City Hires Planning Manager From Local Development Firm

The City of Malibu announced in July its hiring of Chris Deleau as Planning Manager, who comes to the city from development consulting firm Schmitz and Associates, Inc.

Schmitz and Associates is a well-known firm in Malibu, having been involved in corporate and residential development projects across the city, including the high profile and controversial La Paz office park. 

City Manager Jim Thorsen expressed confidence that Deleau would not experience a conflict of interest as Planning Manager in a department which he has dealt with directly for many years as a planner at Schmitz and Associates.

“We don’t believe that there’s a conflict of interest that would arise,” Thorsen told The

Malibu

Times.

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“If, for whatever reason, something did come up and it was felt there was a conflict of interest, we would address the issue,” Thorsen went on to say, “but at this point, I don’t believe there would be a conflict of interest. He will be expected to uphold all the laws of the city and all our policies.”

Deleau went through an extensive application and interview process, Thorsen explained, that included an interview before a panel of planning directors from outside cities as well as officials from the City of Malibu.

Though conflicts of interest are not anticipated, Thorsen did state that Deleau has had a lot of contact with the City of Malibu’s Planning Department over the years. 

“I’m sure he’s had some effort on probably every [project] that goes through Schmitz,” Thorsen said, later adding, “Everybody [in the Malibu Planning Department] kind of has met him at one point or another.”

“He has great knowledge of our existing codes, he’s very familiar with the area,” Thorsen said.

A release provided by the City of Malibu shares some of Deleau’s accolades, including a bachelor’s degree from University of California, Santa Cruz and a Juris Doctorate from the Thomas Jefferson School of Law. Deleau is a licensed attorney and a member of the American Planning Association and the American Institute of Certified Planners.

“I am extremely pleased to have a planner who not only has Chris Deleau’s experience in Malibu’s highly complicated regulatory environment, but also has deep roots in Malibu and has a love for the community he will be serving,” Mayor John Sibert said in the statement.

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