Author: Richard Davis

San Francisco debates when, where, and how to build affordable housing

Prop. E aims to strike a balance by placing new limits on office projects

By Sasha Perigo, San Francisco Examiner, March 8, 2020

“While San Franciscans tracked the results of the presidential primary on March 3rd, an affordable housing ballot measure passed largely under the radar.

“San Francisco’s Proposition E — the Balanced Development Act — passed with 54 percent of the vote.

“The Balanced Development Act was introduced by affordable housing developer TODCO and aims to balance out the construction of office space and affordable housing.

“San Francisco’s office space and affordable housing development are clearly imbalanced.

“San Francisco’s job growth far outpaces all housing construction. Between 2010 and 2015, The City added nearly seven jobs for every new home.

“The Balanced Development Act reduces the 875,000-square-foot cap based on the City’s progress towards state-mandated affordable housing goals. If San Francisco only builds half of its affordable housing goal in a year, the cap is cut in half.

“The Balanced Development Act also offers office developers an opportunity to get around these restrictions. If they build 809 affordable homes for every 1 million square feet of office space, they can jump the line.

“‘The intention behind this … is either we’re gonna build more affordable faster or we’re gonna build office slower,’ TODCO’s Jon Jacobo told the San Francisco Public Press.

“Opponents of the measure argue it will have unintended consequences.

“A report from the non-partisan city economist calculated that Prop. E will hurt the city’s economic growth, causing it to lose out on fees and tax revenue that fund city services.

“Another concern is that the Balanced Development Act could actually reduce the amount of money the City raises for affordable housing. One of the primary ways the City raises money for affordable housing is by levying fees on office construction. If we build less office space, we get less money for affordable housing.

“The city economist report estimates this loss would be between $600 million to $900 million over the next 20 years. That sum could finance roughly 3,000 to 4,500 affordable homes.

“TODCO isn’t convinced. Executive Director John Elberling points out that the city economist’s report doesn’t consider tradeoffs in terms of the human consequences of the housing crisis.

“Their numbers also assume current rates of affordable housing construction, which TODCO wants to accelerate. If the City does, indeed, ‘build affordable faster’ (the campaign’s slogan), it will avoid these costs.

“The last question critics have zeroed in on is: Where should we prioritize the construction of affordable housing?

“The Balanced Development Act says developers building affordable housing as part of their office construction project can circumvent city limits if the housing is built either on-site or in a ‘community of concern.’

“The authors say they included this clause specifically to help expedite the construction of affordable housing in communities that are demanding it.

“There’s huge demand for affordable housing in the Mission, but it’s not being built at the pace residents demand, due to a lack of funds. Mission housing advocates advocated for inclusion of the ‘community of concern’ clause in the Balanced Development Act in hopes of ushering more construction to their community.

“But critics say that requiring affordable housing to be built in communities of concern keeps affordable housing out of wealthy communities, thus furthering segregation. Some have even questioned the clause’s legality.”

Read the full article here.

Report: SF must build taller, expand into western neighborhoods

Three ways to hit the San Francisco’s housing targets over the next 30 years means challenging the status quo.

By Adam Brinklow, Curbed SF, March 9, 2020

“The San Francisco Planning Department’s critical ‘San Francisco Housing Affordability Strategies Report’ for 2020 … lays out three likely plans to hit SF’s housing goals.

“The city compiled the report with the goal of creating 150,000 homes (including 50,000 affordable homes) by 2050 — almost twice the rate of development compared to the past 10 years.

“Here’s what SF Planning has to say about the state of housing right now.

  • “SF is building more housing lately, but not much relative to the recent past. From 2000 to 2009, the city averaged 2,302 new homes per year, and from 2010 to 2019 that number bumped up to 2,509.
  • “Affordable housing production ramped up during that time, but also not by much, from 623/year in one decade to 692 in the next.
  • “Between 1990 and 2015, the number of SF households making 120 percent or more of the area median income (AMI) increased by 80,000, while at the same time the number of low- and moderate-income households declined by over 29,000.

