The Planning and Building Division includes 46 full-time employees and is managed by the Community Development Director. The Director has an Executive Secretary who also serves as the Planning Commission Secretary. The Division currently includes three programs that incorporate the following functions: 1) Development Review Services, which includes Current Planning, Building, Public Counter, Code Compliance and Advisory Staff from Public Works, Environmental Health, and Fire Protection; 2) Long-Range Planning Services, which includes Long Range Planning studies, and support for the City/County Association of Governments (C/CAG) and the Airport Community Roundtable; and 3) Administration and Support Services, which includes overall management of the Division including the Director and Executive Secretary, budget preparation and administration; Payroll and Personnel for the Division, Word Processing, Graphics, Information Technology, Reception, and support for Boards and Committees.


The Director and Executive Secretary account for 4% of the Division staff (2 of 46 employees) and the rest of the Administration and Support Services Program accounts for 24% of the Division staff (11 of 46 employees). The Development Review Services Program accounts for 61% of the Division staff (28 of 46 employees). The Long-Range Planning Services Program accounts for 11% of the Division staff (5 of 46 employees)


Development Services:


The Development Review Services Program includes 28 full-time employees of the Planning and Building Division and four advisory staff from other departments. The Program is managed by the Development Review Services Manager and is fully funded through permit fees. The section is responsible for work that is directly related to planning entitlements, building permit review and inspection and zoning code compliance. Of the 28 Development Review Services employees, ten are part of the Current Planning Section and are responsible for reviewing and processing 450 active planning entitlement applications a year and staffing the public counter for planning related matters. Fifteen employees are part of the Building Inspection Section supervised by the Building Official. Two of these 15 employees review and process approximately 2,400 building permit applications a year, seven are Building Inspectors that inspect the work approved in the 2,400 building permits, three staff the public counter for building related issues, one is a geotechnical expert and one is an Office Specialist. Two of the 28 employees in the Program are Code Compliance Officers who handle a total of 350 code enforcement cases. The four advisory staff from other departments review and comment on specific aspects of many, but not all, planning entitlements and building permit applications.


Planning Services:


The Long Range Planning Services Program includes five employees and is managed by the Long Range Services Planning Manager. It has a work program of 28 long-range planning studies and ongoing projects.

The Program is reimbursed by regional agencies for work done for those agencies. The City/County Association of Governments (C/CAG) and the Airport Community Round Table reimburse the County for portions of two fulltime positions. These positions are assigned work specifically related to C/CAG’s regional focus and objectives, including review of projects within the boundaries of the 20 local cities for compliance with C/CAG’s Countywide Transportation Plan (CTP), and participation in the Airport Community Round Table which represents 18 of the 20 local cities, the County and C/CAG regarding airport-related issues. In addition, the Program has one unclassified position that is fully funded by C/CAG. This position is not assigned work related to the rest of the Planning and Building Division and charges the Division for any services rendered to it.


The Program includes two Long Range Planners who are funded by the County’s General Fund and are responsible for planning studies and updates related to land use policies and regulations in unincorporated San Mateo County such as the Local Coastal Plan Update, potential rezoning applications for neighborhoods like Burlingame Hills and Emerald Lake Hills and other General Plan or Zoning Ordinance updates.


Typically, one third to one half of the Manager’s time is available for participation in and management of projects specific to the unincorporated County area and one half to two-thirds of his time is available to participate in and manage work related to regional agencies.


Administration and Support Services:


The Administration and Support Services Program is managed by the Administrative Services Manager and includes eleven employees, eight of which report to the Administrative Services Manager and three of which report to the Long-Range Planning Services Manager. Three of the eleven employees provide word processing and administrative support services for the entire Planning and Building Division with duties that include final formatting and proofreading for all staff reports and correspondence that the Division issues and general administrative support for the Current Planning Section. One staff member of the seven in the section is an Information Technology Technician who provides computer maintenance and technology upgrades for the entire Division. One employee is a Fiscal Office Specialist who is responsible for processing all financial requests and expenditures. One employee is the Division Receptionist at the public counter and one employee is an Office Specialist that specifically provides administrative support for the Zoning Hearing Officer and the Design Review Officer.


The Administration and Support Services Program includes three Delineators who provide graphics services to the entire Planning and Building Division. These three employees report to the Manager of Long Range Planning Services. The services provided include producing maps, brochures and handouts, calculating slope densities for planning analyses, and development of the Geographic Information System (GIS) for the Division. The Graphics Section also sells some of its services to other local jurisdictions on a limited basis at an hourly rate.


Over the last ten years, the number of positions within the overall Division and within each of the Programs has declined as funding sources have declined or changed. A corresponding reduction in the number of projects per employee or degree of complexity of those projects has not occurred.


The organization of the Division should be evaluated and recommendations made, including additional staff, to improve its ability to meet the demands placed upon it.