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Central Coast Section News

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.  
Message from the Director | September 2019
September 1, 2019

Exciting things happening in the SLO Subsection of the Central Coast American Planning Association!

Event in SLO

I, along with 30+ other individuals in the County of SLO, had the pleasure of meeting Raquel Rolnik, a Brazilian planner and author, with a new book about the current housing crisis, called Urban Warfare. She spoke to a group of planners, elected officials and housing advocates at Libertine SLO. I enjoyed her passion for this chronic issue world-wide and appreciated her wide-ranging extent of research and knowledge she has built over the years. It is discussions and lectures like this that fire me and hopefully the people in implementing positions to act. 

I’d encourage you to look into buying her book, which can be found at the link here: https://www.versobooks.com/books/2890-urban-warfare?discount_code=UrbanWarfare

Additionally, if you ever have ideas for future events for APA to get involved with, 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

Message from the Director
August 18, 2019
Summer Event at RRM in SBI recently attended a mixer organized by the Emerging Professionals group of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Santa Barbara Chapter, and was inspired by the initiative taken by their active group to introduce its members to interdisciplinary firms and professionals in Santa Barbara, in addition to informing members of what other firms are up to. RRM Design Group hosted this mixer and highlighted key projects. The invitation was extended to engineers, landscape architects and planners.
The hope is to mimic and replicate this type of event for the APA Central Coast within our 3 subsections. I strongly believe that these other disciplines will share insights with a different perspective and bring to the table a fresh take. The APA Central Coast Board is excited to instill these ideas from AIA and continue them onward. 
I look forward to talking soon,
Rachel Raynor
Director, Central Coast Section
American Planning Association, California Chapter
Fiesta 2019 in Santa Barbara
August 3, 2019 to September 3, 2019

For a bunch of planners, our Board did not necessarily plan our semi-annual retreat on a good weekend to meet in Santa Barbara, given that Fiesta, or Old Spanish Days, was in full swing on Saturday, August 3rd.

Nonetheless,after our retreat ended, a group of us ended up roaming the streets of downtown to take part in the festivities. For most of us, it was our first Fiesta weekend, so the obligatory egg cracking commenced, as did the general good vibes and friendly crowds. From a planning perspective – if you’ll humor the nerd in me, I really enjoyed seeing the vivacity seen on State Street. I kept thinking I’ve never seen this many people Downtown State Street before. Seeing so many groups of people, from a variety of demographics and generations come together to celebrate the City’s culture was inspiring, and not to mention the City’s ability to adequately absorb the large crowds and engage in a fun and safe filled Fiesta. Make sure to check the Fiesta 2020 festivities out next year!

Submitted by  Rachel Raynor (APA Central Coast Director), e: rcraynor@rrmdesign.com or connect on LinkedIn

The California Planning Foundation is Seeking Donations for this Year’s APA California Conference Auction and Raffle!!!
August 6, 2019

CPF is accepting Auction and Raffle Items for the 2019 Student Scholarship Fundraiser

Juan Borrelli, AICP, CPF President

The California Planning Foundation (CPF) is a nonprofit, charitable corporation with a mission to further the professional planning practice in California. In 2018, CPF awarded 39 scholarships totaling more than $58,000 to planning students throughout California. More scholarship information is available at the CPF website: https://californiaplanningfoundation.org/scholarships/.

CPF’s primary fundraising activities include the annual CPF auction and raffle events held at the APA California Conference, in Santa Barbara (September 15-18). One major change to this year’s event is a new auction format that will allow participants to bid online using a computer or smart device. Bidding on auction items will open up approximately two weeks prior to the start of the conference and the auction will culminate at the Online Auction Fundraiser, Celebration, and Reception Monday, September 16th. To pre-register to participate in the online auction click here

 This year, we’re excited to announce that the CPF raffle drawings will occur throughout the conference. You won’t want to miss the premier grand raffle prizes available exclusively at the CPF Online Auction Fundraiser, Celebration, and Reception on September 16th. 

 CPF always appreciates donations from our generous supporters. If you would like to donate items to the auction, here are a few suggestions:

• Weekend stays at your cabin, beach house, or local resort

• Day of consulting services

• Tickets to sporting events, movies, or live performance theaters

• New high-tech electronics

• Artwork, antiques, and family heirlooms designated to pass on

• New household decorating accessories

• Deluxe item(s) gift baskets

• Retail establishment, restaurant, coffee shop, candy store gift certificates

• Rare/out-of-print or “hot-off-the-press” planning books

• Individual bottles or a case(s) of wine

• Gift certificates

Remember, APA members are also CPF members, so if you want to support students and help defray the cost of their planning education, please donate. To donate items for the CPF auction or raffle, please fill out the attached donation form and email it to Aaron Pfannenstiel at calplanningauction@gmail.com or call him at (951) 444-9379 if you have any questions.

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