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Tuesday, February 19 , 2019, 1:18 am | Fair 48º


Santa Maria Hires New Community Development Director

Chuen Ng will start work Jan. 9.
Chuen Ng will start work Jan. 9.  (Contributed photo)

A Lancaster planning manager has been named as Santa Maria’s new director of community development.

Chuen Ng (pronounced Chun Ing) will replace Larry Appel as the leader of the department. Appel retired this month after seven years in the job, and a previous stint for Santa Barbara County.

Ng, planning section manager for the city of Lancaster, will start his new job Jan. 9.

“I’m very pleased that the city was able to find someone with Chuen’s skill set through this recruitment process,” City Manager Rick Haydon said. “He’s very cognizant of the current trends in the planning and development arena, and in talking to some of his colleagues, he also appears to bring a very practical and objective approach to problem-solving. 

“I think he’ll be a great complement to our department head team, and we look forward to Chuen coming on board after the first of the new year.”

Ng has more than a dozen years of experience in municipal planning, having worked for both the cities of Lancaster and Hanford.

He holds a bachelor’s degree in public policy from Occidental College, and a Master of Arts degree in city and regional planning from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo.

Ng is also familiar with Santa Maria, since he lived in the city while obtaining his master’s degree from Cal Poly. 

“I'm looking forward to serving the city of Santa Maria and helping facilitate the development of quality projects within the community as well as continue the beautification efforts that the City Council have been supporting and city staff have been implementing,” Ng said.

“I look forward to establishing meaningful relationships with community stakeholders, especially those from the development community and the building industry, and will strive to continue to keep customer service a high priority in the Community Development Department,” he added. “I'm eager to join a city with a leadership team that places a high priority on the delivery of municipal services.”

Ng said he and wife are looking forward to relocating to Santa Maria with their two young boys.

The Community Development Department is responsible for the Planning and Building Divisions as well as the Special Projects Division. The department has 25 full-time employees and an overall operating budget of approximately $5 million.

The change in leadership comes as Santa Maria implements its revised Downtown Specific Plan and sees construction underway on the massive Enos Ranchos development near Highway 101.

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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