Who's My Neighborhood Planner?
The Mayor's Office of Strategic Planning has a team of planners that work and engage within their assigned neighborhoods to serve as a liaison between the community and City Hall. Read more below about your neighborhood planner, and how to contact them!
Crystal MiddletonDirector of Planning and Zoning
Crystal Middleton serves as the Director of Planning and Zoning in the Mayor's Office of Strategic Planning. Born and raised on the East side of Buffalo, she has always had a burning passion for the advancement of underserved populations. Crystal is a proud graduate of Virginia State University, a historically black university (HBCU), where she earned her Bachelor of Arts degree and SUNY University at Buffalo, where she earned her Masters of Urban and Regional Planning. After serving as a General Planner for the Buffalo Urban Renewal Agency and subsequently as a Senior Planner for the City of Buffalo, she continues planning in a leadership role that is equity-focused and founded on collaboration. Crystal is also a mother to a loving six-year-old boy and a lifelong advocate for the growth and revitalization of Buffalo.
Fun fact about Crystal: Crystal was the lead in numerous school plays and performances as a child. Her favorite role was the 'Headless Haunt', based on the written book Headless Haunt and Other African-American Ghost Stories by James Haskins, an African-American author.
Hailey WhitneyGeneral Planner
Hailey Whitney is a General Planner for the Mayor’s Office of Strategic Planning. Hailey is responsible for planning projects related to vacant land, land use, and housing, as well as projects in her neighborhoods. Hailey’s planning neighborhoods include Upper West Side, Elmwood-Bidwell, Black Rock, Riverside, West Hertel, Grant-Amherst, Parkside, North Park, and Central Park. Prior to joining the Office of Strategic Planning, Hailey served as an AmeriCorps VISTA through Project M.O.V.E. and the Division of Citizen Services. There, she led the Love Your Block Program, a mini-grant program targeted at addressing blight and activating vacant spaces in Buffalo’s most distressed neighborhoods. Hailey holds a Bachelor of Science in Urban and Regional Planning and Bachelor of Arts in Geography from SUNY Buffalo State College.
Fun fact about Hailey: Hailey is a proud alumni of Buffalo State College's Division III Women's Lacrosse program and continues her passion for the sport through volunteer coaching.
Heike JacobGeneral Planner
Heike Jacob, AICP, is a General Planner for the Mayor’s Office of Strategic Planning. In this role, Heike is responsible for planning projects related to climate change, parks, and food policy, as well as planning projects in her neighborhoods, including Ellicott, Hopkins-Tifft, South Park, Seneca-Cazenovia, Seneca-Babcock, Kaisertown, Pratt-Willert, and the First Ward. She also assists with the administration of the Zoning Board of Appeals. Prior to joining the City of Buffalo, Heike worked at the UB Regional Institute, providing technical assistance to municipalities in Erie and Niagara counties through NYSERDA's Clean Energy Communities program. Heike holds a bachelor’s degree in architecture and environmental studies from Wellesley College and a master’s degree in city and regional planning from the University of Pennsylvania. She is also certified by the American Institute of Certified Planners.
Fun fact about Heike: Heike is a dual citizen with Germany and even lived there for a year while studying abroad at the Technical University of Munich. Her time in Europe is what inspired her to pursue a career in city planning.
Nkosi AlleyneGeneral Planner
Nkosi Alleyne is a General Planner in the Mayor’s Office of Strategic Planning. A New York City native, Nkosi earned his Bachelor Degree in Environmental Design and his Master's in Urban Planning from the University at Buffalo School of Architecture and Planning. Nkosi’s planning focus is transportation planning throughout the city, while his planning neighborhoods include Broadway-Fillmore, Genesee-Moselle, Lovejoy, Fruit Belt, Lower West Side, West Side, Allentown, and Elmwood-Bryant. He also assists with the City of Buffalo’s Planning Board.
Fun fact about Nkosi: Nkosi is a first generation migrant from Trinidad and Tobago.
John FellPrincipal Planner
John has over 20 years of experience in the planning field and serves as the neighborhood planner for the Central neighborhood and downtown area.
Fun Fact about John: John looks so much like James Bond, that we could not post his photo on the website to prevent residents from getting confused.