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City welcomes new planning commissioner

Posted: March 9, 2012 12:28 p.m.
Updated: March 9, 2012 12:28 p.m.

The Santa Clarita City Council recently approved Charles "Chuck" Heffernan, a civil engineer and former Newhall Land Development Inc. employee, as its newest planning commissioner.

Heffernan was appointed by Councilman Bob Kellar, who selected him based on the input from a panel that Kellar selected. Heffernan is replacing Bill Kennedy as commissioner after Kennedy's recent retirement and move to Colorado.

"I'm very honored that the panel chose me," Heffernan said. "I'll bring something different. I bring a little bit of development background that will give me a different view during the planning process."

Because Kennedy's term is up this July, there's a chance Heffernan could lose his seat on the Planning Commission after only a few months if Kellar does not get re-elected. City council members are responsible for appointing planning commissioners.

Heffernan spent 30 years as a civil engineer and was employed by the firm that planned and executed Valencia, then called Newhall Land and Farming Co. He is now the city engineer and assistant director of public works for the city of Palmdale.

He said he enjoys his current job because he likes to help behind the scenes.

"I have no desire to run for public office," Heffernan said. "I like to be more effective behind the scenes."

Heffernan has lived in the Santa Clarita Valley since the late 1980s. He and his wife attended some of the cityhood formation committee meetings that resulted in the incorporation of Santa Clarita, he said.

Some of Heffernan's goals as planning commissioner include making sure that new developments continue to offer parks and trails, and continuing the path that Santa Clarita is already on.

He also said that he's hopeful the Whittaker Bermite site in the center of the city can be cleaned up and developed responsibly.

Heffernan lives in Saugus and has three children, two of whom are in college and one who attends Valencia High School.




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