Planning Permitting and Environmental Compliance Consulting


The Planning Team provides planning and permitting assistance for private, municipal, and tribal clients throughout the northern California region and beyond. Whether you need assistance preparing and processing a development application, need additional staff to meet your workload needs or need support preparing long range planning documents, we’re here to help you navigate the planning and permitting process.

Our team members have prepared more than 1,000 environmental planning and permitting documents. Our approach to planning focuses on achieving practical win-win solutions, with broad community support, and a clear path toward implementation. We leverage our firm’s technical expertise and longstanding relationships with regional experts to design projects that are technically grounded and achievable, an asset in communicating with regulatory agencies. Our approach improves the likelihood and turnaround time for regulatory approval of your project.

Our team, which includes certified Planners, have expertise in the following:

  • Preparing and processing entitlements, including:
    • Conditional Use Permits
    • Site plan / project development
    • Coastal Development Permits
    • Residential and Commercial Subdivisions
    • Lot Line Adjustments
    • See LACO’s Surveying and Engineering page for additional information regarding site planning and development.
  • Environmental Planning Services including:
    • CEQA environmental compliance documents including:
      • Initial Studies and Categorical Exemptions
      • Mitigation and Monitoring and Reporting Programs (MMRPs)
    • NEPA environmental compliance documents including:
      • Categorical Exclusions
      • Environmental Assessments (EAs)
      • Findings of No Significant Impact (FONSIs)
  • Lake and Streambed Alteration Notifications for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife
  • Water Quality permits for the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board and the United States Army Corps of Engineers
  • See LACO’s Geology page for additional information regarding water availability analysis’, groundwater well testing and onsite wastewater treatment systems designs and evaluations.
  • Tribal Planning Services, including:
  • Development of:
    • Community Plans and Policies; and
    • Specific Plans, such as Local Hazard Mitigation Plans
  • Municipal Planning Services, including:
    • Extension of City/County staff to perform daily functions of the Department for long range and current planning projects
    • Draft and process long range planning documents, such as general and community plans for zoning ordinances; and
    • Project Management for complex projects and Environmental Impact Reports (EIRs)
    • See LACO’s Grant Management page for additional information regarding preparation, processing, and grant management services
  • On Cal Support for Public Agencies

We are also prepared to provide the following special studies and services:

  • Development feasibility analyses and identification of constraints and opportunities
  • Air Quality Impact analysis including CalEEMod modeling and greenhouse gas emissions quantitative and qualitative reviews
  • Public outreach processes including design charrettes, public scoping, and visioning

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Meet Our Team

Portrait of Mike Nelson

Mike Nelson, AICP

Mr. Michael Nelson has over 18 years of professional planning experience and currently serves as LACO Associates’ President. Mr. Nelson has extensive experience in project

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Portrait of Meghan Ryan

Meghan Ryan

Ms. Meghan Ryan has been designated as the Project Manager back-up and will be the LACO team lead on the project. Ms. Meghan Ryan has

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Rebecca Dalske, AICP

Ms. Rebecca “Becky” Dalske joined LACO Associates (LACO) in late 2016 with prior experience in environmental compliance for a renewable power company in Santiago, Chile.

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Portrait of Byron Turner

Byron Turner

Mr. Turner brings over 20 years of experience as a Planner and Project Manager to LACO, and currently serves as LACO’s Deputy Director of Planning.

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Megan Marruffo

Ms. Megan Marruffo joined LACO’s Planning team in 2015 with prior professional experience in both land use and environmental planning, and currently serves as a

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Max Hilken

Mr. Max Hilken has a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Management and Protection from Humboldt State University and works as an Assistant Planner in LACO’s

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Melissa Frausto

Melissa Frausto graduated from California State University, Chico with a Bachelor of Arts in Human Geography and Planning and a minor in Environmental Studies and

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Amy Marigo

Ms. Amy Marigo joined LACO Associates (LACO) in 2021 and works out of LACO’s Santa Rosa office. Since working at LACO, she has assisted with

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