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110 S. Pine Street, No. 101
Santa Maria, CA 93458

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The Community Development Department is responsible for the planning and building divisions functions, and the functions of the Special Projects division. Staff reviews all residential, commercial and industrial projects in the City. The Planning Division writes and updates the City's General Plan and Specific Plans including the Downtown Specific Plan. Staff reviews all projects for zoning compliance, processes land division applications, and processes all environmental assessments and reports. The Building Division regulates building and associated construction activities to protect public health, safety and welfare pursuant to uniform construction codes governing land use and code enforcement. The staff's activities include building plan review and inspection during construction. The Special Projects division includes management and implementation of the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program, the HOME Investment Partnerships Program, and serves as the lead agency in the development of plans summarizing needs and actions to revitalize the community and its neighborhoods. 

Office hours

The Community Development Department office is staffed Monday through Thursday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., with counter hours of 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. The office is closed on Fridays.

Additionally, over-the-counter permits will be processed and ready the following day.


Community Development Links:


Chuen Wu

Director of Community Development
City Phone: (805) 925-0951 ext. 2240
City Fax: (805) 928-7565

110 S. Pine Street, No. 101
Santa Maria, CA 93458




  • Master of City and Regional Planning, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, San Luis Obispo
  • Bachelor of Arts in Public Policy, Occidental College, Los Angeles
  • Director of Community Development, City of Santa Maria
  • Planning Section Manager/Principal Planner, City of Lancaster
  • Associate Planner, City of Lancaster
  • Assistant Planner, City of Lancaster
  • Assistant Planner, City of Hanford
  • High School Science Teacher, Cleveland High School, Reseda


  • Member, American Planning Association
  • Member, Strong Towns Organization

Description Of Responsibilities:

The Community Development Department Director is responsible for Current and Advance Planning, maintenance of the General Plan, Specific Plans, and Secretary to the Planning Commission. The Community Development Director is responsible for the Building Division which processes and checks all plans for compliance with the building codes, processes all building permits and inspects all buildings. The Community Development Director is also the "Environmental Officer," "Noise Control Officer," "Secretary to the Planning Commission," and "Zoning Administrator."

Mission Statement

To plan for the orderly growth of the City, consistent with the goals and objectives of the community's General Plan, to process projects quickly and efficiently consistent with the public's interest and safety in mind, and to provide departmental services in a courteous and responsible manner.                   

2022-23 Goals and Objectives                           

  1. Continue the multi-year process of a comprehensive update to the City’s General Plan, with completion of the Alternatives phase, and City Council adoption of a Preferred Alternative for target year 2045. Begin the remaining work phases of drafting the environmental impact report, and the General Plan goals, objectives, and policies. Aim for final adoption of the General Plan update in FY 2023-24.


  2. Prepare a draft of the City’s General Plan Housing Element for review by California State Housing and Community Development (HCD). The draft Housing Element will include a plan for meeting the City’s Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA), and goals and policies addressing housing issues and concerns in Santa Maria. Aim for final adoption of the General Plan Housing Element in 2023-24.


  3. Implement the Downtown Specific Plan, by working with property owners and developers to encourage construction of new housing, retail and employment uses, as well as amenities that create gathering spaces and a vibrant downtown environment. Utilize both public and private investments to stimulate development, in particular, on City-owned parcels within Downtown, and in compliance with the State’s Surplus Lands Act.


  4. Facilitate the continued planning and development of the Area 9 Specific Plan and work with property owners and developers to provide infrastructure to support future uses that would result in new employment opportunities. If residential uses are proposed in Area 9, ensure land use compatibility between differing uses and adequate public services and amenities for future residents.


  5. Engage in seeking and potentially securing grants and other outside funding to address homelessness related items. This may be done independently or collaboratively with other agencies and municipalities.


  6. Complete the transition of the Code Enforcement division from the City Attorney’s Office to Community Development. Implement a workspace plan for Code Enforcement officers and technicians that ensures efficiency, effectiveness, and enhanced coordination with other Community Development divisions. Provide managerial and administrative support for the Code Enforcement team and maintain a strong working relationship with the City Attorney’s Office.


  7. Start the process of creating an Animal Services program, to include animal service field officers, reporting to the Community Development Department. Issue a Request for Proposals for animal shelter services, that would operate in partnership with the City of Santa Maria.


  8. Implement the update to the City’s permitting software, Trak-It, to the upgraded Community Development software, to improve efficiency in planning entitlement review, permit processing, construction plan routing, review, inspections, and Code Enforcement tracking and reporting. Create an online portal to allow applicants to submit permit applications, schedule inspections, and check plan review status online.


  9. Complete development, adoption, and implementation of Code Enforcement Officer Safety Standards required by Senate Bill 296, a recently passed law that recognizes the danger and safety risks for code enforcement officers. These standards will formalize the City’s existing safety protocols, incorporate best practices, and address caseload and other work hazards to ensure that the City’s field officers are safe, focused, and well-equipped to perform duties. Enhance Code Enforcement Officer training by obtaining certifications that promote public health and officer safety, meeting all State mandates.


  10. Continue proactive Code Enforcement efforts to reduce blight, graffiti, illegal dumping, and secondary effects from homeless encampments in the residential and business community. Engage with community residents through quarterly, bilingual “Walk and Talk” programs.