Our Services

  • General Plan Updates

    We have helped more than 60 California cities and counties prepare comprehensive General Plan updates, evaluations, and related projects. We have a thorough knowledge of General Plan law. We work with large and small, urban and rural cities and counties to carry out General Plan programs and projects tailored to their specific needs. We work closely with our clients throughout the program to ensure relevance, quality, and responsiveness of the General Plan. Our broad experience and expertise result in uniformly excellent work products and satisfied clients.

  • Housing Element and Related Plans

    We have prepared almost 80 housing elements and a dozen related plans and studies for cities and counties in California. During this time we have emerged as one of the leading experts in the field. We draw on our broad experience preparing housing elements for diverse communities across California to develop innovative policy solutions for the communities in which we work.

    We recognize that the housing element, like other general plan elements, greatly impacts the lives of those who live, work, and own property in a community. It is vital that a housing element meets not only the requirements of State law, but more importantly, the needs of the community.

    We organize and facilitate workshops for all of our housing element projects to inform and educate members of the community on the housing element update process and requirements, and provide a forum for community members to discuss housing issues and potential policy solutions. In our workshops we attempt to dispel common myths about affordable housing by presenting examples of successful housing developments that fit well into the fabric of similar communities. We pride ourselves on preparing housing elements that exceed the minimum standards for certification by the Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) and serve as a practical guide for day-to-day decision-making. All of the nearly 80 housing elements we have prepared have been certified by HCD.

  • Regional Plans

    We help regions and the communities within them improve their social well-being, economic growth, and environmental sustainability from the neighborhood to the community to the metropolitan region. Regional planning has evolved over the last six decades through a variety of initiatives, planning efforts, and other broad-based movements. Major forces, such as the emergence of single-function State infrastructure planning agencies and heightened awareness of growth impacts on the environment, helped raise serious concerns regarding growth-related challenges such as air quality, regional economic health, overcrowded schools, affordable housing, urbanization of prime agricultural land, and water shortages.

    Unlike individual city and county planning projects and programs, regional planning deals with challenges and opportunities facing multiple communities and stakeholders. Often neighboring communities share common characteristics and values and rely on the same resources for their success. However, they may also have conflicting and competing interests. Regional planning is based on the principle that, by working together, local communities can address regionwide environmental, social, and economic issues which may otherwise be left unattended or result in negative consequences. At the heart of this principle is the idea that through consensus building, trust, and an understanding of common goals, local communities, and the regions in which they are located can become stronger, more sustainable, and vibrant.

    We work with communities, local officials, regional agencies, and other stakeholders to develop long- and short-term plans, strategies, programs, and tools that promote the sustainability and best use of a region’s lands, resources, and people.

  • Zoning and Development Code Updates

    We prepare comprehensive zoning and development code updates for cities and counties throughout California. Many times, after completion of a general plan update, communities discover that their zoning and development codes do not reflect the vision and ideas embodied in the plan. Other times, communities simply get to the point that current planning and development practice has made their zoning and development regulations antiquated and ineffective.

    We prepare zoning ordinances and development codes that are technically sound, legally defensible, and easy to use by staff, stakeholders, decision-makers, and community members. We help our client cities and counties to identify the inadequacies of their ordinances and codes and develop effective solutions to those problems.

  • Zoning and Development Code Updates

    We are a leader in crafting innovative, effective community outreach efforts that both inform the public and gather valuable input about community issues, needs, and expectations. Effective communication with community residents and businesses is an essential element for successful projects and programs. We organize and carry out successful planning programs through extensive outreach to and input from a broad cross-section of residents, businesses, community organizations, and other stakeholders. Our outreach program achieves three primary objectives:

    1. An inclusive process: engage as many members of the community as possible.
    2. An instructive program: educate citizens and decision-makers on the process, issues, options, and solutions.
    3. A validating experience: ensure citizens and decision-makers are heard and see their voice is making a difference.

    Planning for the future of a community or a neighborhood is often marked with contentious debate and conflict over seemingly irresolvable differences of opinion. With 25 years of experience, we have helped resolve a wide range of contentious and charged issues in communities. We work with local governments, community stakeholders, interest groups, and elected official to resolve conflicts through collaboration. We help a community move through difficult issues with a variety of tools and techniques including consensus-building workshops, mediated forums, and interest-based negotiation.

    We specialize in conducting innovative, community outreach programs. We offer a full range of services necessary to carry out successful meetings and workshops, from presenting information, to conducting interactive exercises, to gathering useful feedback..