City Acts Fast and Appoints Feeney as Community Development Director

Ashley Feeney

One of the first questions in the tenure of Mike Webb as city manager has been answered.  When the city council appointed Mr. Webb to replace the retiring Dirk Brazil, one of the big questions was who would replace Mike Webb as the community development and sustainability director for the city.

The natural replacement seemed to be Ashley Feeney.  Mr. Feeney has since March of 2016 served as the assistant director of the department.  According to the city’s press release, in his new role, Mr. Feeney will be responsible for oversight of the entire department, which includes the core functions of building, planning, historic resources management, open space, sustainability and property management.

The release states that, prior to joining the city of Davis, Mr. Feeney spent 10 years in private real estate development and homebuilding where he held senior executive leadership roles.

During this period, he spearheaded the acquisition, entitlement and development efforts for master planned communities and many other residential developments.  “These efforts included many award winning projects, including The Cannery in Davis,” the release states.

Prior to his work in private development, Mr. Feeney served as an associate planner for the city of Sacramento, working both on current and long-range planning and community engagement.  “Through his experience in planning, environmental review, community engagement, design, economics, real estate, construction, and team leadership, Mr. Feeney brings a unique and well-rounded perspective of local community development,” the city release states.

It continues: “Since joining the City, Mr. Feeney’s expertise in land use and development matters has been instrumental in his role as staff liaison to the city’s Planning Commission and in facilitating the City review of numerous project proposals, including hotels and multiple commercial and residential infill projects.”

Mr. Feeney has also been a key staff member in bringing forward commercial cannabis zoning and regulatory requirements to address a new industry and in launching the Downtown Davis Plan update.

The release states: “His even-keeled approach and keen ability to facilitate discussion among a wide range of interests, combined with his passion for high-quality design, inviting and vibrant public spaces, and vision for helping to implement City economic development policies augment the City team.”

As assistant director, the release goes on to say that “Feeney has proven himself as being a caring and thoughtful leader and a pro-active and creative problem solver with strong analytic and consensus-building skills.  He has an open and welcoming leadership style, placing great value in positive relationships with his fellow team members and the larger community.”

Mr. Feeney has come to know the Davis community over the last several years and “comes into this new role with a sound understanding and appreciation for the values of Davis and the City organization.”

Mr. Feeney is a graduate of Humboldt State University where he earned a bachelor’s degree in economics.

Mr. Feeney has long-established roots in the Sacramento Valley and, along with his wife Cynthia, has two sons, James and Jack.  Mr. Feeney will report to the city manager in his new capacity, effective immediately.

Given the importance right now of land use, this was a critical hire for the city.  The other question was who was going to replace Mr. Webb as assistant city manager.  Right now it appears they may continue with Kelly Stachowicz, who was the co-assistant city manager in that role, and they do not have a second person to fill that position.

That remains to be seen.

—David M. Greenwald reporting

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About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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1 Comment

  1. Tia Will

    Mr. Feeney has proven himself as being a caring and thoughtful leader and a pro-active and creative problem solver with strong analytic and consensus-building skills.”

    While Mr. Feeney has a resume which certainly qualifies him for his position, my hope is that in the future he will choose to use his consensus-building skills to work collaboratively with the current residents of neighborhoods that will be affected by development proposals as well as with the developers themselves. From his work to date, I am concerned that this may not be the case.

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