Happy New Year! On behalf of the Board of the San Diego Section of the American Planning Association, we wish you a wonderful 2017! We are looking forward to events and activities that are engaging and fun, and strongly encourage you to fully participate in the SDAPA offerings that we’re planning for this year.

Our San Diego section had a productive and successful 2016. I hope you had the opportunity to participate in at least a few of the offerings.  Here are some highlights:

The Section’s 2016 awards event was held at the fabulous Encinitas Library. Awards were presented in fifteen categories and four of those award winners, La Mesa’s Urban Trails plan, the Cross Border Xpress, Carmel Mountain/Del Mar Mesa Natural Resources Management Plan and Lara Gates’s commitment to advancing diversity were recognized at the APA California conference held last Fall in Pasadena.  The call for nominations for this year’s awards program is already underway, so please take the opportunity to highlight the good work you’ve been doing at your firm or agency by submitting for a local APA award at  http://sdapa.org/event/call-for-nominations-now-open/.  We’re eager to celebrate our planning successes at an exciting new location in 2017.

There were a number of excellent programs offered in 2016 including sessions on gentrification, SB 743 Implementation, planning and politics of direct democracy, and San Diego’s new urban forest. These and other educational offerings provided opportunities for over 10 hours of Certification Maintenance credits for our many members who are recognized by American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP).

This past year’s AICP training resulted in San Diego having seven new Certified Planners. You may have heard that the 2017 AICP exam will debut new topics and competencies.  Asha Bleier, our AICP training officer, is working closely with State and National contacts to design a revised AICP exam preparation course that addresses the new exam content.  SDAPA is pleased to offer this intensive training which will begin in March.  Look for an announcement to sign up soon.

Out noteworthy Young Planner’s Group (YPG) program held over a dozen events this year, including a robust Mentorship program. This year’s Mentorship program offerings are in full swing.  If you haven’t already, I urge you to consider participating in this rewarding experience when we recruit volunteer mentors later in the year.

Last, but not least, the Section held several membership socials including the ever popular Planners Night Out (PNO) events and a night at the Padres game that were wildly successful! Our sold-out holiday party at Fireside, co- hosted with the Association of Environmental Professionals (AEP), was a blast!  Our food drive competition spurred a donation of 1,162 pounds of food, (four times the amount from last year!) to the San Diego Food Bank along with $581 from raffle ticket sales.

We’re off to an exciting year, which began with an excursion to the Salton Sea and with an opportunity to get to know our Imperial County members. I hope you will Join us for professional development, training, and networking in 2017! And if you want to highlight a special project you’re working on, send us an article to publish in the Planning Journal.

One last note… Looking ahead, in 2018, the SDAPA will be hosting the California APA conference! There will be many volunteer opportunities, and we encourage our members to participate in a variety of ways and take advantage of this great opportunity to help showcase the amazing planning efforts happening in our section.