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Council planning team leader Ann Rodgers, who worked at the council from 2004-14 and from 2015-17, has accepted a job at the Mackenzie District Council in Fairlie and will leave Central Otago on August 17.
Ms Rodgers said Central Otago was an "amazing district", where there had been a "huge amount of change".
She said it was "time for a change" and she wanted to take up a new opportunity in a district that was "just as beautiful".
Ms Rodgers will be take up a role as planning manager in the Mackenzie district.
Council chief executive Sanchia Jacobs said Ms Rodgers had made an "enormously valuable" contribution during her time with the council.
"Obviously, it's a shame Ann is leaving, given her calibre and technical capability, and although it does add pressure to the planning department, Ann is taking on a new opportunity that is the next step in her career, so it's completely understandable."
The council's planning department recently hired another planner, had two current vacancies and would advertise for a new planning team leader shortly.
Earlier this year, Ms Jacobs described the pressure her council was under in planning when the council approved funding for a new planning position in the 2018-28 district plan.
"We haven't had an increase [in planners] in over five years, but if you look at the growth that's happened here, that's the same number of people dealing with that growth."