A HEARTY CONGRATULATIONS TO BOTH SANDAG AND VICKI GRANOWITZ – our two local winners of Cal-APA Statewide Planning Awards!

In the planning profession, we get to enjoy thinking about and organizing various land use activities and development proposals. Because our work offers the chance to really make a difference, it is important to recognize good work when we see it.  The San Diego Section of the APA holds an annual Awards Program to encourage quality in planning in San Diego and Imperial Counties and to increase the public’s awareness of the planning profession through recognizing outstanding achievement in our field. For the 2017 SDAPA Awards Program, 16 awards were given to various individuals, firms, and agencies for their outstanding efforts in planning and planning leadership. Two of these award recipients were nominated at the state-level APA, and both of them received awards! The winners of the 2017 APA California Chapter Awards were recently announced, and it is our pleasure to congratulate both SANDAG and Vicki Granowitz for representing the best of the best planning-related work in the State of California for 2017! If you will be attending the Cal APA Conference in Sacramento next month, be sure to attend the Award Banquet to support our local award winners!

SANDAG – San Diego Forward: The Regional Plan Receives the 2017 APA California Comprehensive Plan Award: Large Jurisdiction, Award of Excellence

The first award coming out of the San Diego Section is in the category of “Comprehensive Planning.” San Diego Forward: The Regional Plan – adopted unanimously by the SANDAG Board in 2015 – is the future blueprint for a more sustainable San Diego region. At its core, it relies on providing innovative mobility choices and planning to support a sustainable and healthy region, a vibrant economy, and an outstanding quality of life for all. Under this Plan, the future transportation network will provide more travel choices, which in turn will protect the environment, create healthy communities, incorporate social equity into the process, and stimulate economic growth.

In response to the shift in development patterns based on the cities and county updated general and specific plans, San Diego Forward includes greater investments in public transportation, bike paths, and pedestrian improvements than in any previous plan. It builds on local planning efforts and emphasizes the benefits of coordinated land use planning and transportation management to facilitate more compact and sustainable communities. Together, the land use pattern and transportation investments included in the Regional Plan allow the region to meet and exceed greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction targets established by the state Air Resources Board.

The Regional Plan was developed in close partnership with the region’s 18 cities and county government. At each step in the process, SANDAG also reached out to a wide range of community members and stakeholders throughout the region. To help organized the overall engagement effort, SANDAG created a Public Involvement Plan to efficiently deploy different public engagement techniques, such as workshops, social media, visualizations, surveys, videos, and presentations. SANDAG also partnered with a regionwide network of community-based organizations to engage low income, minority, senior, and disabled populations in the planning process. Unique to the region is the network of 17 tribal nations. SANDAG implemented a consultation process in partnership with the Southern California Tribal Chairmen’s Association (SCTCA) to ensure issues of the region’s tribal nations were addressed in the Plan. In addition, SANDAG collaborated with Mexico, the U.S. military, neighboring counties, the business community, and local organizations in an inclusive planning process to ensure our regional transportation system will connect to the megaregion and national network.

San Diego Forward makes a commitment to ensure that progress is made and that implementation efforts can be carried out. Today, SANDAG is focused on putting the Plan into action: Constructing the Mid-Coast Trolley to U.C. San Diego, South Bay Rapid between the international border and downtown San Diego, Bayshore Bikeway, planning for Mobility Hubs, providing grants to local jurisdictions to build infrastructure to support smart growth and active transportation, preserving over 8,000 acres of valuable open space, among countless other projects.

Shortly after adoption, the Plan was promoted by many transportation planning professionals and “insiders” as a landmark and award-winning planning document. The last year has held to be true.  The Plan has already received considerable local, state, and national attention. In May, the Plan was first recognized at the local San Diego section for award in the “Comprehensive Plan – Large Jurisdiction” category. The Regional Plan was selected as the “Best of the Best” in the 2017 Transportation Planning Excellence Awards, a prestigious biennial program co-sponsored by the federal government and the National American Planning Association.  And just recently, it was announced by APA that the Plan will receive a state-level award for excellence in large jurisdiction/comprehensive planning.

For more about the Regional Plan and to learn about how the plan is being implemented, please visit www.sdforward.com/. SANDAG is thrilled and honored to be recognized for its long-range planning, and thanks everyone involved in the preparation and implementation of this forward-thinking planning document.

The San Diego Section of the APA congratulates SANDAG on its APA California Chapter Award of Excellence for Comprehensive Plan Award: Large Jurisdiction!

Vicki Granowitz Receives the 2017 APA California Planning Advocate Award

The second award coming out of the San Diego Section is in the category of “Planning Advocate.” This award honors an individual (non-planner) or appointed or elected official who has advanced or promoted the cause of planning in the public arena. The individual is judged on their support of planning and planners and their effectiveness and results in formulating and implementing plans and ideas in support of good planning. The 2017 APA California Chapter Award for Planning Advocate goes to Vicki Granowitz!

Vicki Granowitz has been an active partner in planning in the City of San Diego. For over twenty-five years she has volunteered as a community organizer and advocate in the areas of historic preservation, parks and open space, law enforcement, homeless and affordable housing issues among other areas of interest. Ms. Granowitz’s dedication to the betterment of her diverse, urban and economically-challenged community of North Park gained her a reputation as a community leader who did the work along with those on the committees she was leading. She never sought a public position to just ‘put it on her resume’ as some do. City planners knew that when she was appointed or elected to a committee they worked with that they would gain an advocate for good planning and someone who would work with them.

Ms. Granowitz has served on her community planning group for decades, with a lot of work coming from the North Planning Committee. The North Park Planning Committee represents an urbanized area of the City of San Diego near Balboa Park and Downtown. While speaking up for North Park, she has participated in a number of CPC subcommittees which addressed citywide issues. She has also either participated on or chaired housing, historic preservation, public utility, park and recreation, library, business district, police, and engineering committees. Ms. Granowitz chaired the North Park Planning Committee until March, and remains on the City of San Diego’s Consolidated Plan Advisory Board and the De Anza Revitalization Advisory Committee. She just recently resigned from the Planning Committee when she was appointed to the City of San Diego 7-member Planning Commission in March 2017.

Ms. Granowitz also understands that land use planning as a function does not operate in a vacuum and that parks and open space, public facilities, historic preservation, affordable housing, libraries are all part of what makes a community and city be the best for its citizens. Her appointment to committees beyond those that are planning-oriented show peer-level confidence in her ability to be a valuable and contributing member or leader of those committees.

The San Diego Section of the APA congratulates Vicki Granowitz on her APA California Chapter Award for Planning Advocate!