City fills planning commission seats


The city’s planning commission will soon have a new look.

Brentwood leaders recently reappointed Emily Cross and appointed newcomers Dave Sparling and David Dolter to fill three expired seats on the commission that’s tasked with recommending regulations for the city’s future growth, development and design and carrying out general plan and zoning ordinance provisions.

“Every single person interviewed generally loved Brentwood and genuinely cared for the future of Brentwood,” said Mayor Joel Bryant.

The trio – Cross (a communications consultant), Dolter (an independent real estate development consultant) and Sparling (a sales manager) – were selected through a public city council interview process.

Other candidates included Jim Barnett (a Summit State Bank vice president); Sinziana Todor (a Wells Fargo Bank business process analyst and business support consultant) and Hayward Police Sgt. Faye Maloney, according to a city staff report.

Cyndi Hankins and Seana Fippin, whose seats termed out, opted not to seek reappointment.

Cross, Dolter and Sparling will join Dirk Zeigler and Anita Roberts on the five-member commission and serve two-year terms.

Cross, who embarks on her second term after being appointed in 2019, is a 30-year Brentwood resident and former college professor who now serves as a communication consultant. She’s also a member of the city’s design review committee and previously was a member of the county’s TransPlan Commission and Brentwood Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors.

The longtime Brentwood resident said the planning commission role allows her to apply her expert research skills to gather information, ask pertinent questions and make a positive impact on the community, which includes four generations of her family.

She hopes her work contributes to a thriving community, where children can grow up to find housing, good schools and work opportunities.

“I am very honored to be serving our community again in this capacity,” she said.

Vice Mayor Johnny Rodriguez said Cross’ education, which includes a bachelor’s degree from Arizona State, a master’s from the University of the Pacific and a PhD from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, along with her past commission experience, is an asset for the planning body.

“I think her passion for doing what is right for Brentwood is in her heart,” he said.

Dolter, who moved to Brentwood in 2019 and considers himself semi-retired, previously served as a city manager in Redondo Beach and Santa Monica and as a City of Coronado planning director, before joining the private real estate development and construction world.

He has co-founded two state development entitlement consultancies, been a division vice president for two major home builders and a director and manager of four real estate firms.

All told, he figures his past, which also includes serving on the Moraga Planning Commission, will serve him well in his new role.

“I have been on both sides of the (planning commission) podium,” he said. “I have been sitting in judgement over projects that come in, and I have been at the podium trying to get projects approved. So it is a matter of analyzing both sides and knowing what questions to ask.”

Going forward, Dolter said he feels that Brentwood is a desirable city, an attribute he hopes to uphold in every way possible.

“Brentwood is a jewel of East Bay, and I want to keep it that way with the highest standards we can possibly have for development going forward,” he said.

City Councilmember Susannah Meyer said Dolter’s past experience with all the aspects of the planning process will be a huge benefit for the commission.

“David Dolter was an incredibly strong candidate,” she said.

Sparling, the second new member on the commission, is a 16-year resident and a senior sales manager at Thermo Fisher Scientific.

The longtime city resident noted that his desire to be on the commission is a byproduct of his heightened interest in city activities.

“I have been paying attention to what’s been going on in the city the last couple of years and looking at the developments, both for commercial and residential,” he said. “I was interested, and the more I paid attention to what’s going on with the city, both planning and city council, it was something that interested me in terms of trying to be part of the process to continue to make Brentwood grow for the reasons we moved here.”

Sparling said among the key yet-to-be developed areas is The Innovation Center @ Brentwood.

The area, over 430 acres surrounded by Lone Tree Way to the north, Heidorn Ranch Road to the west, Sand Creek Road to the south and Shady Willow Lane to the east, is considered a future job-generating hub and a perfect location for mixed-use development, capable of one day featuring 4 million square feet of nonresidential establishments, 8,400 jobs and 2,100 housing units, according to city estimates.

“I think that is the future of Brentwood,” he said. “If we are going to build an economy in town that makes sense for everybody, for all the programs that everyone wants from the city, we need a sustainable tax revenue.”

The council unanimously approved Sparling’s appointment.

To view complete resumes of all planning commission candidates, visit