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LOS ALTOS, CA-After a 10-month search, during which the city scrutinized eight candidates, the municipality is bringing on board James Walgren as its new planning director. Hewill formally join the city staff on Jan 8.

For the past 12 years, Walgren has worked for the City of Sratoga, forst as planning manager, then as community development director. During his time in Saratoga, Walgren was instrumental in the creating its design review handbook, as well as in constructing its design ordinances, which included caps on building size and mass. Saratoga council members are noted for their stance on maintaining the city’s character.

Walgren tells GlobeSt. his move after his 12-year tenure at Saratoga was a “career decision.” He has very much enjoyed his time there, but having spent his entire post-college career with one city, he felt the only way to advance himself was to move on to a bigger market.

The planning director vacancy in Los Altos was created when, after four years, planning director Larry Ton resigned to take up a similar post in the East Bay. In 1996, Ton came to Los Altos from the Dublin, where he had been the planning director since its incorporation in 1982. A graduate of Cal Poly who majored in regional planning architecture and design, Walgren, his wife Kerry and their three-year-old son live in Santa Cruz.

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