Tag: 2021-02-nn-norcal

Climate-resilient economic recovery, racial equity, and public health

Climate-resilient economic recovery, racial equity, and public health

By Sandra Hamlat, January 25, 2021

As solutions come forward to address the health and economic disasters resulting from Covid-19, it is critical that we not delay taking action to address the racial inequities and climate change that are already here.

As in other major cities of the world, San Francisco is objectively focused on the health, food, and shelter emergencies resulting from the pandemic. In addressing this unprecedented emergency and the economic devastation it has caused, the Mayor and the President of the Board of Supervisors convened one of the first Economic Recovery Task Forces in the country — and several other working groups — to look at immediate and longer-term proposals.

At the same time, San Francisco’s recently created Office of Racial Equity has taken a leadership role in both the Covid-19 response and recovery efforts. Investments in climate-resilient infrastructure and the transition to a lower-carbon future can drive economic recovery and promote racial equity and public health in San Francisco.

The City of San Francisco’s Climate Resilience Team recently prepared a white paper on a Climate-Resilient Economic Recovery. You can read or download the five-page PDF here.



Northern Section Board member Sandra Hamlat is a Principal Resilience Analyst in San Francisco’s Office of Resilience and Capital Planning.


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Call for nominations – Get recognized by the APA Calif. Northern Section!

Call for nominations – Get recognized by the APA Calif. Northern Section!

By Brynn McKiernan, AICP.

The Northern Section is officially opening a call for nominations for Section Awards including new Special Recognition Awards. In previous years, several Northern Section winners went on to garner State and National Awards. Let’s keep up the tradition and recognize the best in planning.

The deadline for nominations is Friday, March 12, 2021

The Section Awards Categories for 2021 are:


Opportunity and Empowerment

Comprehensive Plan – Large and Small Jurisdictions (two awards)

Implementation – Large and Small Jurisdictions (two awards)

Innovation in Green Community Planning

Economic Planning and Development

Transportation Planning

Best Practices

Grassroots Initiative

Public Outreach

Urban Design

Communications Initiative

Hard-won Victory

Advancing Diversity and Social Change

Planning Landmark


Planning Pioneer

Planning Advocate

Planning Firm (private sector)

Planning Agency (public sector)

Emerging Planning and Design Firm

Academic Award

SECTION ONLY – Project Awards

Planning and Health

Social and Environmental Justice

Planning and Food Systems

Great Places

SECTION ONLYSpecial Recognition Awards

It can take years to complete plans, and policies require time to implement, but planners work hard every day to push for progress and forge lasting impacts in our cities. Let’s recognize and celebrate these talented planners with these NEW Special Recognition Award Categories:

  1. Emerging Planner
  2. Mid-Level Planner
  3. Seasoned Planner

Do you have in mind a planner you want to nominate? Send us their qualifications!

For a description of the awards categories, rules, and applications, please visit norcalapa.org/awards/. For questions or more information, please contact Brynn McKiernan at awards@norcalapa.org

Would you like to be an APA CA Northern Awards Juror?

Maybe your award-winning project not ready for submission this year but you still would like to be involved. Come serve on our esteemed jury to select the 2021 APA Northern Section Winners. Please email Brynn McKiernan (awards@norcalapa.org) with a short statement of interest and your résumé by 5 pm February 26th. Note: Participation is mandatory at the virtual Jury Deliberation Day to be held either Friday, April 9 and/or Friday, April 16. Award ceremony attendance is also mandatory.

Become a sponsor

Sponsorship opportunities include Gala Tickets; advertising in the Northern News/ Email Blasts; and recognition during the Gala. You can see the perks here.

To become a sponsor, contact Brynn McKiernan.

