Under outgoing mayor Bob Filner, planning once again became a "top priority" in San Deigo after its stand-alone status fell victim to cost-savings measures under the previous administration. Just two months ago, Filner hired respected urban planner Bill Fulton "to take over a reconstituted and empowered planning department" with the goal of "improving the quality of life throughout the city," reports Andrew Keatts.
"Filner’s new Planning and Neighborhood Resources department, freed from the confines of Development Services, would outline and enforce the city’s future growth at a community level by taking on affordable housing, transportation, economic development and historic resources. It would be the Department of Quality of Life, he said."
"Just as he did throughout his brief tenure as mayor, Filner made it clear he’d use every tool in his arsenal to make sure the actions of city staff and developers reflected his grand vision," adds Keatts. Apparently, this included illegally shutting down [PDF] a development project after permits had been issued.
"As the city begins to select a replacement for Filner, neighborhoods and the planning department will face a crossroads. How the next mayor handles Fulton’s new department and the task of updating community plans, will be a huge indicator of whether Filner’s priority shift made a lasting impact."