City Councilman Bob Kellar said Friday he will nominate Charles Heffernan, a former housing developer and current Palmdale city official, to fill the Santa Clarita Planning Commission vacancy left by Bill Kennedy, who moved to Colorado late last year.
A Valencia resident since the city’s birth year of 1987 and current president of the Northpark Homeowners Association, Heffernan is the city engineer and assistant public works director for the city of Palmdale.
From 2005 to 2009 he was vice president of land entitlement for KB Home, and for five years before that, he was vice president of land development for The Newhall Land and Farming Co., which developed the community of Valencia.
Heffernan graduated in 1981 from the University of Wisconsin at Madison and compiled a resume that also includes the Southland housing development companies Paragon and Larwin.
Heffernan was one of only five individuals to apply for the commission vacancy. The others were John Dortch, Edward F. Hill, Robert E. Thompson Jr. and Brian Rotim, who was deemed ineligible because he lives outside city limits.
Kellar distanced himself from the selection process from the outset by empaneling a group of local business and education leaders to review the applications and make a recommendation.
Kellar said he doesn’t personally know Heffernan.
Kellar’s ad-hoc panel consisted of Elizabeth Hopp of the Bank of Santa Clarita; Pete Vargas, an instructor at The Master’s College; Denise Henderson, a retired Southern California Edison representative; Steve Lindberg, a Hart High School teacher; and Jeff Hogan, a senior city planner.
Kellar said the panel found Heffernan to be the most qualified for the job, and Kellar will submit his name to the full City Council, which has the final say.
While it’s technically just ceremonial, each council member has a representative on each commission (Planning, Parks and Arts), and the current open seat is considered Kellar’s.
In his application for the planning commission vacancy, Heffernan said he and his wife and their three children “have watched as our city thrived as a result of local control of planning and governance. My wife Wendy and I attended many of the early meetings on cityhood, and along with the more recent annexation of my neighborhood of Northpark, we are very happy residents.”
“Moving forward,” he said, “planning issues facing the city will continue to be more complex and far-reaching. Regional matters such as sustainability and housing needs assessments are ever increasingly a local responsibility and will make local decisions more complicated.”
Heffernan submitted letters of recommendation from attorney and former SCV Chamber of Commerce chairman John Shaffery; Stay Green CEO and current SCVChamber chairman Chris Angelo; and Dean Lehman, assistant deputy director of Los Angeles County’s Department of Public Works, who said he has known Heffernan since 1982 and considers him “beyond reproach ethically.”
If appointed, Heffernan would serve out the remainder of Kennedy’s four-year term, which expires in just five months on July 31.