The special election to replace Bob Filner is in its final stretch – but the City Council on Monday might quietly usher in a much bigger shakeup to city government as a whole.
The item facing the Council would re-establish planning as a standalone department, completing what’s been a foregone conclusion since Filner hired big deal-urban planner Bill Fulton this summer while also remaking the city’s overall bureaucratic structure.
The planning department was consolidated into development services in early 2011, in a cost-cutting move by former Mayor Jerry Sanders that saved about $1 million annually.
In a broad sense, the city’s planning department is in charge of drawing up long-range blueprints for where and in what way the city is supposed to grow: weighing how each community is supposed to look and feel, and determining what public investments they lack. Development services handles the day-to-day transactions between developers and the city, approving permits and reviewing plans to make sure they’re consistent with those long-term visions.