Gus Romo, Permitted land use, California community development, city planning, land use planning, Gustavo Romo, Romo Planning Group, planning professionals California, CEQA, contract planning services California, land planning 411
Talking California Community Development, City and Land Use Planning with Gus Romo
At Land Planning 411 we give our readers interested in community development, city planning, and land development five random questions we submit to planning professionals in California.
Today we share our interview with Community Development and City Planning Professional Gus Romo (Gustavo Romo).
Land Planning 411 (LP411): In your own words what do community development, and city planning, mean to you?
Gus Romo, Romo Planning Group (RPG): City planning has always been part of our history. However, in today’s world, it has become a tool to save our environment and educate people about the importance of creating sustainable communities.
LP411: Having been an audience member in many California planning commission and city council meetings I and other people sometimes can get overwhelmed by acronyms like CUP.
Do you personally prepare yourself and planning staff to give presentations limiting acronyms in a way to improve communication between community and city hall staff? And what is a CUP?
RPG: Yes, it’s always difficult for planners to catch themselves talking lingo instead of speaking in layman’s terms. We want to be understood but need to realize that we should always consider how the built environment is perceived and all the social factors that are involved. A CUP is a conditional use permit.
LP411: In land planning news it’s impossible to ignore the legalizing of cannabis and changes to city planning and land use. In a piece the city of San of Bernardino was having trouble keeping up with paperwork because agencies did not know how it all works. It’s a big topic, so can you shine light on any one part of city planning the legalization of cannabis has had on any specific area of the planning process?
RPG: Planners are dealing with similar issues the US was having when Prohibition came to an end. The stigma of cannabis, just like alcohol back then, continues to create animosity. Some people believe that the legalization of cannabis will prove to have the same negative impacts as alcohol (drunk driving, domestic violence, etc.). As Planners, we just need to realize that it’s going to take some time for cannabis to be accepted as a permitted land use.
LP411: What are the main differences in working as a contract planner and a permanent city planning employee? Or are there no differences? This question gets asked many times amongst urban planning students on college campuses.
RPG: The main difference is your employer benefits and the length of the assignment. As a contract employee, you often work more than one jurisdiction and can be somewhere short-term or long-term. As a city employee, you typically stay on much longer to see projects all the way from start to completion.
LP411: Lots of people own raw land. This comes up in many conversations, “I own some land. What can I do with it? Where should they start if they are interested in having their property developed into a residential or commercial use to make money.
RPG: Before purchasing, they need to identify their zoning to see what the allowed uses are as well as the development standards. They should also find out about the existing infrastructure. Are all utilities available to the site? What sensitive uses surround the site? Is my land clean or potentially contaminated? They should also inquire if the city has any plans in that area to amend the General Plan or zoning.
Thanks, so much Gus. Please share with us your experience, and a little personal insight about yourself you would like to share not related to urban planning. We are people first and professions second.
RPG: In the world of community development, you tend to deal with a variety of views and opinions. The politics are rampant. People disagree about what should be allowed or prohibited in their community. They disagree about how far government should be involved with their land use decisions. You will have the two extremes and the middle. Some people want to do whatever they please with their land. Others believe the government should control every decision people make with their land. This brings about a lot of excitement at City Council and Planning Commission meetings. It’s never a dull moment. As planners, we just must remain objective and keep doing our jobs in an ethical and diligent manner.
Thanks for reading, Land Planning 411