Two new faces are coming to the Santa Barbara Planning Commission.

The commission is one of the most influential city advisory panels on the issues of housing, commercial development, traffic and parking.

Longtime commissioners Addison Thompson and John Campanella stepped down because of term limits.

The City Council voted on Tuesday to appoint Gabe Escobedo and Roxana Bonderson to serve on the panel. Escobedo is an intramural coordinator for UCSB and Bonderson is a planner for Santa Barbara County.  

Escobedo said during his interview for the position in front of the council that he wants to advocate for workforce and affordable housing.

“We need to be intentional about development and find creative solutions that fit our community,” Escobedo said. 

He said former commissioner Campanella mentored him over the past several months, adding that he spent a lot of time researching the city and going to meetings and came to a startling conclusion.

“I couldn’t help but recognize that those rooms were often vacant of young professionals and people of color,” Escobedo said. “I want to help bring that perspective into the conversation.”

Bonderson said she is “exceptionally skilled at people and project management.”

“Everything that I do is ultimately about improving our community and inspiring participation in public service,” Bonderson said at her interview 

She described herself as “fair, ethical and unbiased.”

It is an exciting time for Santa Barbara, she added. 

“I think change is inevitable,” Bonderson said. “Every thriving city changes with the temperature of the times. We all have to look at the situation of the moment and deal with it.”

More change is coming to the planning commission next year, since Commissioner Mike Jordan was elected to the Santa Barbara City Council.

The council will conduct a special recruitment for that open position in 2020. 

Noozhawk staff writer Joshua Molina can be reached at Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

Joshua Molina

Joshua Molina, Noozhawk Staff Writer

Noozhawk staff writer Joshua Molina can be reached at