The Reporter (Vacaville)

Longtime planner Fred Buderi retiring

- By Nick Sestanovic­h nsestanovi­ch@thereporte­r.com

Fred Buderi, a longtime Vacaville city planner who has spent the last year as acting community developmen­t director, has already made plans for retirement. His last day will be July 9.

Buderi, who has actively worked for the city for the last 20 years and previously an additional five-year stint in the Planning Department in the ‘80s, said that after working in the field for 40 years, it was the time to call it a career.

“Over the years, I’ve had colleagues who have retired tell me, ‘I just knew when it was the right time. I just had that feeling,’” he said. “I think that’s how it struck me. It was like, ‘You know, this might be the right time.’”

Buderi’s interest in city planning stemmed from an interest in architectu­re he has had since middle school.

“I was interested in how cities

were designed and was interested in the architectu­re of cities and how they grew and changed over time,” he said.

Buderi even applied to get into architectu­re school in college but was turned down. Instead, he was given permission to go into a social science field and could transfer after a few years into the program. He majored in geography at the University of California, Berkeley, and after taking classes that were a part of the field, such as city planning and economics, decided to change course.

“It seemed more applicable to the profession of urban planning versus strictly architectu­re,” he said.

Upon graduating, Buderi went on to work for a small consulting firm in Berkeley and then went on to have planning positions in Alameda County and Richmond. After being laid off as the city of Richmond was trimming its budget during a recession, Buderi began looking for other job opportunit­ies and found one in Fairfield.

“I really didn’t know Solano County that well at that point,” he said.

After a few years in Fairfield, Buderi said another job opportunit­y came up for an assistant planning position in Vacaville in 1985. At the time, Buderi said the city only had about 48,000 residents, but it was still an exciting place to work.

“(It was) definitely a quieter, smaller place, but even then, there was a lot going on and a lot in the planning division for the community,” he said.

In 1988, Buderi was promoted to associate planner. However, in 1990, he left to work for the city of Sacramento, which he said was exciting to work in planning in a large city. While in Sacramento, and also in his first stint in Vacaville, Buderi also worked toward master’s degree in business administra­tion.

In 2001, Buderi returned to Vacaville as the planning project manager and was promoted to city planner three years later. During his time, Buderi was involved in a number of major planning and redevelopm­ent projects, including the Town Square Plaza, relocation of the Police Department into its current building, the Kaiser Permanente campus on Vaca Valley Parkway, and the transforma­tion of the Nut Tree Restaurant into the current Nut Tree Plaza shopping center.

For the latter project, Buderi “became the City’s well-respected in-house expert on airport land use compatibil­ity issues while negotiatin­g entitlemen­ts and creating the Policy Plan Amendment,” according to a proclamati­on that was presented to Buderi at a special Vacaville City Council meeting Tuesday.

In 2020, Buderi was named the acting community developmen­t director to succeed Barton Brierley.

Buderi said he liked the fact that Vacaville is a very accessible city.

“It’s a city where you can really get to know community members and neighborho­od people and business people,” he said. “For planners, it’s really important to know people that you’re working for, which is the community… It has been an easy environmen­t to connect with community members and get to know issues that are important to people, and as a planner, you’re able to work on those issues and try to improve the community where you can.”

Buderi said he will miss the day-to-day activity of working with people. While staff have been working mostly remotely over the past year because of the pandemic, he said they’ve still been able to conduct business through Zoom meetings and conference calls.

“I’m going to miss that activity with people,” he said. “That is gonna be a real change.”

Buderi will also miss being up-to-date on projects happening in Vacaville. He’s proud of the recent ones, including the city’s initiative to attract more biotechnol­ogy and advanced manufactur­ing businesses.

“That is really interestin­g and it’s fascinatin­g to be a part of it,” he said. “It involves a lot of profession­al discipline­s, and that makes our job an interestin­g experience.”

Buderi will remain in the area and also plans to travel to visit family members during his retirement. While he has been involved in major projects during his career, he now has his sights set on some deferred projects around the house, such as gardening.

“It will be nice to be able to just focus on those a little more and enjoy doing that,” he said.

Buderi said it has been a privilege to work in the planning profession.

“Working in Vacaville has certainly been rewarding for me,” he said. “I’ve really enjoyed it, and I hope the work that we’ve done in the department has contribute­d a good quality of life for the community.”

Applicants are being interviewe­d for a new community developmen­t director, and Buderi said he expects an announceme­nt will be made soon.

 ?? CONTRIBUTE­D PHOTO ?? Fred Buderi, who has worked in Vacaville’s Planning Department for more than 20 years and as acting community developmen­t director for the past year, is retiring July 9.
CONTRIBUTE­D PHOTO Fred Buderi, who has worked in Vacaville’s Planning Department for more than 20 years and as acting community developmen­t director for the past year, is retiring July 9.
 ?? JOEL ROSENBAUM — THE REPORTER ?? Fred Buderi, Vacaville’s Acting Community Developmen­t Director works from his home in March. After working in the field of community developmen­t for 40 years and the last 20 with the city is retiring, his last day is July 9.
JOEL ROSENBAUM — THE REPORTER Fred Buderi, Vacaville’s Acting Community Developmen­t Director works from his home in March. After working in the field of community developmen­t for 40 years and the last 20 with the city is retiring, his last day is July 9.

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