2018 National Planning Conference

SupUrbia: Changing Perceptions Through Process Improvements

Monday, April 15, 2019 from 8:30 a.m. - 9:45 a.m. PDT

CM | 1.25

Activity Type: Educational Sessions

Activity ID: NPC198176

Location: 2002

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  • Consider potential initiatives and other process improvements relative to the delivery of development review services.
  • Identify potential metrics for tracking the success of various initiatives and other process improvements relative to the delivery of development review services.
  • Reflect on various community perspectives in Walnut Creek, determine which perspectives are most similar to viewpoints expressed in their jurisdictions, and apply those lessons learned in Walnut Creek.


At strategic and tactical levels, development is one of the fundamental drivers in a jurisdiction’s economic development toolkit, setting the tone for doing business, and in turn, helping to retain, grow, and attract businesses. We have all heard second-hand (or experienced firsthand) that the development review process can be cumbersome, bureaucratic, or worse, whether you are the planner applying the process, the developer following the process, or the decisionmaker rendering judgment through the process. Perceptions of “the process” can cast a long shadow across a jurisdiction’s landscape and leave indelible impressions of your jurisdiction. This session highlights how Walnut Creek, California, changed perceptions of “the process” and made improvements to increase efficiency, consistency and customer responsiveness while maintaining the ability to generate high-quality projects. Hear from a panel of experienced developers, commissioners, and city staff about how Walnut Creek engaged critics of its development review processes and collaboratively developed improvements that showcase the efficacy of Walnut Creek's award-winning Blueprint for Success. Gain perspective and ideas about ways to change the culture at city hall and create a sup-urb experience for the customers and clients you serve.

Session Speakers

Jessica Cole
City of Walnut Creek
Walnut Creek, CA

Ethan Bindernagel, AICP
City of Walnut Creek Plng Div
Walnut Creek, CA

Hamid Taeb
Habitat for Humanity / EBSV

Eric Harrison
Signature Development Group
Walnut Creek, CA

Lauren Seaver
Blake Griggs Properties