2023 Annual Report

President’s Message

As we turn the pages of the calendar and step into the promising yet uncertain terrain of 2024, it’s both an honor and a privilege to reflect on the milestones that we experienced as a Chapter in 2023. As Chapter President, I am immensely proud of the everyday resilience, dedication, and innovation displayed by our members; however, 2023 was undoubtably a remarkable year for APA California. 

In 2023, APA California marked its 75th Anniversary as an organization with a yearlong commemoration of milestones, exhibits, a State Senate proclamation, frequent articles in eNews, and regular social media posts. The pinnacle of the celebration was the 75th Anniversary Gala, held during the 2023 Annual Conference, which served as a grand culmination of the Chapter’s accomplishments. In addition, the Chapter launched the digital exhibition of our Chapter Archives housed at CSU Northridge. Our then-Section Co-Historians Steve Preston, FAICP and Larry Mintier, FAICP led an indelibly memorable and profound year of recognition for our organization and the evolution of the profession. As we look forward to the next 75 years, I am mindful of the progress we have made as a Chapter and the influence APA California has made on the planning profession.

The success of the APA California Annual Conference in Fresno was a highlight of 2023, attracting more than 1,500 attendees. The programs and events were well-regarded and highlighted the dynamic landscape of the Central Section and the transformative High Speed Rail project. 

Another milestone for the Chapter was the launch of the organization’s website, which provided members with an improved user experience, a wide range of easily accessible information, and a powerful means to communicate.

Moreover, APA California reaffirmed its commitment to promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion within our profession. We recognized that our organization, much like the communities that we serve, must strive for solutions and initiatives that are rooted in the principles of social justice and cultural competence to truly serve the needs of all members. By amplifying diverse voices, dismantling systemic barriers, and fostering collaboration across disciplines, we will continue to pursue meaningful strides toward building a more equitable and inclusive organization.

There are so many other achievements that you will find summarized in our Annual Report, and it is due to the dedication of our Chapter Board that we can highlight these accomplishments. As we embark on 2024, let us continue the momentum of progress earned in 2023. Let us continue to embrace innovation, collaboration, and inclusivity as guiding principles in our pursuit of excellence. 

Thank you for your unwavering commitment to the vision and mission of APA California. I am deeply grateful for the opportunity to serve as your President, and I look forward to the continued journey ahead.

Warm regards,
Andrea Ouse
President, APA California

Advocacy & Policy

Throughout 2023, APA California continued to be a voice for planners in Sacramento. We kicked off the year with an update to Plan California, the Chapter’s legislative platform, which is updated every other year at the start of each two-year legislative session in collaboration with the Chapter’s Legislative Review Team and the Board. The Senate and Assembly continued to focus on accelerating housing production, increasing enforcement and accountability, addressing homelessness, and the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) reform. Our Legislative Review Team helped develop the Chapter’s positions on major reforms including changes to ministerial streamlining for affordable housing; expanding streamlining for small-lot subdivisions, residential development on religious and institutional lands, and adaptive reuse projects; changes to ADU and density bonus law; CEQA exemptions and streamlining; and other planning-related legislation. 

APA California took the following actions:

  • Actively lobbied on numerous high-priority bills.
  • Issued 14 letters of support and three (3) letters of opposition (see full list on Chapter’s website here). 
  • Testified to the Legislature regarding APA California’s position on dozens of additional bills.
  • Engaged more than 60 Chapter members on the Legislative Review Team. 
  • Presented to more than 800 APA California members about legislative updates at the APA California conference and via webinars.
  • Released monthly updates in the Chapter eNews and via social media to keep members informed as the Legislative session progressed.
  • Updated all legislative information for the Advocacy pages on the newly designed Chapter website (https://www.apacalifornia.org/).

Finally, our Chapter leadership, represented by Andrea Ouse, AICP, Chapter President and Erik de Kok, AICP, Vice President for Policy and Legislation, attended a State Senate floor presentation in May in which APA California was formally recognized by the Legislature and commended on our Chapter’s 75th Anniversary.  

Pictured here are Andrea and Erik receiving a framed copy of a joint member’s resolution presentation, authored by Assemblymember Aguiar-Curry and Senator Caballero, honoring APA California for our important contributions to planning policy and the profession over the past 75 years. 

