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Central Coast Section News

Call for Candidates for Central Coast Section's Executive Board of Directors
October 27, 2019 to November 10, 2019

Call for Candidate Statements!

Submit your candidate statement online through the Online Candidate Statement Form. Click here to nominate yourself and submit a candidate statement.

The Executive Board of Directors leads the Central Coast Section of the American Planning Association's California Chapter (APACA) is soliciting candidates from within its membership to run for positions on the Section's Executive Board of Directors.

Central Coast Section's Executive Board of Directors (2018)Members of our Executive Board of Directors oversee exciting professional development activities throughout Ventura, Santa Barbara, and San Luis Obispo counties, throughout the State of California, and nationally. Getting involved is a great way to connect with other professionals in your field and contribute to the quality of your profession. Five Executive Board of Directors positions will be open in the upcoming elemction and Board Members for each position will be elected by the membership in November/December including:

  • San Luis Obispo County Sub-Section Director
  • Santa Barbara County Sub-Section Director
  • Ventura County Sub-Section Director
  • Legislative Officer
  • Membership Inclusion Officer

Elected Board Members will begin their terms on January 1, 2020. Each of the above offices serves a term of 2 years. The duties for these positions are detailed in the California Chapter of the American Planning Association’s Central Coast Section Bylaws. Click here to review the Central Coast Section's Bylaws

Election Schedule

  • Now | Call for Candidate Statements Now! Submit your candidate statement online through the Online Candidate Statement Form. Additional details are below for interested candidates. 

  • November 10, 2019 | Candidate Statements Due | All statements must be submitted by email no later than November 20, 2017.

  • November 15, 2019 thru December 1, 2019 | Election of Candidates | Candidate Statement Published and Polls Opened to Membership. 

  • December 15, 2019 | APA Central Coast Section’s Board of Directors certifies election

  • Between December 16, 2019 and December 31, 2019 | APA Central Coast Section’s Board of Director announces results. 


Where can I learn more details about the Executive Board of Directors and this Election?

Visit centralcoastapa.org/central-coast-section-election to learn more.

Success at CLU for APA in Ventura County
October 22, 2019

The Central Coast Section of APA co-hosted a first of its kind joint event at California Lutheran University (CLU) on October 7th with strong positive feedback from numerous attendees. The event was a joint effort, planned and co-hosted with CLU's Masters of Public Policy and Administration Program. Amongst other attendees, the Program's Urban Planning and Policy class attended the evening event.

CLU, Thousand Oaks Campus in Ventura CountyFollowing appetizers and mingling at the Lundring Center at CLU's Thousand Oaks campus, guest panelists opened the evening with a discussion of urban resiliency in Ventura County and what the emerging concept has come to mean to each of them in their roles. The guest panel portion of the event welcomed Dave Ward (Ventura County Planning, Planning Director), Darren Kettle (Ventura County Transportation Commission, Executive Director), and Sandy Smith (Sespe Consulting, Land Use Consultant; California Lutheran University, Senior Adjunct Faculty).

After listening to guest panelists respond to moderator-led questions, the students, alumni and APA members in attendence broke into small discussion groups to have their own voices added to those of guest panelists. At the end of the discussions, the groups reported out on the conversations in each of their groups.

Group discussion outcomes with guest panelistsFinally, the evening wrapped up with a fast-paced Speed Networking exercise led by APA's Kristina Boero and CLU's Loredana Carson. With strong feedback from students and APA following this event, the Central Coast Section is looking forward to strengthening its relationship with CLU in the future and plans to find additional opportunities for APA to share experiences with CLU's Public Policy and Administration.

PDF icon APA-CLU Fall Networking Event_Agenda (1).pdf
On Statewide Rent & Housing Tour, Governor Gavin Newsom Signs Nation’s Strongest Statewide Renter Protection Legislation
October 20, 2019

The following information is being shared by your Legislative Officer, Denice Thomas, AICP.

Click here to see the press release.

Governor Gavin Newsom signs 18 housing bills
October 20, 2019

Press release forwarded to you by your Central Coast Legislative Officer. Governor Newsom has signed 18 bills today whose intent is to boost housing production in the state.

Click here to read the press release!

Annual Membership Survey
October 18, 2019
How can the Central Coast Section of the American Planning Association better serve APA members along the Central Coast?
We are requesting your participation in a brief survey designed to gather information about how we can best serve our current APA members and attract new members who have an interest in being involved in the professional planning community through APA sponsored events and activities. 
The Central Coast Section of the American Planning Association's California Chapter serves San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, and Ventura Counties. We aim to provide planning professionals, elected officials, and community members with services, support, and information to advance planning on the Central Coast of California and beyond. The Section offers professional development and networking opportunities, and current information on national, state, and local planning news. 
The information you provide will help us set Central Coast Section priorities. Click here to access the online Annual Membership Survey
Thank you for you participation,
Executive Board of Directors, Central Coast Section
American Planning Association, California Chapter
Executive Board of Directors, Central Coast Section, American Planning Association, California Chapter
Did you know October is National Community Planning Month?
October 3, 2019

Check out National APA’s website for more information https://www.planning.org/ncpm/ and to see how you can get involved with National Planning Month Festivities and/or inspire your workplace. Get inspired – spread the word! Check out APA’s Resource Hub for social media and communication ideas and advocacy support.