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Sacramento City Council votes to allow fourplexes in all single-family zones

Sacramento City Council votes to allow fourplexes in all single-family zones

By Jared Brey, NextCity, January 22, 2021

Sacramento is on the verge of joining a small group of cities that have effectively ended single-family zoning in an effort to increase residential density and reduce the cost of housing, according to a report in the Sacramento Bee. The City Council voted 8-0 to allow up to four units to be built on lots where only one is currently allowed, according to the report. Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg said the effort was part of a “drive for inclusion and equity,” the report says. The proposal has inspired opposition in some of the city’s more exclusive neighborhoods, but “most of the roughly 30 people who called in [to the hearing] to give public comment were in support of the change,” according to the story. The proposal does not increase the height restrictions currently in place in single-family neighborhoods, and would not affect historic protections for existing houses, the report says. The city council will need to approve a new general plan, about a year from now, before the change can be implemented, according to the report.

Other cities that have moved to eliminate single-family zoning in recent years include Minneapolis and Portland, Oregon. Grand Rapids, Michigan, moved to a form-based zoning code that doesn’t include single-family residential caps around a decade ago, as Next City reported.

Washington cities may tax Airbnbs for affordable housing

The Washington State Senate is considering a bill that would allow municipalities to impose a tax of up to 10 percent on short-term rentals like Airbnb and VRBO, according to a report in The Olympian. The tax, which would be paid by users of those services when they book their stays, would be used “to fund capital and operating costs of affordable housing programs,” according to the report. The bill is enabling legislation that would allow cities to impose the tax. If it is approved, and every city imposes the maximum tax, it could raise more than $30 million in a year, or about a third of what the state sent to its affordable housing trust fund in 2019, according to the report. State Sen. Liz Lovelett, who sponsored the bill, said in a hearing that she introduced the bill because more landlords have been converting apartments into short-term rentals in response to tourism demands, according to the report.

“I look at this as being a simple option for local governments to be able to start bringing in money at the local level,” Lovelett said, according to the Olympian. “Much like the lodging tax that is collected in order to promote tourism, this is going to be collected to offset the challenges that it provides to the rental markets in any local jurisdiction.”

Amazon to invest $2 billion in housing in three headquarters cities

Amazon has committed to spending $2 billion to build and preserve 20,000 affordable housing units in and around its headquarters cities of Seattle, Nashville, and Arlington, Virginia, according to a report in Smart Cities Dive. The investments will include grants and below-market-rate loans to support housing for people earning between 30 percent and 80 percent of area median income in the three regions, according to the report. The company announced $339.9 million in below-market loans and $42 million in grants to the nonprofit Washington Housing Conservancy, which works to preserve “affordable workforce housing” in the D.C. region. The group is slowly converting an existing apartment complex called Crystal House in Arlington to serve people earning less than 80 percent of AMI, according to a press release. Amazon also committed $161.5 million in loans and $24 million in grants to the King County Housing Authority in the state of Washington to acquire and rehab homes for people earning roughly 80 percent of AMI, according to the press release.

“This investment is a relative drop in the bucket, but Amazon’s loans and grants will provide much-needed capital for expanding our supply of affordable housing now, when our communities need it the most,” King County Councilmember Jeanne Kohl-Welles told Smart Cities Dive.

This article is part of Backyard, a newsletter exploring scalable solutions to make housing fairer, more affordable and more environmentally sustainable.

Jared Brey is Next City’s housing correspondent, based in Philadelphia. He is a former staff writer at Philadelphia magazine and PlanPhilly, and his work has appeared in Columbia Journalism Review, Landscape Architecture Magazine, U.S. News & World Report, Philadelphia Weekly, and other publications.

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28 planners added AICP to their names last year

28 planners added AICP to their names last year

Congratulations to the following members of APA California–Northern Section who achieved AICP status in 2020. If you recently passed the AICP exam and your name is not on this list but should be, please write us at news@norcalapa.org and we’ll acknowledge you.


