Bilegt Bataar at the Sacramento County Planning and Environmental Review

Environmental Policy & Management student Bilegt

I work as a graduate intern for Sacramento County Planning and Environmental Review. Planning is such a diverse field that has given me hands-on experience in communicating with the public, researching policies, conducting environmental review, and applying local ordinances to development projects. Some of the most satisfying moments of the internship are when I'm able to apply concepts from the classroom directly into my work and vice-versa. For example, the skills exercises facilitated by Mark Schwartz in ENV200A helped frame my thinking on how to improve my argument structure. These practiced skills culminated in a project to improve on the County's approach to approval of alcohol licenses in over-concentrated areas. My policy recommendations and research are expected to be heard by the Board of Supervisors sometime in February of this year. On the flip side, the time I've spent analyzing and applying state statutes and local ordinances in my internship have made me comfortable with the same kind of thinking necessary for Tracy Winsor's course, ENV201. 

A majority of my day-to-day work revolves around analyzing a developer's proposal with requirements in the Zoning Code, County Code, and General Plan. This could be something as simple as "can I build this bathroom?" to "I want a Buddhist temple." In either case, a planner's main job is to have a frame of mind that is rooted in foresight, fairness, and public good. It is sometimes daunting to realize that my decisions have real-world consequences to developers and to the community at large. But in all honesty, it's that responsibility that keeps me driven and looking forward to going to the office.