Karen Walz

Principal: Karen S. Walz FAICP

Karen Walz brings over 40 years of professional analysis, community involvement and policy recommendation expertise to her projects.  This experience means that Ms. Walz can assist her clients as they consider alternatives, agree on plans and policies and then implement these decisions to shape their futures.

Ms. Walz has served on the staff or as a consultant to cities, counties, regional governments, school districts, non-profit organizations and property owners.  Her work experience includes East and West coast communities, as well as Texas, the Midwest and Western U.S. Client communities range from towns with a few thousand people to cities with over one million residents and counties covering 13,000 square miles.  This client diversity gives Ms. Walz a wide variety of potential solutions to bring to the issues facing her clients.


Karen S. Walz received her Master of City and Regional Planning from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.  Her studies covered major public policy issues, with a concentration in economic development and local public finance.  Ms. Walz received a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Earth Sciences from Stanford University, graduating with distinction.

Previous Professional Responsibilities and Projects

Ms. Walz was the Director of Planning for Freilich, Leitner and Carlisle from 1989 to 1993. In this role, she managed the FLC Planning Group and was responsible for planning and growth management projects for clients across the country. Comprehensive and regional planning clients included Kiawah Island, South Carolina; Sunnyvale, Texas; Jackson County, Missouri; Riverside, California; Douglas County and the Douglas County School District, Nevada; the Truckee Meadows Regional Planning Commission (Reno, Sparks and Washoe County), Nevada and Mohave County, Arizona. Implementation projects ranged from a growth management ordinance for Encinitas, California to annexation planning in Osage Beach, Missouri. Projects for private clients included specific planning in Arizona and tax increment financing in Missouri.

Ms. Walz taught Alternative Methods of Dispute Resolution in the University of Kansas Graduate Program on Urban Planning in 1991 and 1993. The course was designed to give planners and public administrators the practical skills in negotiating, dispute resolution and consensus-building that are essential to constructive action on public policy issues.

From 1985 to 1989, Ms. Walz was the Division Manager for Comprehensive Planning for the Planning and Growth Management Department, City of Austin, Texas. She coordinated staff and consultant assignments and the extensive citizen participation process used to develop Austinplan, a comprehensive plan for Austin. Other responsibilities included transportation planning, forecasting, annexation, downtown planning, and Division management.

Prior to her employment with Austin, Ms. Walz’ professional experience included work on both the East and West Coasts. She served as a Special Assistant for Economic Policy at the Boston Redevelopment Authority and conducted research on cities’ relative fiscal condition as a Research Assistant at the Harvard-MIT Joint Center on Urban Studies. Ms. Walz also held positions through the Senior Planner level with the Department of City Planning, San Jose, California, participating in major planning projects including the City’s Horizon 2000 General Plan update, urban service studies and energy planning. She began her career with positions at the City of Novato, California and the United States Geological Survey.