Congratulations to the City of Cypress (Calif.) and to Alicia Velasco, who will shortly begin her tenure as Planning Director at the Orange County city of nearly 50,000.

In her new position, Velasco will oversee the planning, enforcement and housing functions, with four full-time staff. In a smaller city, successful managers must be hands-on, holding the vision and direction of the department and communicating across many internal and external partner roles, while also actively working to move specific projects and initiatives forward in accordance with the City’s master plan. We are confident the City has found its perfect candidate in Alicia Velasco.

Most recently, Velasco was with the City of Lomita, as Community and Economic Development Director, where she managed the divisions of Economic Development, Planning, Code Enforcement, Building and Safety, and Housing. She had earned that position from her previous role of Principal City Planner and, prior to that, Associate City Planner.

In the local newspaper, the Orange County Breeze, City Manager Peter Grant said, “Alicia’s 17 years of public and private sector experience have prepared her well to join the Cypress team. Her peers describe her as someone with the ‘figure it out’ gene and who understands the complex nature of local, state, and federal land use and environmental regulation.”

Read the entire Breeze story here

We agree with the City administration and Council that Velasco’s 17 years of municipal experience, with nine in a supervisory role, prepared her well for the Planning Director position. It’s been a pleasure to bring this professional and this team together!


Napa’s new Planning Director to maintain rural sustainability

David Morrison, Napa County Planning Director

We are proud to announce the appointment of David Morrison as Planning Director of Napa County. He was selected this week by the county’s Board of Supervisors.

County Executive Officer Nancy Watt recommended David for the position, “preserving agriculture and the environment is vital to the success of Napa County, and David’s depth of experience in this area will be valuable in guiding the department forward.”

As the former Assistant Planning and Public Works Director for Yolo County, David was instrumental in the development and success of numerous environmental preservation programs, including the county’s General Plan and Housing Element, the adoption of a Climate Action Plan, streamlining the county zoning code, and helping to create the Cache Creek Nature Preserve.

“Napa County is the birthplace of agricultural protection in California and has long been a leader in managing land uses consistent with local values,” Morrison said. “I am honored to be a part of creating solutions to meet the challenges that face our community and to maintain Napa’s role as the forefront of rural sustainability.”

David is also an educator and active member of the community. He has been a guest lecturer since 2007 at UC Davis on a variety of planning subjects, with an emphasis on the interaction between agriculture and urban areas. Before joining Yolo County, he served in various planning positions in the Counties of Tulare and Fresno.

Morrison earned a Bachelor’s degree in Economics and Anthropology, and a Master’s degree in City and Regional planning, both from CSU Fresno.