“SF Planning singles out three potential solutions:

  • “[Under] ‘east side focus,’ the majority of new homes would be built in neighborhoods close to downtown and along the waterfront, stretching down to Hunters Point… To create sufficient density in roughly one-third of the city, SF would have to build taller, between 10 and 24 stories in areas close to jobs and transit. This plan is pretty close to what the city is doing already, meaning it’s more likely to exacerbate existing problems.
  • “With the ‘transit corridors’ plan, new development would focus on major transit lines [which] would receive significant investments to accommodate additional ridership.’ …Planning argues that since ‘displacement pressures are already widespread in the city,’ the hazards for existing residents are real but largely already accounted for.
  • “The ‘residential district growth’ plan [would focus] on building more homes in neighborhoods where the number of homes allowed is currently ‘very limited,’ e.g., western neighborhoods like the Outer Sunset. The report argues that … the sheer amount of space to work with means ‘reducing concentrated neighborhood change.’

“A combination of all three approaches may also hit the targets.

“Right now the city’s budget for housing is shy what it would take to spur more affordable housing growth. … ‘The city is projected to nearly meet the funding needed in FY19/20 but has fallen short in the past,’ the report notes, suggesting that more money from things like housing bonds and the gross receipts tax … will be needed.”

Read the full article here. Additional information from the San Francisco Planning Department about the Housing Affordability Strategies report can be found here.

Scott Weiner has another bill to build denser housing in California

By Alexei Koseff, San Francisco Chronicle, March 9, 2020

“After failing to pass legislation to open up less densely populated parts of California to multifamily housing, state Sen. Scott Wiener is trying again with a ‘lighter touch’ plan aimed at suburbs.

“The San Francisco Democrat today introduced SB902, which would essentially eliminate single-family zoning across the state by allowing multi-unit housing in nearly all residential neighborhoods. Unlike [SB50], Wiener’s new proposal would cap the number of units that could be built in the smallest communities at two [per lot], three in midsize cities.

“SB902 would create a right to build or convert homes into small multifamily housing in any residential neighborhood in the state, outside of areas at high risk of wildfires.

“In unincorporated areas and cities up to 10,000 people, the bill would allow duplexes on any property. It would permit a building with up to three units in a city with between 10,000 and 50,000 people, and up to four units in a city with more than 50,000.

“The legislation would not make changes to local height or design standards — a major source of anxiety for many opponents of SB50.

“But the new bill does create an option for cities to rezone residential parcels for apartment or condominium projects up to 10 units, without having to go through the formal environmental review that Wiener said can add five to 10 years to the process. Unlike his previous measure, allowing such construction would be up to cities — it would not be a state requirement.

“The provision would apply to neighborhoods near public transit and in high-income areas with access to jobs and good schools. Cities could choose to adopt the change for any qualifying area through an ordinance.

“The League of California Cities, which led opposition to SB50, declined to discuss Wiener’s latest proposal before its members had a chance to review the language. But the organization shared a ‘blueprint for more housing’ that it released last week, which suggested that California should provide options for changes to local regulations. Among more than a dozen it suggested was ‘allowing up to fourplexes in single-family zones.’

“Led by Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins of San Diego, the Senate Democratic caucus is working on a new housing production bill to replace SB50, which left the Democrats bitterly divided. That forthcoming measure could remove some of the urgency for Wiener’s SB902, though he said his bill would be complementary to whatever the Senate leadership comes up with.

“There is significant political space to make change and move the dial around housing this year,” he said.”

Read the full article here. More information about the League of California Cities Housing Production Proposal referred to in the article can be found here.

San Jose’s Measure E passes; will fund homelessness services and affordable housing

By Richard Davis, associate editor

San Jose’s Measure E, a property sale transaction tax intended to fund homelessness services and affordable housing, has likely passed. Ballots were still being counted as of March 12.

According to SV@Home, “The Mayor’s March Budget Message included recommendations for the allocation of Measure E funds, which are expected to begin being collected in July. The Mayor’s recommendations follow the initial spending plan approved by the City Council in December that allocates Measure E funding as follows:

  • “45 percent for extremely low-income households (below 30% of area median income);
  • “35 percent for very low-income (VLI) and low-income (LI) households (30-80% of AMI);
  • “About 10 percent for moderate-income households (80-120% of AMI) and below-market rate housing; and
  • “10 percent for homeless prevention activities.

SV@Home, a membership organization, bills itself as “the voice for affordable housing in the Silicon Valley.”

In addition, “most of the new funding from Measure E will be used to expand current resources for developing affordable housing,” according to SV@Home.