Message from the Director | October 2019
October 1, 2019

We just finished the APA CA State Conference in Santa Barbara, with a total of 1,519 attendees! I hope the conference was full of networking opportunities and left you feeling invigorated as we head into fall. 

Sagrada de La Familia, Barcelona, Spain  Southeast coast of Turkey in the Aegean Sea

I was fortunate enough to just return from a trip to Turkey and Spain – I included a couple pictures below from my travels. Highlight of the trip was seeing the Basilica De La Sagrada Familia and nerding out on the architecture in Barcelona. Loved experiencing the attention to detail, as well as the relief provided from the built environment by the many open, park/plaza spaces scattered around the city. If you need another place to add to your travel bucket lists, I’d venture to say Barcelona should be close to the top!

In other news, APA San Luis Obispo just had the first session of its 2019 Citizens Planning Academy and we are looking forward to the remainder of the sessions! 

If you ever have ideas for future events for APA to get involved with or host, I’d love for you to reach out. 

I look forward to talking soon,

Rachel Raynor | APA Central Coast Director 

e: rcraynor@rrmdesign.com or connect with me on LinkedIn


APA California Conference Wrap-Up
September 29, 2019

2019 APA California Conference

Conference co-chairs Bret McNulty, Tess Harris, and Jeff WilsonOver 1,500 planners arrived in Santa Barbara for the 2019 APA California Conference, which by all accounts was an immense success with numerous Conference Host Committee members reporting high praise from fellow attendees for a variety of aspects of the conference. Whether it was for the engaging and thought-provoking Opening and Closing Speakers, a fun and beautiful setting for the Opening Reception, or well executed sessions and mobile workshops - the early results look like the Central Coast Section pulled off a memorable conference this year. 

Special thanks to the Conference Host Committee, and particularly the conference’s co-chairs Tess Harris, Rachel Raynor, Bret McNulty, and Jeff Wilson. The 2020 conference in Riverside will have a lot to live up to. Highlights from a few of the conference’s attendees are below, check out what people had to say about this year’s APA California Conference

Student Day Session

To kickoff the APA California Conference this year, eight panelists (some of whom are on the APA Central Coast Board!) led discussions with small groups of students to help them better understand all of the opportunities available to them in the planning industry. It was exciting to see so many interested students attend this early-morning event! ~Spencer Johnson

The Central Coast Section looks forward to continually providing this session as a resource to other emerging planning professionals at future APA conferences. If you have any questions about student resources and opportunities, please reach out to Spencer Johnson (spencer@lisawiseconsulting.com).

Diversity Summit

Led by moderator Denice Thomas, a group of guests panelists gave insights on the theme "Representation Matters" which focused on providing insights into their experiences working with thing planning professions. Panelists observations included experiences from within private organizations, public sector, and nonprofit groups. To have a chance to listen to candid and uncomfortable insights into our own profession was certainly eye-opening. It gave me plenty to think about with respect to the type of environment that we as planners find ourselves working in, and how I as an individual can find ways to make that workplace more inclusive and welcoming to all the planners who find themselves in it. ~ Clay Downing

Diversity Summit panelists at APACA2019

Opening Reception at the Santa Barbara Courthouse's Sunken Gardens

View of the Opening Reception from the SB Courthouse ClocktowerWe had over 1,100 guests at the opening reception - the biggest Reception we’ve ever had in Santa Barbara.  We had five-star and popular Santa Barbara restaurants at our event; Finch and Fork, The Lark, Laquita, Blue Water Grill, The Outpost, Les Marchands, Catering Connection and Helena Avenue bakery.  We had Ventura County’s most favorite DJ, Bruce Barrios entertaining the guests.  ~ Hollee King

With food and fun abundant, planners from all over California filled the Sunken Gardens on the evening before the conference really got going. For a “pre-conference” activity, there certainly was a great crowd enjoying local food, beer, and wine. I heard people raving over the views from the clocktower during sunset - who can blame them, it was amazing! I live on the Central Coast and hadn’t seen the view before either, it was a fantastic spot to show off Santa Barbara as a host city, highlighting a unique building located in the heart of Santa Barbara, and great views for anyone willing to make the climb up the stairs (or take the elevator). Two thumbs up for the opening reception. ~ Clay Downing 

