San Francisco Mayor London Breed Announces Rich Hillis As New Planning Director

USS Tulsa (LCS 16) Commissions in San Francisco - Photographer: Naval Surface Warriors
190216-N-BT947-0235 SAN FRANCISCO (Feb. 16, 2019) San Francisco Mayor London Breed gives a welcoming speech during the commissioning ceremony of littoral combat ship USS Tulsa (LCS 16). LCS 16 is the fifteenth littoral combat ship to enter the fleet and the eighth of the Independence variant. It is the second Navy combat ship named after Tulsa, the second largest city in Oklahoma. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Jacob I. Allison)

Hillis will bring decades of experience and a focus on streamlining housing approvals to the San Francisco Planning Department Claims Breed

February 12,2020, San Francisco, CA — Mayor London N. Breed today announced Rich Hillis has been appointed as Director of the San Francisco Planning Department. Hillis is the Executive Director of the Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture and served on the Planning Commission from 2012 to 2019. Hillis will begin as Planning Director on March 9, 2020.

As Planning Director, Hillis will focus on addressing the housing shortage in San Francisco by working to streamline the Department’s process for entitling new housing and identifying opportunities to create new and more equitable housing opportunities in areas of San Francisco that have not seen significant new housing in decades. He is committed to creating new affordable housing and growing the City’s housing stock without displacing existing tenants or demolishing rent controlled housing.

In addition to focusing on housing, Hillis recognizes that sustaining and building complete communities requires the Department to plan for a more expansive and accessible transportation system, rethink commercial corridors in a changing retail environment, foster the preservation of historic places, and respond to climate change.

As Executive Director of the non-profit Fort Mason Center, Hillis has led the reinvigoration of this San Francisco cultural institution, investing over $60 million into the historic campus and providing a stable and vibrant home to dozens of arts organizations and events. Before joining the Fort Mason Center, Hillis served as Deputy Director of the Office of Economic and Workforce Development, where he led several development projects, including the redevelopment of Treasure Island and Yerba Buena Island, and the Octavia Boulevard corridor.

Hillis has an MA in Public Policy from the University of Chicago and a BS from the University at Albany.

In September 2019, Planning Director John Rahaim announced his retirement from the Planning Department after leading the Department for over a decade. As required by the City Charter, the Planning Commission reviewed applications from people interested in the Planning Director position, and recommended five qualified candidates to the Mayor. Following interviews with each candidate, Mayor Breed selected Hillis to lead the Department.

The San Francisco Planning Department is responsible for guiding growth and development of San Francisco. The Planning Department works with other City agencies and the community to help balance the needs of residents, businesses, and civic leaders to protect the environment and historical resources, create inspiring and livable urban spaces, cultivate neighborhood resilience, and enforce good land use practices.

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