John Withers, recently named to succeed John Erskine as executive director of the Building Industry Assn. of Orange County, is instead resigning from the trade association to join a developer.
Withers, director of governmental affairs for 2 years, will head a new residential development unit at Hopkins Development Co. in Newport Beach.
The trade association is searching for a new executive director. Erskine, director for 7 years, is leaving May 15 to practice law.
The BIA is the lobby for home builders and related businesses.
Hopkins, known primarily as a developer of retail properties, will build both houses and condominiums and will concentrate on filling in already developed areas rather than building new suburbs, Withers said.
The resignations come during a lull in an ongoing battle between the county's powerful real estate industry and slow-growth advocates.
One of the biggest issues likely to face the new executive director is drumming up public support for a half-cent sales tax increase to fund construction of new roads. That will probably go before the county's voters next year.