Elizabeth A. Burks

Planning Director

Ms. Elizabeth “Beth” Burks serves as Planning Department Director.  She has served as Project Manager for municipal, non-profit, and private sector projects from entitlement through construction. She currently manages several municipal on-call contracts. In her previous position as a Senior Planner for Humboldt County, she handled the permitting and CEQA compliance for increasingly complex development projects including commercial proposals, infrastructure improvements, coastal development, residential subdivisions, and development affecting sensitive habitat areas. She routinely prepared and presented written and oral reports to Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors. Her strong interpersonal skills have allowed her to build positive and productive working relationships with project proponents, state agencies, local governments, service districts, and tribal governments. Ms. Burks’ public sector experience involved familiarity and compliance with the Brown Act and Public Records Act. 

Areas of Expertise

California Coastal Act
CEQA Compliance
Community and Neighborhood Planning
Development and Entitlements
Conflict Resolution
Public Outreach 


Education

BS Natural Resources Planning, Humboldt State University

Continuing Education

Graduate course in Hazard Mitigation Planning, Humboldt State University
Community Boards Style Mediation Training Certificate, 30 hours
Training in community development strategies, project design, and management, Nepali language and cross- culture, Peace Corps Nepal

Registrations and Certifications

Certified Planner, American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP)

Professional Memberships

Association of Environmental Professionals
American Planning Association

Select Project Experience

Medical Cannabis Cultivation Regulation Ordinances Initial Study/Mitigated Negative Declaration―Mendocino County, California.
The County of Mendocino has retained LACO to prepare an Initial Study of the Draft Cannabis Cultivation Ordinance pursuant to CEQA. Ms. Burks is the Project Manager and an Initial Study Co-Author.   She has worked closely with County Planning staff, the Agricultural Commissioner, and County Counsel to refine the ordinances, propose mitigation, and present at public hearings. 

Mendocino County Contract Planner―Mendocino County, California.
Ms. Burks performs duties as an extension of County staff. This includes drafting staff reports and CEQA Initial Studies for coastal development permits, minor subdivisions, major use permits, general plan amendments and zone reclassifications. Additionally, her duties included the review of draft ordinances, review and assessment of items included in the Mitigation Monitoring and Reporting Programs of the General Plan, development of procedural checklists for coastal development permit processing, and CEQA compliance. 

Hopland Municipal Advisory Council―Hopland, California.
Ms. Burks serves as an advisor to the Hopland Municipal Advisory Council. In this role, she assisted with their charter and formation resolution. She continues to assist with strategic visioning, brown act compliance, and group logistics. 

Tench Winery―Napa, California.
Ms. Burks was the lead planner for the Tench Winery project. She prepared the major use permit application for a new winery with winery building, wine caves, and daily visitation.  Ms. Burks worked closely with the project civil and geotechnical engineers, biologist, traffic engineer, cultural resource consultants, and drafters to prepare site plans, multiple technical documents, and exhibits to support the application and ensure consistency and compliance with county standards throughout all documents. She also served as a liaison with county planning staff during the application process. She was responsible for presenting the project before the Planning Commission where it was unanimously approved. 

Shelter Cove Resort Improvement District #1 (RID) ―Shelter Cove, California.
Ms. Burks has assisted RID in planning efforts for water and wastewater-related infrastructure improvements. This includes overseeing the preparation of a CEQA Initial Study and Coastal Development Permit for the replacement of 7 water storage tanks in conjunction with the preparation of a Preliminary Engineering Report (PER). Ms. Burks also serves as the project manager for the RID wastewater recycling project which includes the preparation of a PER, and CEQA Initial Study, as well as application materials for Coastal Development Permit and Regional Water Quality Control Board master water recycling permit. 