2023 Annual Conference

The APA California Central Section Conference Host Committee hosted the APA California 2023 Conference, “Planning at the Crossroads” from September 16-19, 2023 in Fresno, California. In addition to many relevant program areas that were highlighted, we also took the opportunity to celebrate the Chapter’s 75th Anniversary of its dedication to making great communities come to fruition.

With more than 1,500 attendees, the conference featured 90+ educational sessions and 13 mobile workshops. In addition, attendees delighted in the atmosphere of the Fresno Chaffee Zoo for the celebratory opening reception. Lastly, the conference profit exceeded the budget by more than 600%, equating to more than $250,000.

Financial Outlook

The Chapter’s overall operating revenue exceeded the budget by almost 150% at $56,595. This provides a positive outlook as we look to incur additional expenses in 2024.

Income areas included membership, conference revenue, web ads, and professional development.

Main expense areas included operations expenses such as management fees, board retreat, software, and merchant fees. The administrative and VP expenses included items such as membership management software, National Conference travel expenses, and lobbying services.

75th Anniversary 

January 1, 2023, marked the 75th Anniversary of APA California, offering up the largest and liveliest anniversary in our history. The Historians would like to thank the many committee members, sponsors, and collaborators who made this year’s anniversary memorable though multiple events:

  • Presentation of a joint resolution honoring APA California at the State Capitol.
  • A sold-out, 75th Anniversary Celebration Dinner attended by more than 160 people.
  • A 75th Anniversary commemorative magazine, featuring a first-ever chapter on the history of California planning education.
  • Monthly eNews and social media posts highlighting events and people from our history.
  • A special 75th Anniversary planning history exhibit featuring historic images of Central Valley towns from the Pop Laval collection.
  • New vertical banners highlighting accomplishments decade by decade, as well as our planning landmarks and pioneers.
  • Commemorative 75th Anniversary pins to reflect the special branding and logos.
  • The fourth annual Betty Croly Memorial Lecture, featuring popular author and journalist Josh Stephens.
  • New partnership projects with the California Planning Roundtable and the Planner Emeritus Network.
  • A digital exhibition launched in the fall at California State University, Northridge, featuring items from APA California’s collection.

2023 Awards


Comprehensive Plan (Large) – Merit
City of San Jose

Comprehensive Plan (Large) – Excellence
City of Los Angeles

Comprehensive Plan (Small) – Merit
City of South San Francisco

Comprehensive Plan (Small) – Excellence
City of Bishop


Resilience and Sustainability – Merit
Mariposa County

Resilience and Sustainability – Excellence
Los Angeles County


Economic Planning and Development – Excellence
City of Glendale


Transportation Planning – Merit
City of Lompoc

Transportation Planning – Excellence
City of Glendale


Best Practices – Merit

Best Practices – Excellence
City of Sacramento


Implementation (Large) – Excellence
Napa Sonoma


Grassroots – Merit
City of Los Angeles/Public Matters

Grassroots – Excellence
City of Santa Ana/Santa Ana Active Streets & Willard Neighborhood Association


Public Outreach – Merit
City of Fresno

Public Outreach – Excellence
City of San Diego


Urban Design – Merit
City of San Jose

Urban Design – Excellence
City of Glendale


Opportunity & Empowerment – Excellence
City of Alameda


Advancing Diversity – Merit
Environmental Science Associates

Advancing Diversity – Excellence
City of Long Beach


Academic Award – Merit

Academic Award – Excellence
UC Davis


Planning Agency Award – Excellence


Service Award – Distinguished Service
Larry Mintier

Service Award – Distinguished Service
Steve Preston

Section Award
Sacramento Valley Section

Section Award
Central Section

Membership Highlights

New and Improved Website:

In April 2023, APA California successfully unveiled its revamped website, marking a significant milestone in enhancing the user experience. The updated platform seamlessly integrates a new membership system, a dynamic news feed option, and an on-demand education library.

The redesigned website also facilitates effortless access to job postings and a user-friendly interface to ensure a hassle-free renewal process for job advertisers. This promotes efficiency and convenience for both employers and job seekers.

An additional highlight of the year was the continual expansion of our on-demand library, curated to encompass a comprehensive range of educational content and Certification Maintenance credits. This project further underscores our dedication to supporting professional development and we could not be more excited!

