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Angels Camp Hires City Planning Director

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After years of contracting with consultants for planning services, Angels Camp officials have hired their first full-time planning director.

Kaye Simonson, a planner with San Francisco, begins work Dec. 1, and will oversee day-to-day operations such as issuing permits and ushering projects through the planning process from application to review by the Planning Commission and City Council.

Angels Camp presently uses Amy Augustine Land Use Planning of Sonora.

Augustine not only handles daily operations, but also coordinates major projects, such as the current update of the city´s General Plan. But having a planning director in Sonora, or anywhere out of town, poses some problems, City Administrator Tim Shearer said.

There´s no daily coordination of projects as they make their way past the building and fire departments and city engineer for review, Shearer said. A staff planning director also will have more direct contact with applicants, he added.

Simonson, 39, will receive a base salary of $50,000. That actually represents a cost-savings rather than having a consultant perform the duties on an hourly basis, Shearer said.

“The work volume was so great, it exceeded what we would pay on a monthly basis for a full-time person,” Shearer said.

Simonson lives in Oakland and works in the neighborhood planning division and as a historic preservation specialist for San Francisco. Prior to that she worked in Telluride, Colo., and worked and lived in a number of small communities. “I was looking to move back to a small town,” Simonson said.

Simonson has degrees in architecture, historic preservation and political science with an emphasis in public administration. She is single and enjoys hiking and photography.

Augustine will continue to oversee the update of Angels Camp´s General Plan, Shearer said, and would be brought in on an as-needed basis if some type of major project, such as another Greenhorn Creek, was in the works.

Calaveras Enterprise story by Craig Koscho. For more Calaveras news, click: