SEA Member Surveys Development Projects with Flair, Dedication



Phillip Lanides estimates that he’s traveled every street in the City of Sunnyvale.

That’s nearly 270 miles of road driven, walked, and inspected in less than two years.

Phillip serves as land development inspector at Sunnyvale where he coordinates and audits private development, commercial, residential and utility projects in the public right-of-way.  He makes sure hotel entries and exits are orderly per City requirements; that home additions include upgraded fire sprinkler and water meters for safety; that wheelchairs have access to sidewalks and ramps.

Phillip – a member of Local 21’s Sunnyvale Employees’ Association -- is surveying office towers, nine hotels, and three 450-plus unit apartment complexes.  He works with fellow SEA Member and land development inspector Steven Folkes examining the City’s private development projects.

“I like the people I work with in Sunnyvale,” said Phillip, an SEA Area Representative.  “It it’s raining, I can be in the office.  If it’s beautiful outside, I can go outside and spend my time in the field.  I believe I am fortunate to have a great balance of both.”

One of Phillip’s favorite projects was monitoring the redevelopment of office space at 221 North Mathilda Avenue.  The gleaming black glass building was eventually bought by 23andMe, an at-home DNA testing company, that installed outdoor glass façade artwork.  Another is a 450-unit apartment complex with a basketball court, children’s play area, and mini-park named after a beloved former City employee.

Phillip is a gregarious, talkative guy.  He’s traveled the world.  If you have some time, ask him about how he’s moved 45 times in 50 years, living in 10 states.  Or about his Boston Red Sox.  Or singing for the French president with his high school choir.  Or any one of the five college degrees he’s worked on over the past 12 years, including his most recent studies for an applied sciences doctoral degree.

His personality helps him deal with homeowners or contractors who have a lot of development questions, complaints, or potential code or design problems.

“You have to find the one thing that’s wrong.  There could be a million things right, but you have to find that one wrong item,” said Phillip, who’s been in the construction industry for nearly 50 years. “I have to make sure work is completed per City code and standards.  Also, I am able to make field changes if I believe it is in the best interests of public safety and the City of Sunnyvale.”

“We have codes and standards for very good reasons. We do it to protect you, the public.  We are that firewall that protects the public.”