Local Planner Spotlight July 2016: David B. De Vries AICP, Development Services Director for the City of Lemon Grove

Consistent with the 2016 SDAPA Planning Journal theme of “People, Projects, and Issues” this article exemplifies all three themes. The person being highlighted is David De Vries AICP, Development Services Director for the City of Lemon Grove. David has been an active planner in Lemon Grove, home of the Best Climate on Earth, for over 13 years. During that time, he has demonstrated his broad skillset and versatility serving as Associate, Senior, and Principal Planner for the city of 26,000. In March 2016, David was promoted to Development Services Director. In this capacity, he manages the Development Services Department which is comprised of the Planning, Building, Code Enforcement, and Stormwater Divisions.

As a licensed real estate broker and SDSU MBA alumnus, David uses his unique skills and passion for economic development to help create the vision for Lemon Grove’s future. Lemon Grove is ripe with opportunities for smart growth and economic development. As one of three planners for the City, David is actively involved in all aspects of current and long-range planning. Some of the highlights of the exciting projects David and his staff are working on for 2016 and 2017 are listed below:

  • An update to the City’s 1996 General Plan;
  • An update and expansion of the Downtown Village Specific Plan;
  • Connect Main Street, a 2-mile linear park with walking and biking trails in the heart of Lemon Grove; and
  • Celsius, an 84-unit market-rate smart growth development complete with a 2-story lobby, rooftop deck, fitness center, and other modern conveniences. This will be the newest addition to Lemon Grove’s Main Street Promenade.

David and his staff have discussed key goals and aspirations for the community. The focus has been turned to quality and intentional development made possible by precise planning and a grand vision for Lemon Grove. As a part of the General Plan update, an art district is proposed. This proposed district will create an artist community that will begin to spur the evolution of the City into a vibrant arts area that will maintain its small-town charm and kitsch.Picture 2 - Family

As with all municipalities, Lemon Grove is faced with challenges. The City has been experiencing a tepid recovery from the recession. There is an unwarranted public perception of Lemon Grove that paints a false picture of an economically depressed community with a high crime rate. In truth, Lemon Grove is a working-class family community with a thriving small business sector. The majority of Lemon Grove was built in the ‘50s, ‘60s, and ‘70s and was designed to be auto-oriented. For the future, the City is working to encourage walkability, bikeability, and healthy lifestyle choices for residents. Lemon Grove is one of few cities in the region with a Health and Wellness Element (adopted in 2014) of which David acted as Project Manager.

David and his family reside in the community of Rancho Penasquitos where he serves as an appointed member of the Town Council. When he isn’t working, David enjoys spending quality time with his family, playing beach volleyball, practicing his skills smoking various types of meat, catching up on Game of Thrones, and enjoying all that sunny San Diego has to offer. To learn more about opportunities in Lemon Grove or to contact David, email him at ddevries@lemongrove.ca.gov.

Pictured above: David and his wife, Carly, and their three children: Shaylin (5), Landon (3) and Aubri (9 months).