Shruti Altekar, AICP

Corwin Bell, AICP

David Berman, AICP

Phillip Brennan, AICP

Christa Cassidy, AICP

Jenny Delumo, AICP

Onur Ekmekci, AICP

Gabriella Folino, AICP

Krystle Heaney, AICP

Alyson Hunter, AICP

Lauren Ivey, AICP

Joshua Jackson, AICP

Juliana Lucchesi, AICP

Miranda Maupin, AICP

Taylor McAdam, AICP

Anna McGill, AICP

Oswaldo Meneses, AICP

Anjana Mepani, AICP

Rina Shah, AICP

Quan Sun, AICP

Reanna Tong, AICP

Sean Vienna, AICP

Warren Wells, AICP

AICP Candidates

Richard Davis, AICP Candidate

George Foster, AICP Candidate

Lufeng Lin, AICP Candidate

Mary Riddle, AICP Candidate

Jonathan Yuan, AICP Candidate

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Who’s where

Who’s where

Carolyn Fahey, AICP, recently joined the City of Mountain View as a Senior Planner. Previously, she worked for the City and County of San Francisco and the City of Boulder. Before entering the public sector, Fahey taught architectural design in the United Kingdom and practiced architecture in rapidly redeveloping Denver, Colorado. She holds a PhD in architecture from Newcastle University, a master’s in urban and regional planning from the University of Colorado Denver, and a bachelor’s degree in environmental design from the University of Colorado Boulder.

Arielle Fleisher is the Liaison to the Board of Supervisors at the San Francisco Department of Public Health, a role she’s held since October 2020. Previously, she was a transportation policy director for SPUR, where she worked from 2016-2020. Before that, Fleisher was a planning analyst at the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency. She holds a dual master’s in urban planning and public health from the University of Michigan and a bachelor’s degree in history from UC Davis.

Brendan Hurley, AICP Candidate and urban designer and planner at Dyett & Bhatia, is the newly appointed North Bay Regional Activity Coordinator (RAC) for APA California – Northern Section. He previously served on the Northern Section Board as UC Berkeley Student Representative, 2016-2018. Before coming to the Bay Area in 2016, Hurley was a service and outreach coordinator for the Emerging Planning Professionals Committee of APA Colorado for two years. He holds a master of city planning from UC Berkeley and a bachelor’s degree in environmental design from the University of Colorado, Boulder. Hurley lives in Napa and enjoys exploring the wine country.

Darcy Kremin, AICP, a planner with 22 years’ experience, has been promoted to Director of Environmental Planning at Rincon Consultants. Before joining Rincon in 2018, she was Bay Area environmental practice leader for Michael Baker International and earlier held senior environmental positions at URS Corporation, Cardno ENTRIX, and RBF Consulting. Kremin holds an MA in urban and environmental policy from Tufts University and a BA in geography/environmental studies and political science from UCLA. She was Northern Section Director 2009-2010 and was profiled in “Meet a local planner” in the June 2015 issue of Northern News. You can read her recent op-ed, “The New World Order, from a consultant’s point of view,” in the May 2020 issue of Northern News.

Edgar Maravilla is now a Senior Planner with the City of Mountain View. He had been an associate planner with the City of Hayward. Maravilla grew up in South Central LA and was the first in his family to graduate high school. He holds a master’s in urban and regional planning (certificate in transportation planning) from San Jose State University and a BA in community studies (immigration and social justice) from UC Santa Cruz. Maravilla is Northern Section’s liaison to the California Planning Foundation.

Brynn McKiernan, AICP, an acquisitions and development associate for multifamily projects at Emerald Fund, has been appointed the Awards Program Director for APA California – Northern. She previously helped Northern Section on the publicity subcommittee for the 2015 APA California Conference in Oakland and served on the Section Awards committee in 2017. McKiernan held project management and planning positions at Raimi + Associates and Rhoades Planning Group before joining Emerald Fund. She has a master of real estate development + design from UC Berkeley and a BS in urban and regional planning from Cal Poly Pomona.

Carolyn Neer, AICP Candidate, has been promoted to a Project Manager at David J. Powers and Associates, a firm she joined in 2019. She was previously an associate environmental planner at Rincon Consultants, 2018 to 2019. Neer holds a master of urban planning from San Jose State and a bachelor’s degree in history from UC Berkeley. She is co-director of Northern Section’s Young and Emerging Planners Group. In her spare time, she enjoys backpacking, biking, and baking.