Related priorities identified by Mayor Sam Liccardo include:

  • “Identifying sites for additional Bridge Housing Communities (small home communities for the homeless);
  • “Immediate ramping up of public and private investment in homelessness prevention,
  • “New programs aimed at homeless students;
  • “Additional investment in policies and programs to promote accessory dwelling units (ADUs); and
  • “Continued work on establishing a navigation center for people experiencing homelessness in the City.”

SV@Home’s full March 12 coverage of housing-related ballot measures in Santa Clara County’s recent election can be found here.

Dozens of homeless find housing in downtown San Jose

By Marisa Kendall, East Bay Times, March 6, 2020

“Villas on the Park officially opened its doors, providing permanent housing to more than 90 people who previously had been sleeping in cars, on the streets, or in other unstable situations.”

The facility “provides ‘permanent supportive housing,’ which includes services for residents such as medical and mental health care, case management, job training and résumé building, skills workshops, and social activities.”

“It’s one of three such buildings for the homeless that have opened in San Jose in the past seven months — a big shift in strategy for a city that, before last year, didn’t have any developments like it.”

Credit: Dahlin Group, Villas on the Park http://bit.ly/33jFbWq

“The Villas on the Park team started meeting with the community in 2015, hoping to convince neighbors the project would be a good thing. In the beginning, hundreds of people were opposed. By the time the plan went before the City Council, not a person objected.”

Ray Bramson, chief impact officer of Destination:Home, a non-profit developer of permanent supportive housing, “hopes that once neighbors see attractive, finished projects like Villas, they will let go of old stereotypes.”

“The project was partially funded by Measure A, Santa Clara County’s $950 million affordable housing bond, which has funded 21 projects since it passed in 2016. Other funders include the city of San Jose, Housing Trust Silicon Valley, the Santa Clara County Housing Authority, and Bank of America.”

Read the full article here.

Meet a Local Planner: William Lieberman, AICP

Meet a Local Planner: William Lieberman, AICP

By Catarina Kidd, AICP, May 11, 2020

William Lieberman, AICP, is Principal Planner at CHS Consulting Group in San Francisco. He holds a master of regional planning from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and a BA in biology from Northeastern University.

What is your current role?

At CHS Consulting, my specialty is transportation planning — a culmination of 50 years of professional practice, mostly in the public sector with stints in private consulting.

How did you decide to specialize in transportation planning?

At Northeastern University, I set out to be a biologist and, after working in a lab, found it was not for me. I visited the Boston Redevelopment Authority, which had a big transportation planning section, just to get an idea of that field. The staff asked me if I wanted to apply for a work-study position there. That planning job set the path for my career.

You have worked for public agencies in many major cities. Tell us about your journey.

After graduate school, I worked as a consultant in Washington, DC. I then landed a position at TriMet in Oregon. There, I helped develop Portland’s first “MAX” light rail line, among other transit initiatives. It was the best training ground I could have hoped for, immersing me in everything from technical analyses to public speaking. After nine years there, I moved to San Diego, where I worked as the Director of Planning and Operations at the San Diego Metropolitan Transit Development Board for 17 years.

What is your experience with consulting?

I spent three years at Barton-Aschman Associates, five years at Jacobs Engineering, and my own consulting firm for four years. Most of my work was as a technical advisor to transit agencies in Austin, San Diego, and Boston. I’ve been at CHS here in the Bay Area for the past eight years.

What brought you to the Bay Area?

For many years, my family followed my career. I ended up following them to the Bay Area, where my two sons had settled. In 2005, I was hired as the first director of planning at SFMTA. It lasted only about two years. A new executive director was hired, my position was eliminated, and I was offered a consulting role. That was a tough experience, but it forced me to rethink what I wanted in my career and how to make that happen. I then went to work for Jacobs before deciding to semi-retire and take my present position with CHS. Since 2012, I have been working as a consultant with transit authorities or cities on transit-related projects.

Looking back on your career, what project stands out the most and why?

My oversight of the strategic plan for San Diego Metro’s transit system was an eye-opening experience. I worked with consultants proficient in market research who helped me see that we really didn’t know our clientele and what was needed.

