Palo Alto Planning Director Resigns

By Kevin Kelly | Bay Area News Group April 19, 2018 at 7:09 pm; Original article here.

Hillary Gitelman, planning and community environment director for the city of Palo Alto, is resigning from her post. Her last day is May 11. (City of Palo Alto). Jonathan Lait will serve as interim director starting May 14, when Hillary Gitelman leaves for private sector job.

Hillary Gitelman, who became Palo Alto’s planning and community environment director in late 2013, has accepted a new position with San Francisco-based Environmental Science Associates, according to a news release. Her last day with Palo Alto is May 11, and Assistant Director Jonathan Lait will step in as interim planning director.

Gitelman’s accomplishments include overseeing an update of the city’s comprehensive plan through 2030 and working with the City Council to establish an annual cap on office construction, new rules for accessory dwelling units and new housing impact fees.

“In Palo Alto, the Planning Department is at the center of many complex and demanding initiatives, and Hillary and her team of dedicated employees have shown great resilience and adaptation to meet the community’s high expectations,” City Manager James Keene said in the news release.

City publicist Claudia Keith said Gitelman’s departure is not expected to delay ongoing planning projects, such as the council’s housing work plan.

Gitelman recently drew the ire of the United Neighbors citizens group after she upheld an advisory board’s decision to allow Verizon to install 11 small-cell antennas atop utility poles in four residential neighborhoods.