer Society or to Habitat for Humanity.

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