First published in the Sept. 24 print issue of the Glendale News-Press.
The city stuck with continuity this week, appointing Bradley Calvert as the next director of the Community Development Department.
Calvert, who has for four years served as the assistant director of the department overseeing planning and economic development, looks to continue overhauling the highly involved arm of city business while also moving forward a number of projects he has been working on. The City Council unanimously approved the promotion this week.
“This is not something that I take lightly,” said Calvert, who lives in Glendale. “We have a lot of challenges, a lot of opportunities and a lot of initiatives and I think we can make some very significant impacts to improve things and make the quality of life better for our residents, for our city and the operations that we do.”
Among Calvert’s goals as director include streamlining both the planning and building and the safety departments to improve the efficiency of project approvals and make it easier for residents and business managers to make applications. He also would like to help attract additional foreign business and tech entrepreneur investments to the Jewel City to develop its reputation as a hospital hub. Affordable housing also remains a priority.
“One of the things that I’m happy about is that you recognize that we have a lot of work to do in that department,” Councilman Dan Brotman told Calvert on Tuesday. “I think it’s no secret to people that we have some problems and we need to fix them. I’m glad that you know what they are, that you agree and that you have plans to deal with them.”
Meanwhile, Calvert’s continuing initiatives he spearheaded include the Verdugo Wash linear park visioning study, updating the Bicycle Transportation Plan and developing a Vision Zero Plan.
“There’s a lot of great opportunities on the horizon,” he told the council, “and you have my full faith and commitment to do everything in my power and abilities to see through your vision, this community’s vision and make this city the best possible place we can.”
Though the city went with a familiar face, Calvert’s track record clearly speaks to the hire.
Since joining Glendale, he has led development of the city’s Economic Development Strategic Plan and Citywide Pedestrian Plan. He also helped overhaul the Downtown Specific Plan, which garnered the Plan of the Year award from the Los Angeles chapter of the American Planning Association. This month, the department launched a brand-new online portal for filing building permits, heralded as a huge step toward simplifying the process.
Before coming to Glendale, Calvert was the community development program manager for Bellevue, Washington, where he spearheaded planning for a new urban neighborhood that merged transit- and trail-oriented development. That earned him the Washington chapter of the APA’s Excellence in Planning award.
Calvert earned his bachelor’s degree in architecture from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, a master’s degree in city and regional planning from the Georgia Institute of Technology and a graduate certificate in real estate from Georgia State University. Prior to joining the public sector, he was an architect in Charlotte, North Carolina, as well as Atlanta.
“I see you as an innovative, visionary leader and I know that we have a lot of challenges in the planning department and permitting department,” Councilwoman Elen Asatryan said to Calvert. “Your expertise and will to make those changes to make sure that our residents and small businesses are prospering are promising and I look forward to our collective work ahead.”
Calvert succeeds Phil Lanzafame, who retired this year after a long tenure with Glendale.