Director of Land Use and Development
Smart Growth America

Toccarra Nicole Thomas, AICP, CQIA, MBA, MAURP is the Director of Land Use and Development for Smart Growth America (SGA), a national nonprofit that envisions a country where no matter where you live, or who you are, you can enjoy living in a place that is healthy, prosperous, and resilient. At SGA Toccarra Nicole advocates for zoning reform and housing attainability by leading thought leadership, technical assistance, and political advocacy projects as well as serving as the Executive Director of the Form-Based Codes Institute where she advocates for the adoption of Form-Based Codes as the preferred regulatory tool to create healthy people-centered communities.

Before joining SGA Toccarra Nicole served as the Director of Development Services at the City of Redding where she spearheaded process initiatives to simulate housing development, policies and approaches that met the needs of a diverse and dynamic citizenry such as the development of a pre-approved ADU process, was well as incorporating smart growth approaches, policies, and programs, the comprehensive General Plan update. Prior to that, Toccarra Nicole worked as the Deputy Director of Community Development for the County of Lake where she adopted the 6th Cycle Housing Element which reestablished the County’s eligibility for federal funding and programs, streamlined the permit processes to eliminate a significant permit backlog, developed strategies for workforce housing to address the housing crisis in the County, all while mentoring and instructing staff on the basics of land use decisions and planning.

Toccarra Nicole became a planner because she noticed at an early age that planning was inherently inequitable although she did not necessarily have the vocabulary of equitable planning and she has always been passionate about housing for all. A lifelong learner, Toccarra Nicole earned a Master of Arts in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Florida, Dual Minoring in Historic Preservation and Affordable Housing (she was even a HUD Scholar), a Master of Business Administration in Supply Chain Management from the University of Tennessee (think of Urban Planning as the Macro view of communities, and Supply Chain Management which is the movement of goods through a community as the micro view). When she is not at work Toccarra Nicole enjoys volunteering, serving on boards, practicing yoga, and writing on her blog.

Speaking at the Following:

Feb 20

Tuesday, February 20, 2024

A Look Back on the Latest State and Local Housing Policy Innovations

3:45pm – 5:00pm
Hilton Austin, Governor's Salon D, Floor 4

State and local governments have been making the news in recent years; pushing legislation, new funding and other proposals to advance attainable housing production and preservation in their communities. This panel will bring together a few examples from around the country to discuss changes at the state and local levels, what has been successful and where challenges remain. This session is eligible for 1.25 AICP credits. Sign-in sheets will be available at the conference.