Opening Plenary Speaker: Senator Scott Wiener

Senator Scott Wiener of San Francisco kicked off the professional conference sessions with a call for the APA to act guide our communities to a more effective balance of land uses and social fairness. The invitation to Senator Wiener to speak at the conference itself served as a call from the APA for him to collaborate with planners in writing legislation to effectively address the persistent issues of housing and homelessness: two key indicators of community health and resilience. ~ Bret McNulty


Senator Wiener passionately spoke about a variety of issues facing California and how planners should think about the spaces we live in, with an emphasis on housing. He discussed the reality that most communities in California have over 80% of residential land zoned only for single-family housing, and urged planners in the audience to think about revising this zoning norm to allow for more multi-family housing. He reminded us that we should consider denser urban centers that allow for people to live and work close by rather than being forced to make long commutes and live far away from work, which ultimately impacts quality of life. Senator Wiener also emphasized some of the Senate Bills that he has introduced, and throughout his keynote speech reminded us that we need to do better when it comes to providing new affordable and middle income units in our communities. ~ Tess Harris

Mobile Workshops

Twelve diverse mobile workshops provided an up-close and personal view of the area’s natural (Dangermond Preserve) and manmade (Lotusland) wonders, highlighted the best of the Santa Ynez Valley (Industrial Tourism and From Grapes to Glass), and demonstrated unique and innovative projects (Ellwood-Devereaux Open Space, Santa Barbara Desalination Plant, and Innovative High-Density Housing). Over 200 attendees hiked, biked, strolled, and sipped throughout Santa Barbara and the surrounding area, while soaking in the sunshine and even obtaining AICP CMs in the process! ~ Lilly Rudolph

Planners enjoy the Grapes to Glass Mobile Workshop

Networking Luncheon

The 2019 APA California Conference Networking Luncheon was a huge success! With hundreds of planning professionals in attendance, individuals were given the opportunity to meet, share stories, and enjoy some incredible food in front of the beautiful Santa Barbara waterfront. Thanks to everyone who attended and helped make this a meaningful event! ~ Spencer Johnson

Session Highlight: The Many Ways to Skin a Cat, CEQA Streamlining in Practice

This session viewed CEQA in a whole new light, identifying innovative and creative ways of reviewing a project against CEQA and looking at ways that the process could be made more efficient. The panel had representation from consulting firms, law firms, and local government talking about projects that have benefited from streamlining CEQA review by using the “general rule” or common sense exemption, the infill checklist, and clarifying the class 32 infill exemption. The panel also gave useful tips and tricks such as removing the word “all” from the requirements for infill, and adopting standard mitigation measures in the General Plan that go on all applicable projects, negating the need for an MND. The session changed my view of CEQA from a necessary burden, to useful tool when evaluating projects. ~ John Novi, AICP

Session Highlight: Surviving Disasters, A Resiliency Planning Game

Held on the Tuesday of the conference, this was not the only session to discuss resiliency in the context of disaster preparation, nor was it the only session that used creative games as a way of encouraging dialogue and conversation. But I really enjoyed the chance to dive into a game, and then talk with other planners about what the game’s outcomes made me think about as a planner. It demonstrated a great example of how creative ideas can spark thoughtful conversation, and made me think of how this could be integrated into community engagement dialogue in Ventura County. Facilitated by Della Acosta from Rincon Consultants, Inc, this session was one of a handful of interactive sessions that looked at games as an opportunity for dialogue, communication, and better understanding of the concepts that communities may (or may not) choose to use in determining their own strategies for overcoming disasters. Given my own reliance on post-it notes and dots in community engagement, it really made me think of some new approaches for my work. ~ Clay Downing

Planner participate in interactive portion of session

Closing Plenary Speaker: Kate Meis, Lcoal Government Commission

Kate Meis spoke as the closing plenary speaker and struck a tone that was high energy and touched on the many places where important work is being done throughout California. She has served as the Executive Director of the Local Government Commission (LGC) since 2013, coordinating an organization that gives support to a variety of sectors and agencies. I have worked with the organization’s CivicSpark Fellows for the last 2 years, and it was great to see the leader of an organization that is diverse and technically sound provide details on the breadth of interesting work going on throughout the state. She definitely hit the right tone to close down the conference on a high note that left me ready to jump back into my work following the conference. ~ Clay Downing


APA Legislative Update Materials Available
September 22, 2019

Things continue to move fast in California legislation, check out the links and materials below to help you stay up to speed with the latest policy changes:

Tiny House and Net Zero Expo in SLO County
September 22, 2019
Tiny House and Net Zero Expo on October 12 - 13, learn more at https://www.homeshareslo.org/tiny-footprint-expo/. Attendees can learn about tiny houses, simple living, and ways to can help us progress toward climate action goals.  

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