Despite recent failures, city officials feel they are starting to turn things around

Andra Belknap, Ojai Valley News reporter
More than 18 months after management consultant group Citygate Associates evaluated the performance of the city's Community Development Department (CDD) and made 65 recommendations for the department's improvement, the CDD has been implicated in two recent city snafus.
The CDD failed to notify the Ojai Unified School District (OUSD) that the Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) would consider a recommendation of landmark status for OUSD's Chaparral property during HPC’s June 8 meeting, resulting in threats of legal action from multiple School Board members.
CDD also was responsible for the provision of incorrect design guidelines for a downtown building to both the city’s Planning Commission and the project’s designer. “Mistakes occur, as we all know,” said Ojai City Manager Steve McClary. “The turnover in personnel is really the reason for both of those occurrences. Getting permanent staff on board is really the fix for that.”
Since the $25,000 Citygate report was issued, former CDD director Kathleen Wold has separated from the city and Matthew Winegar has been named interim CDD director. The city is currently recruiting for a permanent CDD director and a full-time associate planner.
See also:Threats fly in school board/city debate Ojai Valley News, July 27, 2017
See also: City gives applicant, commission wrong design guidelines for downtown building Ojai Valley News, Aug. 10, 2017
See also: “We suck! Consultant report documents massive faults in city operations” Ojai Valley News, Jan. 22, 2016

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