Steve McHarris Selected as San José’s New Planning Official

SAN JOSE, Calif. — Harry Freitas, Director of the Planning, Building & Code Enforcement Department, announced today that he has selected Steve McHarris to serve as the department’s new Planning Official. McHarris will head the Planning Division, staffed by approximately 45 planners and support staff who work on San José’s long-term planning projects, associated ordinances, and review zoning, development, and building project proposals.

McHarris is a veteran executive-level municipal planner, having worked as manager, deputy director, or director for the cities of Fremont, Atascadero, Soledad, and, most recently, Milpitas. He has overseen award-winning planning projects and brings deep experience in: guiding teams on the complexities of mixed-use, transit-oriented developments; planning for a BART station; managing capital and operating budgets; and more.

“In conversations with Steve during the interview process, I was impressed by his record of leading and implementing a modern urban vision while also successfully balancing preservation of historic resources,” said Freitas.

“Importantly, for our organization and community, Steve has also demonstrated that his leadership begins with positive employee relations and successful community engagement,” said Freitas.

Steve holds a B.S. from California Polytechnic State University-Pomona and a Masters in Public Administration from Cal State Fullerton. He is a registered planner with the American Institute of Certified Planners.

McHarris will begin his post on May 4, 2015.

About San José Department of Planning, Building & Code Enforcement.
San José, Capital of Silicon Valley, is the largest city in Northern California and the 10th largest city in the nation. The mission of the Planning, Building and Code Enforcement Department (PBCE) is to guide the physical change of San José to create and maintain a safe, healthy, attractive, and vital place to live and work. PBCE is responsible for the City’s long-range planning and specific project review (; issuing permits and inspecting projects to ensure conformance with building and safety codes (; and enforcing ordinances that promote the health, safety, and appearance of buildings and neighborhoods (

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