Our project team administered a rider perception survey to 800 local residents and conducted small focus groups. We learned that feelings about the value of time, prestige of the service, and personal security often override practical considerations like transit fares, service frequency, and routings. I sat in on a focus group where several women shared that they were not comfortable on transit when their body touched the person sitting next to them. There were many such insights that helped us understand what influences people’s decisions on how they travel. It gave me an awareness of a dimension of planning that I’ve continued to use in my work.

What factors do you consider before moving on to a new job?

When the job starts to feel too repetitious, it may be time to move on, especially if there are few opportunities for internal advancement. Another factor is the workplace culture. Some organizations become fossilized or too conservative because they’re under public scrutiny. This may be a sign to move on.

What advice do you have for planners afraid to change jobs?

People in the Bay Area have a huge advantage. There are almost limitless opportunities here. Between transit agencies, municipalities, consulting firms, and academia, there are many choices for planning positions. You don’t have to go through the stress of changing cities, finding a place to live, establishing new relationships, or moving children into new schools. Yes, there is some risk with giving up seniority and work associations, but that’s life. If you are risk-averse, just stay where you are. If you want the inspiration and growth potential of a new challenge, a job change is one way to improve your situation.

You said you live in a senior housing community. What’s that like?

When I was younger, older people talked about being “sent to a home” as a bad thing. But it’s like living in a hotel, and my wife and I absolutely love it! Our community is in an 11-story building, mostly with independent-living condominiums and a few assisted living units. The monthly fees are high, but they cover meals, entertainment, and other services. This community has done a great job with managing the shelter-in-place rules to protect residents during the COVID-19 pandemic.

When it comes to aging, be the planner of your life. Admit that you are moving on and it’s another stage of living. Be prepared to accommodate some changes.

What about aging in place?

Aging in place is not what it’s cracked up to be: I’ve known seniors who were utterly alone in their residence after becoming disabled. Of course, none of us thinks this will happen to us. In a senior community, you can be as alone as you want to be or find company if you choose. You have to know yourself, what you need, and what you can afford.

Do you have any advice for planners on how to approach their practice?

The planner’s most valuable skill is being able to understand how it feels to live in that future you are planning, and what actions are needed to improve that future. Is that where you, or even someone very unlike you, would really want to be?

A final thought: An hour in the field is worth a day in the office. Get away from your desk and, if it it’s not too distant, make frequent visits to the location that is the subject of your work. Go into the community and take it all in. You will see, feel, and hear things you might not otherwise grasp.

Interviewer Catarina Kidd, AICP, is senior development manager at FivePoint and a guest writer for Northern News. Final editing by associate editor Richard Davis.

BOOK REVIEW

BOOK REVIEW

Transit-Oriented Displacement or Community Dividends? Understanding the Effects of Smarter Growth on Communities

By Karen Chapple and Anastasia Loukaitou-Sideris

Excerpts from a review in the Journal of the American Planning Association by Adam Millard-Ball, associate professor of environmental studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Get this book free as a PDF via Open Access at MIT Press (direct link, 98.7 MB)

“In the early years of transit-oriented development (TOD) in the United States, simply getting a project completed was achievement enough. As TOD has become mainstream, however, concerns have multiplied over long-overlooked equity impacts. In many neighborhoods, community activists now see new rail stations and associated TOD as instruments — unwitting or not — of gentrification and displacement. In contrast, some market-oriented urbanists focus on increasing the supply of housing and are skeptical if not dismissive of equity concerns.

“The evidence to inform this contentious debate has been remarkably thin. Transit-Oriented Displacement or Community Dividends? Understanding the Effects of Smarter Growth on Communities by Karen Chapple and Anastasia Loukaitou-Sideris is therefore a welcome contribution to research and policy on TOD and equity. Though recognizing that TOD reduces vehicle travel and climate pollution, the authors focus attention on its potential ‘dark side’ (p. 1) for low- income households and identify the mechanisms through which TOD might lead to inequitable outcomes.

“Chapple and Loukaitou-Sideris address head-on the central conundrum: To ignore low-income neighborhoods of color perpetuates disinvestment. But to invest in them through better transit, walkable streets, or the amenities that accompany TOD risks exacerbating gentrification and displacement pressures.

“Displacement, however, is hard to conceptualize and measure. One of the book’s major strengths is its careful attention to operationalizing what displacement means on the ground. For example, displacement might not force residents from their homes but would be ‘exclusionary’ if low-income residents are priced out of a neighborhood and never have the opportunity to move in.