Beyond its functional enhancements, the new website positions APA California at the forefront of marketing trends. With a clear and concise web design, we provide visitors with an intuitive and engaging online experience, aligning ourselves with contemporary digital expectations. This forward-thinking approach reflects our commitment to staying ahead in the ever-evolving landscape of online communication.

In summary, the launch of the enhanced website exemplifies APA California’s dedication to fostering education, facilitating professional growth, and adapting to the dynamic needs of our members and the broader community. We look forward to the continued evolution of our online presence and the positive impact it will undoubtedly have on the APA California community.

Professional Development:

Professional development is an important value for APA California. As such, the following items were accomplished in 2023:

  • Enhanced and robust conference programming across all aspects of the profession.
  • Legislative Update #2 following the conference in which we had 176 attendees with an overall revenue of $3,525.
  • The Chapter website increased professional development online content with links to previously offered programs and postings of previous conference sessions.
  • Professional Development Coordinator Catherine Lin planned and moderated an online webinar, Reimagining Malls, with 73 registrants for $1,460 in revenue. The session was recorded and will be offered on the Chapter website.

Membership Engagement:

APA California implemented a new membership software in February 2023. This software allows for automated membership renewal letters and enables members to register for Chapter-hosted online events. While APA California saw a 19% decrease in National memberships, Chapter-only memberships rose 40%, finishing the year at 153 Chapter-only members. Services provided to members includes:

  • Member-only eNews twice per month.
  • Time sensitive eBlasts to inform members of important dates and details.
  • Exclusive discounts on all Chapter events, including the Annual Conference.
  • Opportunities to engage in legislative review on our Chapter Legislative Review Team.
  • Section membership benefits such as news content and event discounts.

Diversity & Equity

2023 was a year to rebuild and reconnect with APA members across the state. APA California’s Diversity and Equity initiatives continue to support and re-engage members beyond traditional planning and land use practitioners, backgrounds, and geographies. This year, we prioritized the importance of developing partnerships with allied organizations and focused recruitment and leadership development in underrepresented parts of the state.  

APA California, under the leadership of the Vice President of Diversity and Equity, continued to develop external Chapter initiatives and partnerships, expand the quality of Annual Conference activities, and evaluate internal practices to increase programs and resources to planners with diverse and intersectional backgrounds, educational backgrounds, and lived experiences. We continued to connect with both National APA and California Section diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) leaders to inform and provide resources for ongoing work in the DEI space.  

One of the initiatives taken on in 2023 was expanding the capacity of the Chapter Vice President and Section DEI leads to leverage each other’s strengths. In addition, cross-pollination of activities among the Chapter Board (Policy & Legislation, Marketing & Communication, and Professional Development) resulted in improved communication, coordination, and access to programs and resources.

California Planning Roundtable

Since 1981, the California Planning Roundtable (CPR) has advanced the planning practice and influenced policy through innovation and leadership to create healthy, prosperous, and equitable communities. CPR is not only a resource for policy exploration, which includes focusing on emerging policy issues with cutting edge solutions, but it is also instrumental in the innovation and development of enhancing the sustainability, equity, and livability of California communities.

 In 2023, CPR devoted its time to a focused set of initiatives including:

  • CPR/APA California Leadership Academy: In partnership with the Chapter, CPR graduated its third cohort of this six-month virtual program designed to uplift the next generation of planning leaders. In the past three years, hundreds of planners from across the state have participated in the program.
  • APA California Conference: CPR organized several sessions for the Annual Conference, which included the 100-year history of the California Chapter and supporting infill infrastructure.
  • Listening Sessions: In partnership with the Chapter, CPR members organized listening sessions with local sections across the state. Discussions focused on the challenges of addressing the affordable housing crisis and strategies for implementing policies to address the crisis. 
  • CPR Quarterly Programs: CPR convened quarterly meetings in West Sacramento, Julian and Santa Ysabel in San Diego County, Long Beach, and Livermore. These meetings included panels and walking tours on the topics of infill infrastructure; infrastructure finance post-redevelopment; mega-regional planning; water planning; Tribal considerations in land use planning; engaging young community planners and planning students; and planning at the intersection of environment, economy, and equity.