Garden Grove

Development director is named

GARDEN GROVE City Hall (Orange County Tribune photo).

Garden Grove City Manager Lisa Kim has named Niki Wetzel, a 26-year community development professional, as Garden Grove’s new community development director. Currently serving as the deputy director of planning and building for the City of Anaheim, Wetzel begins her position with the City of Garden Grove on Monday, July 10.

“Niki is a top-notch professional with the proven knowledge, experience, and drive needed to oversee a very active department that provides several key services to our city and community. She will be a welcome addition to our talented city management team,” said Kim.


“I am honored and thrilled to have been selected as the next community development director for the City of Garden Grove. I look forward to serving Garden Grove’s residents, businesses, and community,” said Wetzel.

As Anaheim’s deputy director of planning and building since 2020, Wetzel has overseen historic and multi-billion-dollar projects for the city, such as the future OC Vibe mixed-use project surrounding the Honda Center, and the Disneyland Forward project that directs the future development of the Disneyland Resort. Wetzel also managed and mentored a staff of 25.

Wetzel began her professional career with the City of Laguna Niguel in 1995, followed by the City of Anaheim where she worked as a planner. In 2004, she moved to the City of Rolling Hills Estates managing large development projects as a principal planner, until joining the city of Lake Forest in 2015. In 2018, she was promoted to assistant director of community development for Lake Forest, overseeing the planning and code enforcement divisions, before re-joining the City of Anaheim in 2020.

Wetzel holds a master’s degree in urban and regional planning from Cal Poly Pomona where she was recognized as the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) Most Outstanding Graduate Student. She obtained her Bachelor of Arts Degree in communication and psychology from UC Santa Barbara, graduating with high honors. She is a member of the American Planning Association and maintains membership and certification from the AICP.

She and her husband have three adult children. She loves dogs and recently adopted two from local animal shelters. She is a registered yoga instructor and is passionate about promoting a healthy mind and body.

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