“The empirical chapters mobilize a range of quantitative and qualitative evidence across two metropolitan regions: the San Francisco Bay Area and Southern California… Overall, the book is a showcase for mixed methods research, and the depth of evidence that supports the conclusions is exceptional.

“So what does this mean for planning? The book details numerous policies to promote equitable TOD, including rent control and inclusionary housing requirements, along with numerous examples of cities that have implemented each policy.

“An alternative approach, floated in the conclusion, would be to focus TOD in the most affluent communities, which todate have used their political clout to zone out new development.

“Promoting equitable development and avoiding displacement require action across a region, not just in transit-oriented neighborhoods.”

About the review

Reviewer Adam Millard-Ball is an associate professor of environmental studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz. An economist, planner, and geographer, he writes about urban sprawl, transportation, and climate change policy

The full review appears in the First Quarter 2020 issue of the Journal of the American Planning Association, available to APA members for $48/year (print and digital); $36/year (digital only); available free (digital only) for Student APA Members.

About the book

Transit-Oriented Displacement or Community Dividends? Understanding the Effects of Smarter Growth on Communities (MIT Press, April 2019). 368 pages. 68 b&w illus. $40 (paperback) ISBN: 9780262536851

Karen Chapple is Professor of City and Regional Planning and Carmel P. Friesen Chair in Urban Studies at the University of California, Berkeley.

Anastasia Loukaitou-Sideris is Professor of Urban Planning and Associate Provost for Academic Planning at UCLA.

Who’s where

Who’s where

James Castañeda, AICP, is moving to Los Angeles, taking a position as senior land use planner with Sheppard Mullin, an international law firm with 15 offices and 875 attorneys. He had been with San Mateo County since 2006, most recently as Planner III (current planning) and as Program Coordinator for SFO’s Community Roundtable. Castañeda holds a BS in city and regional planning from New Mexico State University. He joined the Northern Section Board in 2011, and had been Section Director since January 2019. You can read his final Director’s note in this section of Northern News.

Elizabeth Caraker, AICP, is now Planning Manager at The Presidio Trust. The Trust pre­pares a va­ri­e­ty of plan­ning and en­­vi­ron­men­tal documents to guide the management of park resources. Caraker had been with the city of Monterey for 11 years, most recently as the housing and community development manager. Before that, she worked for RBF Consulting, and for the city of Marina as planning manager. She holds a master of community and regional planning from the University of Oregon, and a BS in food science from Cal Poly SLO. Caraker was Northern Section’s Regional Activities Co-coordinator for Monterey Bay for four-and-a-half years, from April 2008 through November 2012.

 

Nisha Chauhan, AICP, has been ap­point­­ed to the Board of Di­rec­tors of Keep Oakland Beautiful, a lo­cal non­prof­­it com­mit­ted to creating and sus­tain­ing a beau­tiful, clean, green, lit­ter-free Oakland. Chauhan is a senior planner with Alameda County, where she manages land use and environmental projects. She holds a certificate of completion in land-use and environmental planning from UC Davis and a BA in environmental studies from UC Santa Cruz.

Portrait of Ellen Clark, AICPEllen Clark, AICP, is now Com­mun­ity De­vel­op­ment Di­rec­tor for the City of Pleas­anton. She served as Pleasanton’s deputy director of community development/planning manager for the prior two years. Clark began her planning career at Design, Community & Environment (now PlaceWorks) in Berkeley, followed by positions as a senior planner and principal planner for the Town of Mammoth Lakes, and planning director for the Town of Moraga. She has 20 years of experience in public and private sector planning. Clark holds a bachelor’s degree in geography from the University of Cambridge. She lives in Oakland with her family.

 

Portrait of Coleman Frick

Coleman Frick was pro­mo­ted to Senior Plan­ner at the City of Con­cord, where his work will fo­cus on long-range plan­ning and pol­icy. Pre­vious­ly, he held posi­tions at Town of Moraga for three years, in SFMTA’s Sus­tain­able Streets Di­vi­sion for one year, and as an urban forester in the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation for four years. Frick holds a master of city and regional planning from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, and a BA in environmental studies from Eckerd College, Florida.

