Professional Planning Support

LACO’s Planning Team offers local agencies and municipalities a trusted partner to help support the timely processing of applications and preparation of necessary environmental documents to facilitate the development process. Given the revenue shortfalls associated with COVID-19, the lack of qualified staff available in many rural jurisdictions, and the pressure from applicants and elected officials to review projects expeditiously, Planning Departments today face a multitude of challenges as they work to ensure safe, intentional development in their communities. We recognize the challenges these Departments face, we see the impacts of these challenges on the pace of development in the private sector, and, most of all, we see the projects that are delayed or abandoned entirely in our communities as a result. The LACO team is here to bridge this gap to help support local governments fulfill their obligations to assess and approve development in their jurisdiction.



  • Initial Studies (IS)
  • Negative/Mitigated Negative Declarations (MND)
  • Mitigation Monitoring and Reporting Programs (MMRP)
  • Statutory and Categorical Exemptions
  • Section 15183 Streamlining Analysis
  • Peer Review
  • Project Management


  • Environmental Assessments
  • Findings of No Significant Impact
  • Categorical Exclusions

Project Review

  • Subdivision Review
  • Affordable Housing Project Review
  • Public Outreach Processes; including design charrettes, public scoping, and visioning
  • Wildfire Impacts and Mitigation General Plan and Zoning Ordinance
  • Project Management

Our team members have prepared more than a 1,000 environmental planning and permitting documents. Most of LACO’s senior Planning staff has worked on “both sides of the counter” and understands the development process intimately from both perspectives. Our team has provided on-call and contract planning services throughout the North Coast for years, including for the Counties of Humboldt and Mendocino, and we are here to leverage that expertise into comprehensive support for local Planning Departments through these challenging times. We are here to integrate with your team, build your organizational capacity, and help provide a smoother, more rapid turnaround on development applications and environmental review documents.

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Meet Our Team

Portrait of Mike Nelson

Mike Nelson, AICP

Mr. Michael Nelson has over 18 years of professional planning experience and currently serves as LACO Associates’ President. Mr. Nelson has extensive experience in project

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Portrait of Meghan Ryan

Meghan Ryan

Ms. Meghan Ryan joined LACO in 2016 with ten years of professional land use planning experience. Her career started as a Planner for Humboldt County,

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Portrait of Byron Turner

Byron Turner

Mr. Byron Turner brings 20 years of experience as a Planner and Project Manager to LACO Associates. Mr. Turner most recently served as the Principal

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Rebecca Dalske

Ms. Dalske has over four years of planning and technical writing experience with LACO Associates. At LACO, she has experience with a variety of projects,

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Megan Marruffo

Ms. Megan Marruffo joined LACO’s Planning team in 2015 with prior professional experience in both land use and environmental planning, and currently serves as a

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Portrait of Bruce Shimizu

Bruce Shimizu

Mr. Bruce Shimizu has over 30 years of experience in housing development in Northern California and Hawaii. He is an experienced land planner, site designer,

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