Project Planning ServicesCommunity Development Consulting in the Public Interest

We provide “added value” service in all community development functions. The experienced professionals who staff our firm have extensive backgrounds in public and private sector service. The firm’s clients include more than 50 municipal planning and community development departments in Los Angeles, Orange, Ventura, San Bernardino Riverside and San Diego counties. Our private sector clients benefit from our intimate knowledge of local planning and zoning processes and our working relationships in the industry.

Public Sector Special Projects

Our public agency services include all functions of a municipal planning department.  We also manage special or unique projects that meet our public agency clients’ need to focus on and resolve a one-time issue. 

Municipal Project Management

Uniquely organized and staffed for this purpose, Civic Solutions provides community development project management services efficiently and effectively. Our philosophy is to perform the work to always benefit our clients. Working closely with staff, Planning Commissioners and clients, while listening respectfully to neighbors and citizen groups, we correlate feedback to generate the optimum solutions for all parties. We fit seamlessly into the client’s team and work to ensure the good reputation of our client.

Organizational Assessments

Our senior consultants have extensive experience in managing city planning and community development departments. Cities seeking to improve business-friendly relations with applicants or streamline internal processes use our team of former department heads to work with the public and staff.

Citizen Participation Programs

On occasion, a development plan has the potential to generate public controversy (usually with neighboring residents) during the public hearing process. We do not view the hearings to be the most effective means of resolving such controversies. Civic Solutions will meet separately and work effectively with concerned citizens prior to the hearings to establish workable solutions for all parties. This program has been remarkably successful in achieving public agency approvals, accelerating the schedule, and resulting in an outstanding project for the applicant.

Dispute Resolution & Mediation

Civic Solutions has been particularly successful in resolving disputes and assisting with negotiations to achieve mutually agreeable results for our clients. Typical issues range from development related disputes between public agencies to resolving grading and drainage problems between neighboring properties. We approach such assignments by listening to all parties’ viewpoints as we pursue the interests of our client. All of our consulting services include the vital component of conflict resolution and litigation avoidance.

Private Sector Projects

Our approach to private sector clients is to work closely with city or county staff, neighbors and other stakeholders and our client to find win-win solutions. Our successes are derived by creative problem solving using our expertise in planning and zoning and by our ability to earn the trust of neighbors and city officials.

Site Approval Feasibility Analysis

During site selection and early project planning, we work closely with the client’s real estate agents and design professionals to determine the feasibility of zoning and entitlement approval for the project. We supplement input from the city staff, adding our own research and expertise to determine what is feasible. Our analysis is based on research and understanding of the local codes, our knowledge of California requirements for environmental and zoning approval processes and our extensive experience in community development. We present the options available along with the probable time and budget required for each.

Zoning Entitlement

Civic Solutions has successfully completed numerous projects in which the key components were project feasibility planning, zoning entitlement, facilitation and consensus building. The following is a partial listing of such projects:

Fluidmaster Corporation San Juan Capistrano, California.  Land planning, project entitlement, economic incentives program for 183,000-square foot world headquarters and manufacturing plant located on 13 acres in San Juan Capistrano. The project was located adjacent to an upscale, gated residential project and involved conducting community meetings to gain a consensus for neighborhood support and negotiations with City officials to resolve infrastructure and land use issues.

Stroscher G3 LLC San Juan Capistrano, California. Land planning, project entitlement, economic incentives program for an 80,000-square-foot 138-room hotel and 25,000-square-foot specialty retail and event center located on 3 acres adjacent to the Mission in San Juan Capistrano. The controversial element of this project is the four story height of the proposed hotel and design sensitivity in a historic preservation area.

Plaza Banderas view simulation by Focus 360 for Stroscher G3 LLC

First Evangelical Free Church Of Fullerton. Land Use Planning, Zoning Entitlement, and Citizen Participation program for Master Plan update for an existing 4,000 member church located at Brea Boulevard and Rolling Hills Drive in the city of Fullerton. Upon completion of the preliminary master plan update proposing additional development and a 400 space parking garage adjacent to a residential neighborhood, Civic Solutions conducted meetings with residential neighbors to seek input and address issues before presenting the plan to the City.

Mission Viejo Christian School Mission Viejo, California. Proposal to construct a K-9 private school on church property adjacent to a residential neighborhood. Civic Solutions conducted meetings with residential neighbors to seek input and address issues, negotiated modifications with the client, city and neighbors, resulting in project approval and improved relations with the adjacent neighborhood.

Grace Community Church Of Seal Beach Seal Beach, California. Land Use Planning, Zoning Entitlement, and Citizen Participation services. Civic Solutions provided consulting services to facilitate community and City input in order to determine feasibility of church expansion plans.

Capistrano Valley Christian School San Juan Capistrano, California. Master Plan design, project entitlement, and guide relations between the applicant, architect, surrounding neighborhood, and City staff. The school proposed the Master Plan to upgrade and modernize its campus and to facilitate better traffic flow within the campus and surrounding streets. Neighborhood meetings were conducted and consensus was reached through various outreach methods.

Facilitation Services

Non-profits and public agencies can rely on Civic Solutions to bring people and organizations together and find common ground to resolve issues that otherwise could lead to an expensive and time consuming legal process.  The following list provides a sampling of our work in this area.

City Of Costa Mesa Westside Facilitation Services Costa Mesa, California. Facilitation Services for the Westside Costa Mesa Redevelopment Action Committee. Civic Solutions conducted numerous workshops to develop a general consensus in a neighborhood originally divided on the future of their neighborhood.

City Of Burbank Media District Specific Plan Public Input Burbank, California. Land use element update and public participation facilitation. Provided technical strategy for updating the City’s land use element, facilitation and planning for all public participation associated with the update.

Irvine Planning Area 27 (Turtle Ridge) Irvine, California. The project site is located in the immediate vicinity of both the Turtle Rock community and the University of California at Irvine, adjacent to the Route 73 Tollway. The applicant (The Irvine Company) proposed 2,500 dwelling units of hillside residential on approximately 520 acres at a density of 4.5 units per acre, and 41 acres of institutional uses. During the zoning entitlement process, the Turtle Rock residents were assertive in expressing their concerns regarding the visual and traffic impacts of the project. The consultant team worked with the City to establish a unique mechanism for on-going citizen input that led to a satisfactory outcome for all parties.  (more)

Laguna Heights Community Association Laguna Niguel, California. Successfully provided mediation services to resolve a dispute with Moulton Niguel Water District, enabling the parties to reach consensus without resorting to litigation.

Dove Canyon Community Association Rancho Santa Margarita, California. Successfully provided mediation services to resolve a dispute with Santa Margarita Water District, enabling the parties to reach consensus without resorting to litigation.