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July 2015

Newsletter – July 2015

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JULY 2015
The Entitlement and Planning Process:
What It Means Exactly and How It Works

Projects Need a Plan and Purpose – Latitude 33’s Behind-the-scenes Leadership Makes It Happen

Led by senior principal planner Randi Coopersmith, senior project managers Melissa Krause and Tara Lake
deftly guide Latitude 33’s team of entitlement and planning experts through working on projects of all scopes and sizes.

A prime example is Latitude 33’s cornerstone project, Pacific Highlands Ranch (PHR) Subarea. The project encapsulates what the entitlement process is all about. PHR includes a master-planned community, village center, mixed-use housing, schools and preserved open spaces among other things. Development of the land included an extensive approval process that involved multiple regulatory agencies to create a positive, impactful neighborhood inside the northern city limits of San Diego, where none existed prior to its creation.

In-depth research and planning, coordination with government agencies and community groups, strategic public outreach and incorporation of ideas from key stakeholders, along with time invested to secure permits and approvals, the construction process for PHR has been all encompassing. Latitude 33’s steady leadership made the project a reality over the course of the past two decades.

Also, Latitude 33 successfully led bi-national entitlement and planning efforts on the San Diego-Tijuana International Airport Cross-Border Terminal Facility, set to open in November 2015. Known as Cross Border Express, the unique international airport link required working

simultaneously with both the U.S. and Mexican governments. Security and international infrastructure were among a lengthy list of issues that had to be addressed as did overseeing approval from many layers of government agencies on both sides of the United States-Mexico border.

For more information about Latitude 33’s planning and entitlement process or its catalog of projects, please contact Melissa Krause at

Welcome To Our Expanding Brain Trust – Melissa Krause

Melissa Krause recently joined the Latitude 33 Planning & Engineering team as senior project manager. She has more than 17 years of experience as a project manager in residential construction throughout Southern California. Her professional experience ranges from entitlements to land development as well as land feasibility and planning to asset management among other areas. Professional accomplishments for Krause include working on major infill, commercial and master-planned communities in San Diego and Los Angeles. She earned her degrees from National University (graduate) and Northern State University (undergraduate).

Preparing San Diego’s Next Generation of Planners And Engineers

Latitude 33 was proud to sponsor the ACE Mentor Program in San Diego again this year. ACE (Architecture Construction Engineering) hosted its 12th Annual Awards Banquet at San Diego Marriott Mission Valley on May 20, 2015. More than 600 students, parents and ACE mentors attended this event that highlighted student projects and honored scholarship recipients.

Participating ACE Mentor high schools included: Castle Park, e3 Civic, Eastlake, El Camino, Helix, Hoover, Kearny, La Costa Canyon, Patrick Henry, San Diego, Santana, Southwest. Latitude 33 looks forward to continuing its support of this valuable training program that helps prepare local students to be the planners and engineers of tomorrow.

Helping Out Habitat for Humanity in Escondido

14 team members from Latitude 33 volunteered their time and construction skills to help build houses for the community of Escondido on June 12, 2015. Below are images from the project site.

Newsletter – April 2015

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Improving America’s Armed Forces Infrastructure

Designing is currently underway for three military projects that Latitude 33 Planning & Engineering has been heavily involved with. Principal Brad Sager and project manager Sean Drake are overseeing Latitude 33’s efforts. All of these projects will enter the construction phase within the next year.

P-328 – F-35 C Facility Addition NAS (Lemoore, CA) – In preparation for the arrival of F-35 fighter jets, Latitude 33 provided A&E services for renovation and additions to Hangar 5 at NAS Lemoore (pictured above). Design responsibilities included surveying, utility rerouting, demolition plans and ultimate condition design. 


NAVFAC P-771 SOF Desert Training Facility 
(Niland, CA)
Navy SEALs conduct advanced-level land warfare training for west coast teams here. Latitude 33 provided civil engineering services for this 45-acre project (pictured below) that included site improvements, clearing, utilities, roadways, water, sewer, storm drainage and magazine compound design. 

