San Jacinto names new planning director

By David Downey | [email protected] | The Press-Enterprise PUBLISHED: March 15, 2018 at 1:32 pm | UPDATED: March 15, 2018 at 1:36 pm San Jacinto‘s new planning director, Travis Randel, started work Monday, March 12. City Manager Rob Johnson named Randel as director of planning and community development, a job that involves overseeing planning, building, code enforcement and special projects, a city news release states. Before taking the new post, Travis worked for the city of Riverside the past 12 1/2 years in various planning positions. “Travis comes to San Jacinto at one of the most exciting times in recent years,” Johnson said. “Residential and retail development is on fire.” The city issued 235 permits last year to build houses, well more than four times the yearly average for the last decade, the release stated. Already 169 permits have been issued this year through February. Retail development is surging, with construction of the 485,000-square-foot Soboba Casino Resort leading the way. Continue Reading

Lowell hires planning director, approves income-tax spending plan

LOWELL — Laura Rouse-DeVore has joined the town as director of planning and development. Most recently of Evanston, Illinois, Rouse-DeVore was nationally honored in 2013 as the Gerald H. Jones Code Official of the Year and brings degrees in planning and public administration to the position. Her salary is $58,000. Lowell Town Manager Jeff Sheridan said, "With the growth Lowell is experiencing and with an expectation that it will continue for the foreseeable future, I concluded the community would be better served with a planning focus as department head." The Town Council agreed. Also, the Town Council recently fast-tracked the creation of a 2018-19 capital plan for spending funds the town receives from the County Economic Development Income Tax, or CEDIT. Sheridan said the capital plan had to be updated to receive the money from Lake County. The council also: listed town employees with perfect attendance in 2017, which comes to about one-third of all full-timers. agreed to a deal with Walsh and Kelly, which guarantees the town paving at 2017 prices without obligating the town in any way. agreed to amend paid vacation leave policy to allow six weeks paid vacation for those with longevity with the town. Continue Reading

Councilman expresses ‘no confidence’ in Milpitas’ planning director

By Henri Gendreau | February 8, 2018 at 11:30 am Councilman Anthony Phan lashed out at the city’s planning director at Tuesday night’s City Council meeting, implying he would discipline him while also threatening the interim city manager if she prevented him from doing so. The rift emerged after council members expressed frustration with the time it was taking Bradley Misner, the city’s planning and neighborhood services director, to present ongoing studies related to some of the city’s growing commercial and residential areas. Specifically, the issue was related to an agendized item requested by Councilman Garry Barbadillo over a staff study of retail spaces in the Milpitas’ Midtown and transit area. Misner said certain studies would take “strategy and coordination” between his department and the city’s economic development department. Phan said he had “no confidence” in Misner’s ability to accomplish that. “The next time that we’ll be having a discussion about coordination or strategy, in your department, [it] will be agendized as a public employee performance evaluation,” Phan told Misner, meaning he would want council to evaluate Misner’s job performance. City Attorney Chris Diaz said, “I just wanted to note for the council that the only two employees you control and can hire and fire are the city attorney and the city manager.” “I don’t care,” Phan retorted. Interim City Manager Dianne Thompson interposed to say councils look to their city managers to coordinate work across departments. “I would ask that you respect your city manager’s role in assigning the work and putting the teams together that will deliver the product to the council,” Thompson said.“I don’t care what position is listed for the public employee performance evaluation,” Phan replied. “If it is for the city manager, I will Continue Reading

