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Posted on April 15, 2014 | 3:50 p.m.

Santa Barbara Appoints New Community Development Director

Source: Nina Johnson for the City of Santa Barbara

The Santa Barbara City Council has approved the city administrator’s appointment of George Buell as community development director, following a nationwide recruitment process.


George Buell
George Buell

Buell currently serves as the development services director of the City of Oceanside.

As community development director, he will oversee planning and development services, building and safety, and housing and human services. The Community Development Department is comprised of more than 65 employees and a budget totaling $20 million. 

Buell has served as the development services director at the City of Oceanside with a population of 167,000 since 2008. Some significant projects completed under his leadership include the planning and construction of a Traffic Management Center, update of the Housing and Circulation Elements, completion of a Coast Highway Vision and Strategic Plan, as well as many quality infill projects along the coast and throughout inland neighborhoods.

He has also overseen studies that identified opportunities for procedural and policy improvement to the land development and construction processes.

Prior to this position, he served as the city planner for the City of San Clemente, where he managed the land development process and advance planning activities.

Buell has also worked in the private sector, representing both municipalities throughout California and developers alike.

Buell received a bachelor’s degree in urban geography from California State University-Fullerton and is a member of the American Planning Association.

“George brings a wealth of experience from communities that face issues similar to Santa Barbara," City Administrator Jim Armstrong said. "He understands the needs and land use discussions of a coastal community.”

— Nina Johnson is an administrative assistant for the City of Santa Barbara.

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