Meet Fremont’s New Community Development Director Dan Schoenholz
Dan Schoenholz has worn many hats in his 20 years with the City of Fremont, but his latest is the Community Development Director where he oversees the Planning, Building, Housing, Environmental Sustainability, and Code Enforcement divisions. Dan sat down with us to share his 2019 priorities, what he loves most about the Fremont community, and how he plans to help the City’s overall economic development goals move forward.
Q: Congratulations on being appointed as Fremont’s new Community Development Director! While new in your role, you have had a long career in Fremont and have viewed the City through a variety of lenses in different departments. What attributes inspire you most about Fremont as a community and an organization?
Fremont is an incredibly diverse community — not only in the ethnic backgrounds of its residents, but also in its natural landscapes, its neighborhoods, and its businesses. That diversity keeps the job interesting and challenging — it’s one of the great things about working here. Another is the City organization; Fremont’s leadership and staff are top-notch.
Q: From a land use and development perspective, what projects and initiatives will you be most focused on in 2019?
I’ll be focused on the continued development of mixed-use neighborhoods in Downtown and in the area near the Warm Springs BART Station. I’ll also focus on continuing to provide much-needed affordable housing. Additionally, I’m looking to enhance our community outreach regarding development projects and long-range plans like the Climate Action Plan update that’s just getting underway.
Q: Development, housing, and other land use issues all ultimately depend on regional collaboration, in addition to local leadership. What partnerships will be most important to you in advancing Fremont’s Community Development agenda?
Land use and transportation are inextricably linked, so the Community Development Department works closely with the City’s Transportation Division (in the Public Works Department) to represent the City’s interests at the regional level. Some of the regional agencies with whom we’ll continue to work closely include the Metropolitan Transportation Commission and its sister planning agency, the Association of Bay Area Governments; the Alameda County Transportation Authority; and BART.
Q: The intersection of Community Development and Economic Development is frequent and important. How do you view your role in the City’s overall economic development goals?
I see Community Development as a key player in Fremont’s economic development efforts. We can help to attract and retain businesses by providing clear guidelines regarding the permitting process and by delivering timely, easy-to-access, technically sound services to business customers. To that end, we have one staff member assigned as the “Business Ally” who is available to help permit applicants if they have questions or run into a problem. We also continue to improve our technology tools to make it easier for applicants to access our services electronically.
Q: There’s no doubt this new role will keep you busy! Where are we most likely to find you in your free time?
At the gym; hiking or running on one of the East Bay’s fabulous trails; or on my couch, watching the Warriors!