Search continues for new Del Mar planning director

Del Mar is in the midst of winding down a national search for its newest planning director after Brian Mooney’s two-year interim contract expired June 30.

The city received 80 applications for the position that will ultimately be counted on to help with the council’s downtown revitalization form-based code outreach program.

City Manager Karen Brust said 20 percent of the applicants, or 16, were selected to interview before a panel of department heads consisting of city managers and planning and community development directors.

While Brust said the goal is to hire someone “as soon as possible,” she said the city is taking its time to make sure the correct choice is made.

“We have many people that are very competent and very skilled, and we’re looking for the right fit for Del Mar,” she said. “The candidates we are looking at are very experienced in current and advanced planning and so the focus is not form-based code, it’s the total package that they bring to the organization.”

The full-time position was posted on Del Mar’s website with a first review deadline of May 15. It is advertised to pay between $98,090 and $128,702. Brust said while the city currently has no planning director, she has worked with City Planner Adam Birnbaum to make sure there is no interruption in day-to-day business for at least the next month.

“We have a highly competent staff, and I have a great deal of confidence in them when we work together,” Brust said, adding that it is not realistic to expect a hire to be announced in the next two or so weeks. “With the holidays and everything, it’s a process that we’re being very diligent and careful about.”

Mooney, who owns an Encinitas-based city planning consulting company, said he would continue to make himself available to Del Mar if need be. He said he did not apply for the permanent position with the city.
“I really have enjoyed my time here,” he said. “I also know what I do best and what I don’t do best. I’m not a day-to-day guy to be handling all of the issues. The city has other staff for that.”

In his 35-year career, Mooney has been part of several major local downtown revitalization projects including Lemon Grove and the Gaslamp District. He said he is leaving Del Mar with an optimistic feeling.

“Look at the positive, we’re all talking about revitalization,” he said. “Starting the dialogue is really the most important element.”
Brust said one of the “key factors” she is looking for in the new hire is someone who is an “active listener and can really work well with the community, with the council and the staff.”

Related posts:

  1. Del Mar panel to present ideas on downtown planning standards
  2. New planning tool for revitalizing town
  3. New zoning plan enters next stage
  4. Council seeking more details on plan for DM future
  5. Downtown revitalization update

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