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Plan Ahead!
Jeff Barnouw | Amphitheatre Drive

Tracy Elliot Yawn. Photo Jeff Barnouw.
Clicik on image to enlarge.

Planning Manager (aka Principal Planner) Tracy Elliot Yawn came to Del Mar from the City of San Diego where she worked about 20 years, in planning and code enforcement. She was also a supervisor for the coastal communities of San Diego City for many years. She began in San Diego as an intern right after gaining her BA in Urban Studies and Planning from UCSD.

In between stints with San Diego Tracy worked for 5 years in Santee, but Del Mar is her first “small city” position. Because of the difference in scale there can be more cooperation between departments in Del Mar, which she says she appreciates. Their interaction is also tied together by the role of the City Manager, a position which disappeared in San Diego when it went to a “strong mayor” structure.

I tried to imagine planners planning. Does that mean making plans? It turns out planning is involved in much that goes on in City government. Tracy attends every meeting of the Design Review Board and Planning Commission, ready to advise on anyone’s and everyone’s project, as well as City Projects. The short-range matters of permits and approvals are balanced against long-range planning, updating code.

Review and improvement of the Design Review Ordinance will keep Tracy busy going forward. And whatever is eventually to be done about short-term rentals. “Busy “ was a theme of our chat. Beyond frequent staff meetings she has monthly meetings with the local staff of the California Coastal Commission. She emphasized the importance of customer service.

As of September 19 the Planning Department is at full strength for the first time since the departure of Adam Birnbaum. Amanda Lee, Senior Planner, replaces Joseph Smith who left for a position with the Port Authority, located much closer to where his wife works and he and his family live. Evan Langan, Associate Planner, replaces Rick Casswell, who left for Rancho Santa Fe.


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