After brief debate, Town of Amherst hires strategic planning director

The Town of Amherst hired a new director of strategic planning Tuesday night -- over the objections of one Town Board member and a town Republican committee member. The Town Board voted, 4-1, to appoint Maggie Hamilton Winship to the job that will pay $75,092 per year, with the Village of Williamsville expected to cover $15,000 of her salary in a shared-services agreement between the two governments. Winship was hired as the village's director of community development when Amherst Supervisor Brian J. Kulpa was the Village of Williamsville's mayor. Kulpa said Winship will focus on economic development and redevelopment in her new post. "I'm looking forward to sharing services with the village. I'm looking forward to creating savings for both the town and the village with this hire," Kulpa said at Tuesday's meeting. "And I'm looking forward to having a very talented person join us." Maggie Hamilton Winship (Photo courtesy Maggie Winship) Mark Rivard, the GOP committeeman, said the hiring of Winship and, previously, Joe McMahon, the supervisor's new chief of staff, show that Kulpa intends to be a "part-time supervisor." "Why don't we start thinking about how much this is costing the taxpayers," said Rivard, who Tuesday compared Kulpa unfavorably to his Republican predecessor, Barry A. Weinstein. He called on the Democratic supervisor to resign. One audience member yelled at Rivard to sit down. Another, Adrienne Kotler, a former deputy town clerk, shouted that Weinstein was the true part-time supervisor. Weinstein continued to practice medicine for a time after taking office. "I have been full time. I'm going to be full time," Kulpa said. Board member Deborah Bruch Bucki cast the only no vote -- saying she supported the idea of shared services but thought the town should have conducted a search before selecting Winship. Winship is joining the town's Planning Department, which will have a new director with the retirement of Eric Gillert after 18 years in the job. Continue Reading

Murrieta hires San Diego’s former planning director

By Shane Newell | [email protected] | The Press-Enterprise January 10, 2018 at 11:54 am Murrieta has named Jeffrey Kenneth Murphy as its development services director. In his new role, Murphy will oversee the planning, engineering, building safety and public works divisions inside the city. His first day will be Monday, Feb. 5. Murphy previously worked as the planning director in San Diego. His duties included long-range planning and watching over the city’s development impact fee program. Continue Reading

Film that shows beauty of nighttime skiing took six YEARS of planning: director

Two ski enthusiasts spent seven years imagining a way to make the simple act of skiing appear in an entirely different way. Nick Waggoner and Mike Brown co-directed an online film "Afterglow" — a highly illuminated look at nighttime skiing in Alaska and British Columbia, Canada. In it, two skiers perform tricks on the isolated areas at night while covered in lights. Waggoner, 28, who is part of the Salt Lake City-based production company Sweetgrass Productions, told the Daily News that the two have made other night ski films but have dreamed for the past six years of making something of this magnitude with extensive use of lights and long shots from cameras positioned high above the skiers, he said. They filmed over four weeks in the forests of Alaska outside Anchorage and the Canadian ski resort Golden Alpine Holidays to pull of the feat. A crew of about 14 people flew to the locations by helicopter and then pulled the equipment, which included 500-pound generators, on sleds, he said. I think people understand the level of difficulty in creating something like that and the level of energy it requires. "I think people understand the level of difficulty in creating something like that and the level of energy it requires," he said. The art of skiing is fairly basic but Waggoner, a native of Greenwich Village, Conn., knew they could shoot it in a way that could be truly different than anything seen before. "We hope this can also inspire people who have things in their life that's gone stale to find new ways to look at it and always be reaching and growing," he said. The directors set up lights to illuminate the skiers' paths and used gels to show different colors against the white snow. The combination of winter and night, where the terrain is covered in snow, creates a beautiful isolate backdrop, he said. "We always wanted to achieve the top level of what we could do," he said. "It's cool to see the reaction Continue Reading

City unveils plan to rezone 368 Jamaica blocks

BY DONALD BERTRANDCITY OFFICIALS HAVE taken the wraps off a plan to rezone 368 blocks in downtown Jamaica to stimulate new housing and office development while protecting the character of the surrounding lower-scale neighborhoods.The sweeping rezoning would also include parts of South Jamaica, Hollis and St. Albans.The plan would expand the downtown Jamaica business district with nearly 3 million square feet of commercial space and would provide opportunities over the next 10 years for for 3,400 new units of residential and mixed-use developments at higher densities in and near the downtown district."Jamaica, with its pivotal location and transit infrastructure, has all the ingredients for success, and we are determined to make it a center of opportunity with far-reaching appeal for the community and our city," said City Planning Director Amanda Burden.City Economic Development Corporation president Robert Lieber concurred, saying: "Jamaica's superior transportation assets, including the JFK AirTrain station, and its vibrant neighborhoods, a new zoning plan will create tremendous real-estate development opportunities and help Jamaica become an even greater hub of activity."The application now will be referred to Community Boards 8 and 12 as the first step in the city's seven-month-long Uniform Land Use Review Procedure.The city has already held over 100 meetings with local business and civic organizations, elected officials and other community representatives, and will continue to meet with area stakeholders to fine-tune the zoning measure. Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

