Deland Chan (Courtesy photo)

Former Chinatown CDC planner nominated to Planning Commission

Board of Supervisors President Norman Yee has nominated a former Chinatown Community Development Center planner to fill a vacant position on the Planning Commission, officials said Thursday.

Deland Chan is under consideration by the Board of Supervisors to fill the spot vacated by former Commissioner Dennis Richards, who stepped down in March after coming under fire for using buyouts to get rid of tenants. Yee nominated the urban studies professor on May 4, according to his office.

Chan directs community engaged learning in the Urban Studies Department at Stanford University, her alma mater, and launched the college’s Human Cities Initiative in 2014, which aims to put people first in city development.

Chan has also worked as a senior planner for the Chinatown Community Development Center, focusing on transportation and land use. Yee noted that she has brought youth to City Hall so they could understand the process and get involved.

“I’m a strong believer in having people participate in the decision-making process,” Yee said. “One of the things I appreciate about her is, not only does she live it, she practices it.”

Chan also has the lived experience of growing up in New York public housing, Yee added. She has a master’s degree in urban planning from University of California Berkeley and is pursuing her doctorate in sustainable urban development at Oxford University.

Yee previously nominated Commissioner Theresa Imperial, who founded the affordable housing nonprofit Bill Soro Housing Program after immigrating from the Philippines, in February. Like Chan, he noted her strong background in community work would bring a perspective he felt has been missing when weighing consequential projects.

“I don’t feel like the last decade we’ve seen that,” Yee said. “I feel that we need a balance at this point. Theresa and [Chan] have a community background experience but they also bring in different skills and experience to broaden the discussion.”

The Rules Committee is expected to hear Chan’s nomination on May 11 and if it’s approved, it will go to the full Board of Supervisors for a vote on May 19.

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