Mary Grace Pawson is the director of development services and city engineer for the city of Rohnert Park. In this role, she oversees the city’s planning, engineering, building and code-compliance divisions.
Pawson is a registered civil engineer whose broad background in project planning and development for public agencies includes work on recycled-water master plans, urban water-management plans, water-supply assessments, integrated regional water-management plans, grant-writing, and rate and fee setting.
Before joining the city of Rohnert Park in 2014, Pawson spent the previous 10 years as a senior project manager for California operations of GHD, a privately held worldwide engineering, architecture and environmental consulting company based in Sydney.
Earlier in her career, Pawson worked for five years as a project manager for Concord-based Harris & Associates, a consulting firm specializing in infrastructure design and construction management projects in the education, municipal, transportation and water markets.
Pawson is past chair of the California WateReuse Association’s Legislative and Regulatory Committee, where she led a number of legislative and regulatory initiatives to streamline the development and permitting of recycled water supplies. She has been recognized as a “water leader” by the Association of California Water Agencies.
She is a graduate of Stanford University, where she earned a Bachelor’s of Science in civil engineering, and an honors degree in humanities.
Pawson is set to be part of a panel of local public officials at North Bay Business Journal’s Construction Industry Conference on May 31, discussing the area’s biggest construction-related challenges, such as the rebuild after the October wildfires, housing shortage and lack of industry workforce.
She talked to the Journal about the brisk pace of development and construction underway in the city, bringing hundreds of homes to market each year.
What are the most significant construction projects underway and coming in Rohnert Park?
Going on, we have our University District project, which ultimately will be 1,645 single-family dwelling units. They are in their second phase and have approvals for up to 700 lots. They’re busily working their way through that.
In our Southeast Specific Plan area will have 475 dwelling units is in their first phase of 106 lots. They’re about 40 percent through that construction.
There’s a 135-unit hotel by Cambria (Hotels & Suites) just coming out of the ground. They pulled their permits about a month and a half ago.
We have a 90-unit assisted-living facility called Clearwater at Sonoma Hills under construction.
We anticipate in the next few months we will issue a permit on a 135-unit multifamily housing complex over what we call our stadium land area in west Rohnert Park.
You won’t recognize that area in about a year. The hotel and the apartment complex will be built at the same time. A public park will be constructed. The only remaining piece of the stadium land will be a small retail parcel that we’re working with a developer on.
The most exciting thing in development is the downtown Rohnert Park–Rohnert Station project. That’s a mixed-use 425-unit, 450,000-square-foot retail complex with, at this point, a hotel proposal. They are looking to get to our City Council with an amendment to their final development plan sometime late summer. That’s essentially their planning entitlements, at which point they would be ready to prepare construction documents. Everything they’ve indicated to us is they would like to be into construction in 2019. It’s about an 18-month buildout, from the schedule they’ve been showing us.