PEP Housing―Ukiah, California.
Ms. Burks is the project manager for PEP Housing’s Sun House Senior Apartments, a 42 unit affordable senior housing complex. Me. Burks served as lead planner for the project which required, a use permit, general plan amendment, zone reclassification, parcel merger, airport consistency determination and planned development permit. Ms. Burks presented the project before the Planning Commission and the City Council where it was unanimously approved. After approval, Ms. Burks continues to serve as LACO project manager coordinating with the client, client’s architect and LACO’s engineering and survey team.

Redwood Parks Lodge Company Redwood National Park Resort―Orick, California.
Ms. Burks served as Senior Planner for this project, which involved the design of a 182-unit RV facility, commercial center, and gas station, the largest development proposed in Orick in several decades. Ms. Burks collaborated with the client, engineers, and designers, and she prepared the conditional use permit, special permit, and coastal development permit applications. She consulted with multiple agencies including Caltrans, CA Department of Fish and Wildlife, Humboldt County Public Works Department, Planning and Building Department, and Division of Environmental Health. Ms. Burks prepared an Initial Study pursuant to CEQA for the entire project. 

Safeway―Eureka, California.
Ms. Burks prepared a Development Feasibility Analysis for a new Safeway Fuel Center. She researched applicable codes and site conditions, consulted with multiple agencies, collaborated with designers to design two site alternatives, and submitted a formal Development Feasibility Analysis report, which included a list of required permits, fees, and estimated timeframes.

Humboldt County Public Works―Eureka, California.
Ms. Burks prepared CEQA documentation and provided general plan conformance review services in support of replacing the existing Juvenile Hall facility. 

HealthSPORT―Eureka, California.
Ms. Burks prepared an application for modification of the existing subdivision and conditional use permit. The modification involved creating additional parking for the health club, reducing the overall number of residential units at the site, and substantially reconfiguring the lots. The application required parking justifications, development of low impact development strategies within the parking lot, and site design. The process included conducting a neighborhood outreach meeting. 

Humboldt County Planning Division Services―Eureka, California.
In her position as a Senior Planner, Ms. Burks managed permit compliance for a diverse workload of both short- and long-term development projects. She evaluated development proposals for compliance with General Plan, Local Coastal Plans, and Zoning Ordinances. Ms. Burks researched property history and constraints. She analyzed and summarized results and recommendations of technical studies such as traffic impact reports, noise studies, biological reports and wetland delineations, historic and archaeological resource reports, plans of operations, soils reports, and erosion and sediment control plans. She prepared environmental documents including Initial Studies, Mitigated Negative Declarations, and Mitigation and Monitoring Plans. She developed conditions of approval and mitigation measures to reduce project impacts, and she presented project recommendations to decision-making bodies and the public. Ms. Burks assisted with Housing Element implementation by drafting zoning ordinance language and conducting public meetings. Ms. Burks coordinated the Williamson Act/Agricultural Preserve program. Her projects included some of the following types:

  • Utilities. PG&E substation upgrades and power line upgrades requiring a Coastal Development Permit and affecting coastal wetlands
  • Infrastructure. Coastal Development Permits for airport runway safety improvements, Caltrans road realignments, and geotechnical drilling for seismic safety
  • Commercial. Retail developments incorporating of Low Impact Development strategies, traffic analysis, and noise attenuation
  • Residential. Conditional use permits, coastal development permits, special permits for work within sensitive habitats, lot line adjustments, and minor subdivisions

Soil Conservation Extension Volunteer―Peace Corps, Nepal.
Ms. Burks designed and conducted a participatory project evaluation involving more than 20 community groups. She compiled results and made recommendations to project managers. Ms. Burks assisted in developing a gender and equity audit for a watershed conservation project. She piloted surveys and led focus group discussions. She was the primary organizer of a three-day conference on the subject of income generation. She conducted visioning and project management workshops using the Appreciative Inquiry Approach for four community groups; results included school reconstruction projects and income generation activities. Ms. Burks trained Peace Corps Trainees in aspects of project monitoring and evaluation.

  • Home Office: Eureka, CA

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