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Two Interim Hires for City Posts

Community Development Director, General Plan Manager vacancies filled with interim posts

City Manager Michael Frank announced today the hiring of Bob Brown and Anne Cronin Moore to fill two vacant city posts as interim hires. Jointly, they will assume the responsibilities of Dave Wallace, the City’s previous Community Development Director, who retired in December 2011.

Frank earlier floated the idea of replacing Wallace with two hires, saying “I think it might work best if I find two retired community development directors or city managers who have been through the planning and development pathway before.”

Both individuals named today have considerable of experience in the planning and community development field and will enable Novato to advance a number of goals and projects, according to a press release from the City of Novato.

Brown, the Interim Community Development Director, has worked in the municipal community development profession for over 33 years. Most recently, he served as the Community Development Director for the City of San Rafael. He has also served as the Community Development Director for the City of Milpitas and the Planning Chief for the City of San Mateo.

Moore, brought on as Interim General Plan Manager, has 35 years of experience as a planning professional in California, most of which she spent in Marin County. Since 1991, she has operated her own consulting firm where she served as a project manager for numerous planning projects. Moore has also managed the General Plan updates as an interim Community Development/Planning Director for the Cities of Palo Alto and St. Helena.

Currently, she is managing the General Plan update as the part‐time Interim Planning Director for the City of Larkspur.

City Manager Frank stated, “Bob and Anne share the City’s interest‐based problem solving approach to foster community involvement. The Community Development Department has a number of important projects, such as the General Plan update, and we believe that Bob and Anne are the right individuals to move these projects to completion.”

