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County picks new planning director

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After a year-long search, San Luis Obispo County officials selected Jason Giffen of San Diego to be the new director of SLO County Planning and Building.

Though Giffen had yet to officially accept the position as of press time due to pending contract negotiations, it seems likely he’ll begin work in mid-September.

“I’m very excited to come up to the Central Coast and work with the board [of supervisors], the [county administrative officer], and the community,” Giffen told New Times.

If he accepts the position, Giffen will replace Vic Holanda, who retired in June 2009. Kami Griffin has acted as the interim director.

Giffen is currently the land use chief in the San Diego County Department of Planning and Land Use, where he’s worked for the past 11 years. He holds a master’s degree in international environmental planning and land use, according to a news release.

Giffen was selected from the top four candidates—which included Griffin, county planner Chuck Stevenson, and Bay Area planner Greg Fuz—who were selected after interviews with county supervisors and department heads. Initially, 81 candidates applied for the job.

Though Giffen declined to talk about his philosophies as a planner before he officially takes the position, he prided himself on helping to establish strong environmental and planning procedures in San Diego County.

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