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Sonoma County hires new planning director


Sonoma County supervisors Tuesday hired as their new planning director a longtime Petaluman with experience in both public planning and private development.

Tennis “J.T.” Wick, a recent appointee to the Petaluma Planning Commission, worked a decade in various roles for Marin County’s planning department, including as its development chief, a job similar to an assistant director.

Tennis 'J.T.' Wick.

Tennis ‘J.T.’ Wick.

For the past 13 years, he has been a principal at Berg Holdings, a Sausalito land management company.

Wick, 53, said his new position will require him to resign his seat on the city planning commission.

He will start his new role with the county Nov. 12. The salary range for his position is between $137,700 and $167,400.

Wick said he sought the job because he missed public planning “and these opportunities don’t come along very often.”

The bonus, he suggested, was that the available position “happens to be in my home county, which is just fantastic.”

Wick replaces Pete Parkinson, who retired last month after more than a decade as the head of the county’s Permit and Resource Management Department.

Board Chairman David Rabbitt said in a statement that the county had conducted “an intensive and highly competitive recruitment” to find Parkinson’s replacement. He said board members and County Administrator Veronica Ferguson “are confident in Mr. Wick’s experience and vision for the future of the department.”

An avid distance runner, Wick serves as a board member of Friends of the Petaluma River and also sits on the Bank of Marin’s Petaluma Advisory Board. As a principal at Berg, he is a member of the Sonoma County Farm Bureau.

At Berg, his work included presenting to the county a proposal to add up to 18.5 million cubic yards of San Francisco Bay dredging to a 528-acre ranch near the mouth of the Petaluma River. The plan was withdrawn several months ago, he said Tuesday.

Looking ahead, Wick said the department’s tasks will including updating its development code, implementing riparian corridor protections and bringing forth the final review of the county’s coastal plan, a document that eventually requires state certification.

That is a lot to do with a staff that is “half the size it was before the recession began,” Wick said. “But they’re an enormously talented group of people and I am honored to be part of their team.”

Wick has been known most of his working life as J.T. But he recently agreed to his mother’s request that in in his professional capacity he use his middle name of Tennis, the same name his father and grandfather used in their careers.

“How do you say ‘no’ to Mom?” he asked.

You can reach Staff Writer Robert Digitale at 521-5285 or robert.digitale@pressdemocrat.com.

2 Responses to “Sonoma County hires new planning director”

  1. James Bennett says:

    The American Planning Association (APA) was hi-jacked in the late 90s.

    They are foot soldiers for the implementation of the Agenda.

    Training boot camps indoctrinating the anti-property rights ideology, their own little government within our government.

    Their bible; Growing Smart Legislative Guidebook; Model Statutes for Management of Change. On the desk or shelf of all planners in the US.
    This book, in and of itself could neuter small business and property rights.

    If he’s there, in Sonoma County, I’m sure he’s adherent.

    That’s their model (Soviet), empower the unelected.

    Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  2. Filled with Joy says:

    The real issue is not that he can’t say no to his mother, but that can he say no to the environmentalists who insist on insane development and very expensive development regulations?

    Thumb up 13 Thumb down 4

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