County of Marin - News Releases - CDA Director

For Immediate Release
April 12, 2023

Jones Takes Helm of Community Development

Acting director appointed to long-term role for County

San Rafael, CA – The Marin County Community Development Agency (CDA) has a new official leader: Sarah Jones, who has served as acting department director since November 2022 and previously was assistant director since joining the County of Marin in November 2021. Jones replaces the retired Tom Lai.

Portrait of Sarah JonesDirector Sarah Jones, who has more than 25 years of civic planning experience, had served as the Marin County Community Development Agency's acting director since November 2022.

The Marin County Board of Supervisors will consider the recommendation of County Administrator Matthew Hymel to confirm Jones’ appointment at its regular meeting April 18. If appointed, Jones will become the first female director of CDA.

Over 25 years, Jones has steadily progressed into roles of increased responsibility within the planning profession. Prior to becoming CDA’s No. 2 administrator two years ago, she served 16 years with the City and County of San Francisco, including three years as director of the Environmental Planning division in the Planning Department, and five years as planning director for the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency. Jones has a bachelor’s degree in urban studies from Stanford University and a master’s in city planning from the University of California at Berkeley. 

“One reason I’m excited to take on this role is that CDA’s work is so far-reaching, covering topics of such importance to Marin County,” Jones said. “CDA handles everything from immediate day-to-day needs such as building permits and restaurant inspections to huge matters of policy and implementation such as housing and climate change adaptation. We have talented and committed staff members who help our communities manage today’s and tomorrow’s challenges. Having the chance to lead this team and steward this incredible county is a huge honor.”

Board President Stephanie Moulton Peters added, ““We are very fortunate to have someone with Sarah’s skills and experience to lead CDA. She will play a key role in addressing some of our top community priorities such as creating affordable housing and adapting to sea level rise.”

Since joining the County of Marin, Jones has:

  • led the final stages of Housing Element and Safety Element update approvals along with associated environmental reviews and rezoning;
  • overseen a moratorium on short term rentals in West Marin and led development of new mechanisms to achieve balance across visitor needs, community needs, and housing supply; and
  • served as co-chair of the countywide collaborative of municipal Community Development directors.

Jones said CDA’s priorities for the 2023-24 year include:

  • improving CDA’s communications, engagement, and responsiveness;
  • building collaboration within CDA and between CDA and other County departments and communities in Marin; and
  • bringing focus on equity to all CDA work.

Marin CDA has 90 employees and an annual budget of $21 million. CDA oversees planning, building & safety, housing, federal grants, code enforcement, environmental health, environmental review, and sustainability. According to its mission, CDA is “dedicated to promoting, protecting, and advancing healthy, safe, and equitable communities.”

Jones’ annual salary will be $227,926 with benefits consistent with those received by other County department heads.


Brent Ainsworth
Public Information Specialist
County Administrator's Office

3501 Civic Center Drive
Suite #421
San Rafael, CA 94903
(415) 473-3084
Email: Brent Ainsworth
County Administrator website