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Larry Mintier, FAICP

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Larry Mintier, one of California’s great planners, passed away Friday, June 30. The cause was cardiac arrest. Larry’s family, who had gathered to celebrate the 4th of July was with him at the time.

Larry was a smart, thoughtful, and outstanding urban planner, excellent writer, and a friend and mentor to countless colleagues and co-workers, and he remained active and involved in planning his entire career. Larry was a Fellow of the American Institute of Certified Planners (FAICP), an emeritus member and former president of the California Planning Roundtable, a 12-year board member and former president of the California Planning Foundation, and recently served as Chapter Co-Historian of APA California.

Larry was a great friend and colleague to many planners throughout the State. He was truly special. Larry has left a deeply rich legacy for California and the planning profession in addition to being a good and decent human being.

During his long and successful planning career, Larry has worked for over 100 public agencies and over 60 private clients and law firms. He helped prepare more than 50 general plans, specific plans, and master plans; 70 housing elements; nearly a dozen zoning and subdivision ordinances; and numerous other special studies and projects. Perhaps his most significant and long-lasting contribution was as the principal author of California’s 1980 General Plan Guidelines and the 1982 revisions.  Larry was also a frequent lecturer and panelist on State law and local planning practice and taught regularly for various University of California Extension programs.

Larry was a Valley boy, born and raised in Bakersfield. He attended Bakersfield Jr. College, then migrated south to attend UCLA, where he received a BA in Political Science. His education was completed with Master’s Degrees in Urban Planning and Public Administration from UC Berkeley.

Before settling into the planning profession, Larry and his wife, Shelley, spent the next 2 ½ years wandering across Europe and the Middle East, visiting dozens of art museums, and working as a consultant for the United Nations in Switzerland. These early adventures began Larry’s life-long love of travel and the arts.

Larry’s first planning job was as a planner for the City of Napa. Following that, he joined the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research (OPR) where he specialized in planning, land use, and environmental issues, drafted and reviewed legislation, conducted training programs for local officials, and administered planning grants. At OPR, he was also the principal author of California’s 1980 General Plan Guidelines and the 1982 revisions.

Larry left OPR in 1982 to start a business as an independent planning consultant. He successfully teamed with Jim Harnish, also an independent planning consultant at the time, on several proposals, including the Modoc County and City of Alturas General Plan updates and the Kern County Zoning Code update. That success led Larry to form a partnership with Jim in 1985: Mintier Harnish. After Jim left the firm (amicably) a few years later, Larry formed J. Laurence Mintier and Associates, where he assisted cities and counties throughout California with their general plan updates. In 2005, Jim rejoined Larry and they reformed Mintier Harnish. Larry retired in 2015.


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