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Public Outreach: Fostering Community Participation in the Preparation of Successful Planning and CEQA Processes
6/30/2022 - 6/30/2022
12:00 PM - 1:00 PM PST

Event Description
OC AEP Lunch Program – June 30, 2022

Public Outreach: Fostering Community Participation in the Preparation of Successful Planning and CEQA Processes


Speakers: Gina Sawaya (Wood, PLC) and Sydnie Margallo (Wood, PLC)

Topic Overview: Public outreach and stakeholder engagement are essential components in local and regional programming and planning, as well as the development of project and program CEQA compliance documents. Developing an effective stakeholder and public outreach program is a critical tool for informing the planning process and addressing the needs and concerns of both key stakeholders and members of the public. The best programs, plans, and projects are those that infuse public and stakeholder feedback into planning processes for popular, logical results and plans. However, each agency may take different approaches to fostering public participating, and CEQA provides little guidance on how to develop and facilitate effective community outreach, and how best to incorporate the results of these outreach efforts. The panel of experts will discuss strategies for developing outreach campaigns that can achieve a balance between the needs and concerns of public and the budgetary and schedule constraints of the planning and CEQA process. The panel will also be discussing about what considerations should be made with respect to public participation when initiating the planning and CEQA process, identifying who should be engaged through the process, what platforms and tools are best for engaging with stakeholders and the public, and what to do with the feedback that is received. The panel discusses several different projects with different approaches, but with similar goals of achieving an informed and effective planning process with popular buy in. The focus will be on strategy, effective tools, key considerations, and potential pitfalls for agency staff, planners, and CEQA practitioners, so bring your questions and 'what ifs.' Attendees will learn about the best available planning tools, analysis methodology, and approaches to navigate the outreach process. 1.0 CM credits available.
Thursday, June 30, 2022
12:00 PM to 1:00 PM
Zoom Webinar
*Zoom link will be included in the confirmation email provided directly after registration.*
E-mail Frances Yau (Frances.Yau@mbakerintl.com) or Oscar Escobar (Oscar.Escobar@mbakerintl.com), OCAEP Co-Vice President of Programs
About Our Speakers:
Gina Sawaya is an environmental/planning consultant for Wood with expert experience in consulting, planning, and communications. She specializes in public and stakeholder outreach, and communicating planning, science, and policy to a broad range of special interest and user groups. Mrs. Sawaya has strong experience in organizing stakeholder and public outreach, working with community organizations, and coordinating robust public outreach programs aimed at communicating the details of a project and fostering feedback from the public. She also has experience in developing strategic communications and graphic designs to environmentally-focused companies like non-profits and government agencies, managing social media, developing curriculum, and grant writing.
Sydnie Margallo graduated from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo in 2016 with a B.S. in Environmental Management and Protection and a minor in City and Regional Planning. Sydnie began working as an environmental planner at Wood, Inc. (previously Amec Foster Wheeler), where she’s been preparing CEQA- and NEPA-compliant environmental and planning documents for over 5 years. Sydnie’s experience with public outreach involves the public scoping and review processes required for CEQA environmental review as well as stakeholder discussions and public workshops in preparation for long-term planning documents. Most recently, Sydnie served as Deputy Project Manager for preparation of the County of Santa Barbara’s Multi-Jurisdictional Hazard Mitigation Plan (MJHMP). During the MJHMP planning process, Sydnie prepared and led 7 stakeholder presentations as well as 4 public workshops.