Bob February 16, 2012 at 03:12 PM
"City Manager Frank stated, “Bob and Anne share the City’s interest‐based problem solving approach to foster community involvement." We have had community involvement but it doesn't appear that anyone on the council is listening.
Teresa February 22, 2012 at 04:39 PM
Bob is SUNN's poster boy, joining them in opposing the 20 units per acre compromise, supported by council, on affordable housing sites. DENSITY ON STEROIDS Brown pushes ABAG'S URBAN GOSPEL OPPOSE HIS APPOINTMENT as Community Development Co-Director Show Up and Be Counted 1st thing at Open Comment Period (5:30? 6:30?) Tuesday, 2/28, Novato Council Chambers
Bob February 22, 2012 at 07:01 PM
Teresa, you stole my thoughts so all I can say is "right on" !! I hope more folks in Novato wake up to see how the City is buying into the "One Bay Area" concept and the adding of more subsidized housing. Remember folks, SUBSIDIZED means that the taxpayers are footing the bill. Why are not our City and County officials going back to the state and letting them know that we can grow our town without their mandates.
Eleanor Sluis February 22, 2012 at 09:03 PM
With all due respect, I cannot support the hiring of Bob Brown as the new, part-time community director for Novato. He was instrumental in getting San Rafael to accept high-density buildings and a Priority Development building area in the downtown and Civic Center. Marin Community Foundation, Affordable housing groups, Marin newspaper, the IJ, builders, bankers, Chambers of Commerce, unions, supervisors, and county sponsored economic groups want as much new, high-density 4-6 stories built in Novato as fast and as profitable for them as possible. They want many subsidies from the Federal and state government for their businesses. These groups do not take into consideration the on-going views of the majority of people who have lived in Novato for more than 5 years. Hiring Bob Brown means a campaign for high-density and costs for excessive public relation’s propaganda. His campaign will be about having a decrease in gases, fewer cars, and walkable neighborhoods for low-income housing. It will not focus on Novato’s vision and the cost/benefit for Novato. For example, San Rafael is neither supplying their low-income housing areas with adequate jobs, training, nor enough transportation. Therefore, I can see low-density and how that fits better for the future of Novato.
Christian Kallen February 22, 2012 at 09:07 PM
Novato City Council's next public meeting is Tuesday, Feb. 28 at 6:30 pm. Check the city website for agenda (not yet announced).
Eleanor Sluis February 22, 2012 at 09:18 PM
Please contact the city council to consider not hiring Bob Brown. Instead, Novato needs to hire someone who fits the views of the current resident- our families, seniors, and others who want to keep low-density, high safety standards and small town atmoshere for Novato's current quality of pleasant living, enough water, and open spaces. Send emails to: City@novato.org and to Judy Arnold as our Supervisor: judyarnold@earthlink.net Thank you.
Teresa February 22, 2012 at 09:26 PM
Judy Arnold is in bed with SUNN ie Marin Community Foundation. She can only to be trusted to work for special interest groups and developers. She sold Novato down the river a long time ago. Follow the money......
Ryan February 22, 2012 at 10:45 PM
I actually like SUNN. That's not true about them opposing 20 units. Where's your evidence? One of their people testified in favor in Sacramento last year.
Lynne Wasley February 22, 2012 at 11:08 PM
I think it's important that we stick with the facts. SUNN does not oppose 20 units per acre, and in fact, advocated in Sacramento for this density. We are on record (press releases, etc) as supporting this compromise and have worked hard to push it forward. As to the use of the words "high density" - do know that many of Novato/Marin's market rate condo/townhouse developments are by definition "high dense" - meaning 20 units per acre (or in the case of senior housing, likely more). High density developments in Novato are neither high nor dense (picture two story row or cluster condos with green/open space). Unfortunately, the words conjure up something very different than the reality. Please check out our website: neighborlynovato.org to see examples of what "high dense" affordable housing actually looks like.
Lynne Wasley February 22, 2012 at 11:17 PM
Eleanor, with all due respect (and whether you and I agree or disagree, I hope we do have a respectful relationship) - I have never heard anyone other than you and some of your allies write/talk about building "high-density 4-6 stories" in Novato. As I have read or heard this from you many times I'd like to know who exactly is promoting 4-6 stories and a source for this. FYI: SUNN supports no more than three stories. Thanks.
Bob Brown February 23, 2012 at 05:51 AM
Eleanor: It was good running into you this afternoon at the COM parking lot (what a glorious day for a hike!). It was good to talk about your concerns, and I appreciate you raising them directly with me. I'll share my responses for all: First, you were unaware that Anne Moore will be hired to work on the General Plan/Housing Element/Redwood Corridor study, and will report directly to the City Manager. My role would be part-time management of the Community Development Department, and would not have responsibility for the General Plan, etc. Second, I have never believed that it is appropriate for a staff member to even attempt to dictate a community's future vision. That has to come from the community and ultimately be adopted by the City Council. Staff's role is to help facilitate that community dialogue and to package the consensus that emerges (and possibly alternatives) for action by the Council. I've worked in five different communities in the Bay Area, and each were unique and developed their own unique visions of their future. Planning needs to be fine-grained. One size won't fit all, which is the challenge we and other communities face with the One Bay Area and housing element processes. I do admit to having a love of community planning, and as you know from attending the Planning Academy that I coordinated while in San Rafael, I have never suggested there is any "correct" solutions for any community.
Eleanor Sluis February 23, 2012 at 07:06 AM
Bob, like you, I enjoy hiking. The dilemma is the baggage one carries when they work for a city. I carry baggage because of my “preserve Novato” views. With all due respect, I think that working for San Rafael and only abiding by their policies to build up and increase densities means to me that “high-density baggage” and loads of public relation’s mantras of what is good for businesses comes with you, not what is best for our community, . I want a community director who either has worked with our community or a similar small town or has studied about the advantages of keeping a small town vital without high-density. One who is more in tune with the low-density, parks, trees, and our workers, players and thinkers. Too many outside groups have changed Novato in ways that even caught the city council off guard. See the huge, six story Mill Works, Whole Foods, 125 complex and the 61 units being built on Diablo for low-income people each with adding additional cars and need for money to maintain streets, storm drains, and schools. It is a vicious cycle and a dilemma. Therefore, I favor fewer units, which are a better fit for Novato’s vision and budget. Neighborhood groups of San Marin, Balanced Housing, Hamilton, Novato Alliance, Pachecho Valley, downtown residents, and Partridge Knolls are fighting for this plan. If you do not fight for the residents, who will?
Lloyd February 23, 2012 at 05:02 PM
I understand Bob Brown has many years of experience. His statement that he won't be involved in our planning, zoning, housing element and general plan does not ring true. Why else would he be hired to co-direct the department in charge of precisely that effort. He has publicly stated his desire to have Novato give up it's efforts for a suburban housing element and urged us to bow down and accept HCD & ABAG's 30 units plus density bonus as our responsibility. He is huge advocate of the "one bay area" strategy for high density PDA's,the "one size fits all" conformity that the state is trying to brainwash us with. If I'm not mistaken believes Novato should follow San Rafael's vision with a San Rafael type super high density transit oriented downtown. He has advocated for San Rafael the shifting of RHNA affordable housing requirement responsibility from San Rafael to Novato. There is a huge difference between affordable housing and high density development. I do not fault Mr. Brown for his opinions and visions. What I find unfathomable is Mr Frank's seeming slap in the face of so many that worked on his working group and the total disregard of the goals set out in the recent letter to ABAG from our City Council. Bob Brown has openly stated his visions and views. It is beyond my understanding how he could do anything but be true to his own self and continue to influence and advocate his views. It is naive and dishonest to believe anyone would do otherwise.
Lloyd February 23, 2012 at 05:11 PM
The City Council needs to assume it's leadership position and deny the affirmation of Mr. Brown. It isn't a vote of non confidence in his experience but simply common sense in avoiding putting all of us in a no win situation. Mr Frank's should widen his search. The last thing Novato needs is the baggage that this appointment will bring. We have turned the corner and have moved forward with a consensus of how we want to accomplish our housing element. Unfortunately through no fault of his own Mr Brown has been put in the cross hairs, and his appointment can only be seen as three steps back into a divisive turmoil. I urge the Council to follow a smart positive course forward and avoid this needless quagmire.
Tina McMillan February 23, 2012 at 08:33 PM
Bob Brown In your letter dated May 24, 2011, to Community Development Director, Dave Wallace, you stated that Novato would not receive state certification without designating a minimum of 30+ units per acre (with the additional AH density bonuses). You indicated that in your experience as a city planner that anything short of this would lead to costly legal action and that regardless of how unpopular it was, the council should move forward with the higher density designation. If this is what you genuinely believe, why should we expect any different attitude once you are on staff? Your position as an affordable housing activist is well stated online when reading about the projects you endorsed, the groups that you belong to and your political position concerning city planning, climate change and the One Bay Area Plan.
Tina McMillan February 23, 2012 at 08:43 PM
We need a community development director that shares our vision of a city capable of supporting its residents. We currently have a $2.5 million dollar structural budget deficit and only 5% of our land zoned commercial. As we add more housing without needed property taxes we fall further and further into debt. High density means lots of people in a small space. If you look at Bob's work in San Rafael he was able to increase density bonuses on one project by 62%. This is not about aesthetics. It is about supporting the families that live within the city by providing needed services to everyone. The One Bay Area vision creates a much denser, more populated Marin county with a significant portion of the new housing being moved from San Rafael to Novato. San Rafael accepted MTC funding. Novato did not. This was done with the support of Mr. Brown. How are we to believe that his point of view has suddenly changed from everything he has represented in the past thirty years? Why would we take the chance when we could hire someone else?

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