Portrait of Evan KenwardEvan Kenward is now a Project Lead for Bikes Make Life Better, a San Fran­cisco-based employee bicycle program management company. He has previously worked in various roles within active transportation planning, most recently at Alta Planning + Design. Kenward serves as a steering committee chair for the San Francisco chapter of Citizens’ Climate Lobby, a non-profit organization aiming to pass national carbon pricing policy. He holds a master of urban planning from San Jose State University and a BA in communication from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

 

Portrait of Carolyn Neer, AICP

Carolyn Neer has been ap­point­ed Co-Di­­rec­t­or of North­­ern Sec­tion’s Emerg­ing Plan­ners Group. She is As­so­ci­ate Pro­ject Man­ager at David J. Powers and As­so­ci­ates, San Jose, having recently moved there from Rincon Con­sult­ants, Oak­land. Neer holds a master of urban planning from San Jose State and a bachelor’s in history from UC Berkeley. In her spare time, she enjoys backpacking, biking, and baking.

 

Portrait of Matthew Stafford, AICPMatthew Stafford, AICP, is now a Trans­porta­tion Plan­ning Analyst at Face­book. Pre­vious­ly, he was an as­so­­ci­ate at Nel­son\Ny­gaard’s Seat­tle of­fice, where he focused on transit planning projects for cities and private clients. Stafford holds a BS in urban and regional planning from Cal Poly Pomona. In his free time, he enjoys hiking, traveling, and riding his bike around town.

AICP | CM: Leading in a crisis with spatial data

AICP | CM: Leading in a crisis with spatial data

Launching SAVI GIStalks with SJSU’s Provost and Mr. Ensheng (Frank) Dong, developer of the Johns Hopkins University Covid-19 Dashboard

By Prof. Ahoura Zandiatashbar, San Jose State University, September 13, 2020

The Spatial Analytics and Visualization (SAVI) Center at San Jose State University is housed in the Department of Urban and Regional Planning, College of Social Sciences. The SAVI Center uses the power of geography and Geographic Information Science (GIS) to produce impactful research and professional services to serve our university departments, neighborhood organizations, public agencies and private sector entities in Silicon Valley and the Bay Area.

SJSU Provost and Professor Vincent (Vin) J. Del Casino will kick off this inaugural event to launch SAVI GIStalks and provide some opening remarks. SAVI GIStalks are designed to engage and educate a broad audience about how GIS can be deployed to address societal and environmental challenges.

Our presenter is Ensheng (Frank) Dong, PhD candidate and lead developer of the Johns Hopkins University’s (JHU) Covid-19 Dashboard. The dashboard demonstrates how GIS technology and data visualization are leading efforts across the U.S. in mitigating the spread of the Covid-19 virus and managing the pandemic.

If you would like to attend, please RSVP here through Eventbrite.

This event will be live on the SJSU’s Department of Urban and Regional Planning Facebook page as well.

This event is sponsored by the Department of Urban and Regional Planning and the University Consortium for Geographic Information Science.

For further information, please contact: savi-urbp@sjsu.edu

AICP | CM 1.5 Credits (Pending)

Return to the October issue here.

Flier for SJSU's inaugural event launching Spatial Analytics and Visualization (SAVI) Center's GIStalks series

Who’s where

Who’s where

By Richard Davis, associate editor, Northern News

Jonathan Schup­pert, AICP, is now Di­rec­tor, APA Cali­fornia-North­ern Sec­tion, which, under the Sec­tion bylaws, is a po­si­tion he can hold until De­cem­ber 31, 2020. He be­came Director when James Castañeda, AICP, who previously held the post, moved to Los Angeles. Schuppert is Campus Connectivity Manager for Facebook, Menlo Park. Before joining Facebook three years ago, Schuppert had been a planning associate with Alta Planning + Design and a lecturer at San Jose State University. He joined the Northern Section Board in 2013 as the South Bay Regional Activity Coordinator (RAC) and later served as Professional Development Director, Treasurer, and Director-elect. Schuppert holds a BS in city and regional planning from Cal Poly–San Luis Obispo. In his free time, he enjoys traveling, photography, bicycling, and coffee.

 

Emily Carroll has been appointed to the Northern Section Board as East Bay Regional Activities Co-coordinator (RAC). She is a Planner I with the City of Richmond, and was a planning technician with the City of Lafayette before that. Carroll holds a bachelor’s degree in history from Smith College. When not in the office, you can find her trail running in Redwood Regional Park.

