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Posted on: November 20, 2019

Joseph Smith hired as Planning Director


A former Del Mar city planner with extensive experience in handling coastal issues has been hired as Planning Director.

Joseph Smith is set to begin in his new role Dec. 3. He replaces Kathleen Garcia, who retired in October after nine years with the City.

Smith returns to Del Mar after three years at the Port of San Diego where, as the agency’s Development Services Department Manager, he supervised permitting for complex development projects. He was the Port’s lead planner for a 10,000-seat outdoor performance venue and for the build-out of the Chula Vista Bayfront Master Plan, among other projects.

From 2013 through 2016, Smith served as a senior planner in Del Mar, where he initiated the City’s policy work to address sea-level rise and coastal flooding. In that role, he obtained grant funding from the Ocean Protection Council and oversaw the formation of the City’s Sea-Level Rise Stakeholder Technical Advisory Committee.

Previously, Smith worked as a Senior Planner in the City of Malibu. In the private sector, he consulted on land use and development projects in Malibu, Marina Del Rey, downtown Los Angeles and Riverside County.

During his time as an undergraduate at University of Washington, Smith served as a legislative assistant to Washington State Sen. Pam Roach.

He later earned a master’s degree from Pepperdine University School of Public Policy.

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