Low & behold, W. Side rezone plan

A 50-block swath of the upper West Side may become a no-high-rise zone.A new rezoning plan unveiled yesterday by the city would restrict new buildings to a maximum height of about 14 stories.The plan would cover W. 97th to W. 110th Sts., between Central Park West and Riverside Drive.The impetus for the proposal was the development of two buildings, both more than 30 stories, on Broadway between W.99th and W. 100th Sts. - effectively banding together residents and elected officials to push for the new zone."The community was clear in its focus on ensuring that any new development in this area of the upper West Side is more predictable," said City Planning Director Amanda Burden.Under the plan, which must go through several levels of public review including the local community board and the City Council, building heights would be limited to 145 feet, or about 14 stories.In some areas, developers could get an increase in density if they provide some affordable housing. Join the Conversation: Continue Reading


NEW YORK WOULD get another splash of Hollywood in a planned expansion of Silvercup Studios unveiled yesterday. Silvercup West, a 2 million-square-foot complex proposed for just south of the Queensboro Bridge in Long Island City, Queens, would put eight soundstages between an office tower and two high-rises containing 1,000 apartments. The City Planning Commission cleared the $1 billion development, slated for six blocks west of Silvercup's main studios on 22nd St., for the city's land-use review process yesterday. The project now goes before Queens Community Board No. 2 and the borough president before the commission holds a public hearing and vote. Planning Director Amanda Burden gave Silvercup West a gold star but other commissioners had reservations over the project's size. Silvercup CEO Alan Suna said the studios' 18 existing soundstages have been used for 25 TV shows and films, including HBO's "The Sopranos" and "The Devil Wears Prada" with Meryl Streep. Last year, the city began giving tax credits to productions made in the five boroughs, leading to an increase in filming. "We've had to turn away other business because we don't have the space," Suna told the Daily News. The giant Silvercup sign, which has greeted visitors to Queens since before the studios took over the Silvercup Bakery in 1983, will be copied in wider lettering when the name Silvercup West is mounted on the East River side of the new development. Join the Conversation: Continue Reading


THE CITY Planning Commission approved Queens' first inclusionary housing program yesterday, as part of a proposed rezoning of about 130 blocks of Maspeth and Woodside. Under the proposed plan, developers would be allowed to build bigger along a portion of Queens Blvd. in Woodside, as long as they provide affordable housing. A property owner would be eligible to build on up to five times the area of their lot in exchange for creating or preserving 20% of the residential floor area as permanent affordable housing. Those who choose not to take part in the program would be limited to 3.75 times the lot area. A height limit of 125 feet also is part of the plan. The program, which now goes to the City Council for review, would apply to the area along Queens Blvd. between 50th and 57th Sts. It also includes the north side of Queens Blvd. between 64th and 73rd Sts., and the south side between 61st and 73rd Sts. "The Maspeth-Woodside communities have spoken on the need to preserve the character of their lower-density areas, as well as the need for affordable housing," said City Planning Director Amanda Burden, noting the concerns of residents who spoke at recent public hearings. "We are able to address both of these needs." Councilman Eric Gioia (D-Sunnyside) and members of Community Board 2 were among those who spoke of the need for such a provision. "By creating more affordable housing opportunities, we're building a neighborhood where moderate and middle income families cannot only survive, but thrive," he said. "It is essential that we stay true to our city's core values so that families can continue to make New York their home." The new zoning designation along Queens Blvd. replaces commercial and light manufacturing districts that resulted in largely automotive uses. Under the affordable housing program, a developer may opt to set aside a portion of the units within the building at below-market rates. The developer also may provide new or Continue Reading