Santa Barbara Appoints New Community Development Director
Source: City of Santa Barbara
The City Council has approved the City Administrator’s appointment of Elias Isaacson as Community Development Director, following a nationwide recruitment process. He is an architect and currently serves as the Planning and Land Use Director for the City of Santa Fe. As Community Development Director, he will oversee planning and development services, building and safety, and housing and human services. The Community Development Department is comprised of 77 employees with a budget totaling $16 million.
Mr. Isaacson joined the City of Santa Fe in 2018, and has led the Planning and Land Use Department since 2019 where he managed 65 employees and implemented the City’s land use, development, and growth management policies. Under his leadership, he streamlined internal procedures and adopted innovative practices and policies despite budget constraints. With the pandemic, they shifted core planning and permitting functions to a completely digital “e-government” model. He also served as Planning and Land Use Director and Interim City Manager for the City of Espanola where he managed the drafting and implementation of a new Comprehensive Plan and Land Use Code revision. Prior to his municipal service, he started a real estate development consulting firm, performing work in the US and abroad. He also has experience working with an architecture firm preparing design and construction documents for the restoration of historic residential properties.
He received a Bachelor’s degree in Geography from the University of Wisconsin, a Master’s degree in Urban Design and Development from University of Pennsylvania, and a Master’s degree in Architecture from the University of New Mexico. He is a member of the American Planning Association and the American Institute of Architects (AIA).
Elias Isaacson said, “I am very excited to join the great team at the City of Santa Barbara, and I look forward to the challenges that lie ahead.”
According to City Administrator Paul Casey, “Elias will bring the experience and design background that are needed to move the department forward during this pivotal time. I’m confident that he will be a great addition to our leadership team.”