In Sunny Isles Beach, the planning and zoning division must review a wide variety of items from zoning applications, to business licenses, to building permits, to site plans for fifty story highrises and much more. Many cities have a team of planners to carry the workload, but in our City there is one tiny dynamo of a lady coordinating all aspects of planning and zoning.
Meet Claudia Hasbun, Planning & Zoning Administrator. Claudia works closely with other City departments to accomplish piles of paperwork that keeps the city on track with the Comprehensive Plan, approved shortly after the City was incorporated. She oversees the Planning and Zoning Department, which coordinates the development of land through the application of goals and policies envisioned in the Comprehensive Plan. Development may refer to something as simple as putting up a fence or as complex as building a high-rise. Part of Claudia’s job includes reviewing plans for compliance with adopted ordinances and regulations, such as the City Land Development Regulations (LDRs) or better known as Zoning. Day-to-day this includes reviewing public hearing applications, site plan applications, building permits, certificates of use, alcohol applications and a variety of other requests applicable to businesses and land development.
Claudia is the perfect fit for the job, with work experience in construction, code enforcement and planning. Over the last several years, she has managed to complete multiple degrees, while working full time, to become certified for the job which she has actually been doing. She holds an Associates of Arts from the School of Architecture in Miami Dade College, a Bachelor of Urban and Regional Planning from Florida Atlantic University and a Master of Urban and Regional Planning from Florida Atlantic University. Quite an accomplishment for someone who learned English as an adult!
Claudia grew up in Chile and moved to Florida 14 years ago. She worked for a local construction company while studying the English language. As she gained proficiency in English and job experience, she felt confident and applied for a job at the City. She was hired as a Code and Licensing Permit Clerk, in 2005. Her potential was recognized and she quickly advanced to the position of Administrative Coordinator for Code and Licensing, giving her more responsibilities. While holding down that job, she began her studies at Miami Dade College, earning her associate degree, and was awarded a Certificate of Outstanding Academic Achievement from the School of Architecture and Interior Design. In 2012, she was promoted to City Planner as she was finishing her Bachelor Degree at Florida Atlantic University. When she earned her Master’s Degree that clinched her current position, as she was now fully qualified, on paper, to be the Administrator of the Planning and Zoning Department. She is also a certified Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Associate from Green Building Certification Institute.
Claudia admits to being a very goal oriented person. She says, “The best part of my career is that I contribute with residents, business owners, and professionals such as architects, engineers, and developers. Their issues may vary but at the end of the day we all want to coexist with each other and we [the City] are an entity that brings many aspects to the table and tries to reach solutions and agreements for the betterment of our community.” She goes on to say, “The most satisfaction [I get from my job] is that through planning and zoning; you can see an idea being created and be able to see that idea becoming a tangible reality.”
Claudia is also a member of the Florida American Planning Association, the American Planning Association and a Certified Business Tax Official from Florida Association of Tax Officials. She spends her free time either with her family exploring the great outdoors, dancing, gardening or running. She spends a lot of time reading and looking to learn new things. Not content with her accomplishments, she is always striving for that next goal. One could say that while she keeps the City’s planning on track, she also has learned to fast-track her personal plan for success! And that is mutually beneficial for both Claudia and the residents she serves.