Planning and Community Development

The Planning and Community Development Department provides networking opportunities and fosters professional development for department members through Cal Cities' educational and communication tools. It also serves as a technical and advisory resource to Cal Cities through its policy committee representatives. 

Subscribe to the Planning and Community Development Listserv to receive the latest updates and information.


Department Goals and Activities

Hone your skills as a planner or planning commissioner by participating in specially designed educational training, including the annual Planning Commissioners Academy, which includes sessions for both new and advanced commissioners and planning staff; professional-development focused webinars; and sessions on city issues at Cal Cities’ Annual Conference. Our members also engage in:


  • Work with Cal Cities as it advocates for the interest of cities on statewide issues that affect city planning matters by: 
  • Keeping abreast of breaking legislative developments through the CA Cities Advocate email newsletter, Western City magazine, legislative briefings and the Housing, Community and Economic Development Listserv.  
  • Join a policy committee; 
  • Participating in monthly department conference calls; and 
  • Working with your city manager and city council to respond to calls to action on planning-related legislation. 


  • Connect with your colleagues from throughout California to: 
  • Build professional relationships; 
  • Tap into planning trends and resources; 
  • Exchange best practices through the HCED Listserv; and 
  • Partner with professionals and other elected officials across other departments to improve local government. 
Department Officers
President - Debbie Chamberlain, Community Development Director, San Ramon
First Vice President - Benjamin Yee, Planning Commissioner, Fremont
Second Vice President - Anita Gutierrez, AICP, Development Services Director, Pomona
Department Director* - Eric Nelson, Planning Commissioner, Dana Point
Immediate Past President - Joel Rojas, Development Services Director, San Juan Capistrano

*Department Director serves for a two-year term, beginning in even years.
Policy Committee Representatives

Appointed by the department president, each department has at least one representative on each of Cal Cities seven standing policy committees that can provide technical information to the committee as a whole to ensure that the department has a voice in the decision-making process, and make recommendations to the board of directors on legislative and policy issues.

2023 Policy Committee Representatives

  • Community Services - Michael Smith, Principal Planner, Rancho Cucamonga
  • Environmental Quality - Matthew Downing, Community Development Director, Pismo Beach
  • Governance, Transparency, and Labor Relations - Gary Alpert, Planning Commissioner, San Ramon
  • Housing, Community, and Economic Development - Debbie Chamberlain, Community Services. Director, San Ramon
  • Public Safety - Eric Nelson, Planning Commissioner, Dana Point
  • Revenue and Taxation - Joel Rojas, Development Services Director, San Juan Capistrano
  • Transportation, Communication, and Public Works - Omar Dadabhoy, Community Development Director, Fountain Valley

For more information about the appointment process, please contact Meg Desmond.

Upcoming Events

June 6, 2023 10:00 AM-11:30 AM
Advocacy Update on Priority Legislation

View All >

Contact Staff

McKelvey, Meghan
Meghan McKelvey
Department and Member Services Manager
(916) 658-8253

Isaac Black
Administrative Associate, Member Services

Join a Listserv

Listservs are an easy way to share resources and information with other city officials about specific subject areas. Listservs are open to all Cal Cities member cities.