MCAS Yuma Pistol and Rifle Range Repair (Yuma, AZ) – Serving as the Corps’ premier aviation training facility, Latitude 33 was called in to refurbish both its pistol and rifle ranges. This Sonoran Desert locale is home to 80 percent of the Corps’ air-to-ground aviation training, meaning the importance of this project (pictured below) can’t be overstated.

For more information about Latitude 33’s military projects, please contact Brad Sager at
Award-winning Team, Award-winning Work
Kris Taylor, Latitude 33’s chief financial officer was recognized as a finalist for San Diego Business Journal’s CFO of the Year Awards for the tremendous positive impact she has made at the planning and engineering firm for the past 13 years.


Matt Semic, Tara Lake, Kris Taylor, Brad Sager and Jim Kilgore were among those in attendance at the San Diego Business Journal’s CFO of the Year Awards held at Paradise Point on March 31, 2015.




Latitude 33’s Tara Lake and Randi Coopersmith were in attendance for the 2015 Crystal Globe Award LAI Installation and Initiation held at The Lafayette Hotel.


Lambda Alpha International

, the honorary society for the advancement of land economics, officially inducted Tara Lake as a member on February 28, 2015. Her addition, along with Randi Coopersmith, means that Latitude 33

has two members in the San Diego Chapter of this prestigious organization.    


Newsletter – January 2015

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New Beginnings: Latitude 33’s Scripps Ranch Home
Latitude 33 moved to its new headquarters (pictured above) located at 9968 Hibert Street, 2nd Floor, San Diego, CA 92131 in fall 2014 after being located in Sorrento Valley. The newly remodeled building provides meeting space to visit with clients and much needed room for the growing firm’s 45 employees. Latitude 33 plans to host an office open house on February 12, 2015. Please RSVP here to attend.


Award-winning Team, Award-winning Work
San Diego Metropolitan Magazine has named Latitude 33 to its San Diego’s Most Admired Companies list for 2014. Latitude 33 was honored for its adherence to the highest standards of professionalism, integrity and accountability. The firm is very honored and humbled to receive this recognition.
Shannon Davis, design engineer, received the honorable mention award from the San Diego Business Journal at its Emerging Generation: 25 In Their 20’s reception and awards presentation. The second annual event took place at the San Diego Hall of Champions in Balboa Park on Dec. 3, 2014. Young professionals were recognized for significant career achievements while demonstrating social responsibility.
Davis chased her dream of being an engineer. A tough job market led her to advanced schooling, which opened up additional opportunities to gain experience. Helping design a water filtration system for an orphanage in rural Mexico prior to her arrival at Latitude 33 certainly places her among San Diego’s best and brightest young professionals.


Tara Lake, senior project manager, was named a finalist by the San Diego Business Journal for its 2014 Women Who Mean Business Awards. The 21st annual event took place on Nov. 5, 2014, at the Town and Country Resort & Convention Center in Mission Valley. The Women Who Mean Business Awards recognize dynamic female business leaders for their significant contributions to San Diego businesses. 
She was also awarded membership to Lambda Alpha International (LAI), the honorary society for the advancement of land economics, for her leadership in the field of land use economics. Lake was recognized by LAI for her outstanding contributions to urban planning, park and open space planning, her commitment to public outreach in the community and achieving goals and objectives that make San Diego a better place to live and work.
Lake’s extensive organizational leadership and development, incomparable ability to formulate group consensus around a vision, as well as her ability to achieve goals and objectives, both as a member of the community and as a leader at Latitude 33, certainly hasn’t gone unnoticed in San Diego.

Welcome To Our
Expanding Brain Trust


Cara Hilgesen 

Senior planner, has more than seven years of planning experience in San Diego County. She has worked on a variety of projects in the cities of Chula Vista, El Cajon, Escondido, San Diego. Hilgesen earned her master’s degree in City Planning and Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration, Real Estate Finance from San Diego State University.

Martin Jones

Senior project engineer, brings nine years of design experience to the Latitude 33 team. He has worked on a multitude of projects in San Diego and Bakersfield, California as well as Des Moines and Iowa City. Jones earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering, Civil Engineering from the University of Iowa.  



Sean Scaramella

Senior project engineer, arrives at Latitude 33 with eight years of experience. He spent most of that time working on many projects in Carlsbad. Scaramella earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from San Diego State University.