Jeff Harlan has been actively involved in our Eastside community for 15 years. Jeff currently serves on the Costa Mesa Planning Commission, the last two years as Vice Chair, and was a Board member of the Costa Mesa Community Foundation for eight years.
An established resident of Eastside Costa Mesa, Jeff and his wife, Melinda, have raised their two daughters Sophie, 16, and Evie, 13, to be involved in our community and take pride in all that Costa Mesa has to offer.
Melinda is a Newport Beach native, small business owner, and longtime volunteer and event organizer/fundraiser at Woodland Elementary, Kaiser Elementary, and Ensign Intermediate Schools.
Growing up in the San Fernando Valley in the 1980s, Jeff (an original “Valley boy”) has always been fascinated by geography and how cities change over time. Back when you could get anywhere in Los Angeles in 20 minutes, Jeff traveled with his family across the region for school, journalism competitions, and tennis tournaments.
Jeff earned his degree in environmental design at the University of Pennsylvania, then ultimately combined his passion for architecture and public policy to earn a Juris Doctor from Vermont Law School with a focus on environmental and land use law.
Jeff started his career in public service at the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office, Environmental Protection Section, before serving as a deputy to Los Angeles City Councilmember Ruth Galanter. He spearheaded sustainable development initiatives citywide and helped administer green building policy for nearly $2 billion in City projects, including new public library and fire station campaigns.
Jeff went on to serve as the Planning Director for the Baldwin Hills Conservancy, a state agency charged with implementing $40 million of bond funding for park acquisition and development. He was an early advocate for green building and co-founded the US Green Building Council’s L.A. Chapter, and is a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Accredited Professional.
Upon moving to Costa Mesa in the mid-2000s, Jeff spent the next decade as an environmental and land use consultant advising municipal governments, nonprofit organizations, and real estate professionals.
Jeff has led and managed several large-scale planning projects for cities throughout California, focusing not just on community design and architecture, but also governance and economic development. For the past 6 years, he has continued the work he is passionate about as an Attorney at the law firm Ervin, Cohen & Jessup.
Jeff is also an avid tennis player and hiker, and can be found most mornings in the Back Bay walking the family dog, Oliver.
For more than 25 years, Jeff has dedicated a career to working with and within government to improve communities.
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