Leslie Trejo is now an Environmental Planner at Rincon Consultants. She was previously a planning intern in Rincon’s Oakland office. Trejo received her master of urban planning from San Jose State University in December 2020. She holds bachelor’s degrees in communications and environmental sustainability studies from the University of Northern Colorado (Greely). In her spare time, Trejo enjoys reading and cycling.

Ellen Yau recently joined the Community Development team at the City of Mountain View as a Senior Planner. Previously, she worked as a design and research assistant at Sub-Art (a non-profit promoting art in transit projects), an outreach intern at M.I.G., and most recently as an associate planner at the City of Cupertino. Yau holds a master of planning with an emphasis on sustainable land use from USC and a bachelor’s degree in landscape architecture from UC Davis. She is the Mentorship Director for the Northern Section.

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Director’s note: New Year, same you, with an opportunity to grow

Director’s note: New Year, same you, with an opportunity to grow

By Florentina Craciun, January 19, 2021

The New Year is here, and with it a promise of renewal and rebirth. For some, it is an exciting time and for others, it is a reminder of the things we have yet to accomplish. For APA California–Northern Section, the New Year will be marked by several changes as we continue to build on the foundations laid by those who preceded us. One change is the person writing this Director’s note.

Let me introduce myself: Florentina Craciun, City of San Francisco Senior Environmental Planner. I am the new APA California–Northern Section Director and will be serving in this role for the next two years. That’s who I am professionally — and the image I want to project to others. I’m a planner who is dedicated to the planning profession, to her job, and to her community.

I am also an immigrant, having moved to the United States 21 years ago from Romania. My heritage is the lens through which I view everything else in my life. Coming from a former communist country allows me to understand planning from a multinational perspective. I fully embrace my heritage in my work and my personal life by always pushing for more seats at the table for groups with diverse roots, voices, and experiences.

This takes us to the heart of what America is all about: DIVERSITY. We are a diverse nation — people of different creeds, colors, professions, and aspirations, all united by the promise of America. I deeply believe that diversity is the principle on which America is built, and while some try to use diversity to rip us apart, I believe it will always bring us together. Recognizing our diverse experiences and perceptions is a necessary step towards achieving inclusion and equity.

There are many aspects to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.

My challenge to myself is to acknowledge who I am and make space for personal and professional growth. I want to expand my understanding of the Northern Section and embrace its diversity while making more space for equity and inclusion. I want to help us move from a mentality of scarcity to one of abundance. There are plenty of chairs at the table, but if we need more, let’s throw out the table and meet in a park or an arena. The opportunities for equity and inclusion will have no boundaries once we all open our minds and hearts to them.

Here’s my challenge to you: What is your identity? Are you authentically yourself? Are you doing what is important to you and for the planning profession? Do others see you the way you want to be seen?

I will strive to ensure that the programs we offer this year will help guide you and our fellow planners to bring your authentic selves to our profession, in our region. I hope to help pave the path towards a more Diverse, Equitable, and Inclusive planning world.

What will you do? It’s a New Year, same you… but with the opportunity to grow — and build.

Note: For helping me move the conversation forward and deepen my understanding of DEI, I would like to thank Alicia Jessip, DEI PR actioner, along with Northern Section board members Cindy Ma and Cherise Orange, Planning Diversity Directors, and Yosef Yip, our Communications Director.

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Register now for AICP Exam Prep Trivia Night (Virtual)
Trivia night

Register now for AICP Exam Prep Trivia Night (Virtual)

Wednesday, February 10, 2021, from 5:30 – 6:30 pm 

Get ready to ace the AICP with AICP Exam Prep Trivia Night, hosted by the Northern Section’s Young and Emerging Planners Group. 

This recurring event is targeted to beginning-career professionals studying for the AICP exam, but all planning professionals are welcome to join. The event will help you test your planning knowledge using actual questions from past AICP exams, and responses are timed to prepare you to answer questions quickly during the exam. 

Trivia Nights are scheduled monthly from February through May 2021. 

If you are interested in joining the event, please register here.  

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