 

Flor­en­tina Craciun, AICP, is Se­nior En­vi­ron­mental Plan­ner with the En­vi­ron­mental Plan­ning Di­vi­sion of the San Fran­cis­co Plan­ning De­par­tment. Prior to join­ing the City and County of San Francisco, Craciun was an environmental planner at AECOM, where she worked on urban development and water conveyance/dam safety. She holds a master’s in urban and regional planning from UCLA and a BA in history from UC Santa Barbara. Craciun is Awards Co-director for APA California-Northern Section, and enjoys spending her spare time with her pup, her friends, and her family.

 

Andrew Hatt has been appointed University Liaison to the APA Cali­fornia-North­ern Section Board. Since September 2019, he has been a Sustainability Planner at Rincon Consultants, where he coordinates with project managers on Climate Action Plan measure development and public outreach efforts. Hatt holds a BA in environmental studies from the University of Michigan.

 

James Hin­kamp, AICP, has moved to Am­ster­dam, Nether­lands, where he is Se­nior Plan­ning Con­sultant with Advanced Mobility Group, a transportation engineering firm specializing in technologically advanced mobility solutions. He was previously associate transportation planner with the Contra Costa Transportation Authority (2018-2019) where he supervised active transportation planning programs and projects countywide and led several community-based transportation plans. Hinkamp holds a dual master’s in engineering (transportation specialization) and city and regional planning from Cal Poly–San Luis Obispo, and a BA in urban studies from Loyola Marymount University. In 2019, he served on the Northern Section Board as Co-coordinator, East Bay Regional Activities (RAC).

 

Brianne Reyes is now a Planner II in the Planning Division of the City of San Leandro’s Com­mu­ni­ty De­vel­op­ment De­part­ment, where she will focus on current planning and policy issues. Previously, Reyes was assistant planner with the Town of Danville for one year, and served as liaison to Danville’s Design Review Board and staff representative for the Tri-Valley Affordable Housing Committee. Before that, she was a planning associate for Michael Baker International for three years. Reyes holds a BS in environmental sciences from UC Riverside and a CEQA Practice Certificate from UC San Diego Extension. In her spare time, she enjoys hiking outdoors with her mini-Australian shepherd, playing volleyball, and Olympic lifting.

 

Atisha Varshney, AICP, has been pro­moted to As­so­ci­ate at WRT Plan­ning + Design, San Fran­cis­co. Prior to join­ing WRT in 2016, Varsh­ney was a proj­ect manager for VITA Plan­ning and Land­scape Architecture in San Rafael. Before coming to the Bay Area in 2014, she was an associate designer with OJB in Solana Beach, CA, and an architect and planner with KPF in New York City. Varshney has worked on large masterplans, downtown precise plans, specific plans, and university campus plans — tackling issues of land use, density, geography, mobility, economics, and infrastructure. She holds a master’s in landscape architecture from the Rhode Island School of Design and a bachelor’s in architecture and urban design from the School of Planning and Architecture, New Delhi. Outside of work, Varshney serves on the Urban Catalyst team at SPUR and the Silicon Valley programs committee at ULI.

 

Rafael Veláz­quez has been ap­pointed APA Stu­dent Rep­re­sen­ta­tive for UC Berkeley. Since 2015, Veláz­quez has been HIV Ser­vices / La­ti­no Well­ness Cen­ter di­rec­tor for Instituto Familiar de la Raza in San Francisco. Currently, he is pursuing a dual master’s in public health and city planning at UC Berkeley. He holds a BA in political science and comparative ethnic studies from the University of Washington. Velázquez serves as an executive committee member for the San Francisco HIV/AIDS Provider’s Network and as co-director for the Mexico City Study Abroad Program at the University of Washington.­

 

Kara Vuicich, AICP, has joined MTC as Prin­ci­pal Plan­ner / An­a­lyst in the Plan­ning Sec­tion. Over the past eight years, she has been an ac­count ex­ec­u­tive with Swift­ly, Inc., an as­so­ci­ate with Fehr & Peers, a senior transportation planner with the Alameda County Transportation Commission, and a se­nior associate with Nelson\Nygaard. She holds a master of city and regional planning from UC Berkeley and a bachelor’s degree from UC San Diego.