October 2013 home page

support us

Planning Ahead
Kathy Garcia | City of Del Mar Planning Director


When you come to Del Mar’s Planning Counter, you may be greeted by new faces in the department. Katie Benson and Joseph Smith, AICP both joined the Planning Department in 2013 and are welcome additions to the team.

Katie Benson.
Photo courtesy City of Del Mar

Katie Benson is Del Mar’s new Assistant Planner. You may remember Katie from her year-long volunteer internship where she diligently helped the Planning Department on many projects. Katie, a native of Encinitas with family ties in local government, received her Bachelor’s Degree from CSU, Chico in Geography. You can now find Katie staffing the Planning Counter where she processes development permits, provides assistance to the Design Review Board and Planning Commission, and undertakes various special planning projects. In her free time, she enjoys taking her son to baseball games, camping with family and friends, and DIY home improvement projects. Katie has always had an interest in local issues and appreciates the importance of land use planning in a built-out, coastal community.

Joseph Smith is a certified planner from the American Institute of Certified Planners and has been working in planning, land use and legislation for eight years. Joseph fills the Associate Planner position vacated by long-time planner Jean Crutchfield who resigned to devote more time to her young family. Joseph is a native of a small town in northwest Washington State, which influenced his strong commitment to the preservation of natural resources, outdoor recreation and community character. Joseph’s professional life has always concentrated on the Pacific coast. His bachelor’s degree is in Political Science from the University of Washington in Seattle which was followed by a move to California’s coast to earn his Master of Public Policy degree from Pepperdine University. He comes to Del Mar from Malibu’s Planning Department, where he was instrumental in coastal development applications, project review and policy formation. He has relocated to Cardiff with his wife and two young daughters and is enjoying North County’s relaxed family lifestyle, the local beaches and traditional Mexican fare.


Joseph Smith.
Photo courtesy City of Del Mar.  Click to enlarge.


Both Katie and Joseph have quickly become valuable members of the Planning team. They recognize the importance of customer service, are committed to the Community Plan, and are very engaged with their projects. Their efforts have made the staff transitions very smooth. Staffing changes are a reality in any office, and Del Mar is no exception. On average, about 10% of employees will leave per year for promotions, relocation, retirement or personal priorities. With these particular transitions in Planning, staff worked with the City Manager to envision how best to serve Del Mar’s community development needs and the City Council’s priorities, all within the existing departmental budget. If you have a chance to come by and meet Katie or Joseph, I think you will agree that Del Mar is lucky to have such talented and committed planners working for our community.



© 2007-2015 Del Mar Community Alliance, Inc.  All rights reserved.