Compiled by Michael Flagg, Times staff writer

Building Blocs: Your average new city in south Orange County usually starts life with the bare minimum in the way of municipal government: Dana Point, for instance, housed its city manager in a trailer for the first few months of its municipal existence.

Now the Orange County chapter of the American Institute of Architects wants to offer its members’ expertise to municipal design review boards and planning commissions.

These boards often have no members with experience in planning and design, says Dan Heinfeld, senior principal at the Irvine architectural firm LPA and vice president of the architects’ group.

“These are often political appointments, and a lot of architects just aren’t politically motivated,” says Heinfeld. “So they don’t know how to get into the system.”


The AIA is surveying members to see which ones would be interested in serving on a board. By fall, the group will send letters to all the cities in the county and offer its services.

“We’re not saying you should pack these things with architects and planners,” says Heinfeld. “We’re just offering someone who has some expertise in these areas.”