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Diamond Star Associates, Inc. provides real estate development services to property owners, land developers, commercial builders, home builders, businesses, local governments, and the real estate brokerage industry. Specifically, we are experts in the field of “land use” regulation by city governments. We successfully communicate, interpret, and implement the goals of government through good land planning principles and project designs for our clients. Managing Principal Donald D. Lamm has thirty-six years of city government experience managing planning, building, and redevelopment agencies in five Southern California cities. Don left government in 2010 and founded Diamond Star Associates based on his extraordinary background of practical expertise as to how government operates and regulates land use. Over the past five years, Don and his staff have successfully processed numerous land use permits and subdivision applications in Orange County cities and throughout California. To date, every application and map has been approved which includes general plan amendments, zone changes, use permits, land development permits, parcel maps, tract maps, mitigated negative declarations, and full environmental impact reports. We believe cities were pleased with our services to “facilitate” good communication, thoughtful problem resolution, and to create visionary project designs for applicants, their communities, and city governments.


The Diamond Star team acts as project managers on all types of new development projects, remodeling of existing properties, and urban infill creative re-use of unique buildings. We often recruit the architectural, engineering, and creative visionary team to design the “highest and best” uses of land in mutual cooperation with city governments. By understanding the value of community opinions and dedication of hard working elected officials, we create great projects which are applauded by cities while creating substantial appreciation in property values, income generation, and job creation.


Whatever your real estate need, Diamond Star can create the vision, plan, project, and processing team. With Don’s experience as Assistant City Manager of Artesia 1974-76; Community Development Director of Cypress 1976-1983; Community Development Director of Tustin 1983-86; Deputy City Manager-Development Services Director of Costa Mesa 1986-2009; and, City Manager of Westminster 2009-2010, he simplifies complex land use proposals into rapidly achievable approvals by city governments. Don understands and implements city general plan “goals and objectives” through real projects and real success stories. Allow us to serve you and together we can create great projects.

Donald D. Lamm, AICP
Managing Principal

Don specializes in complex land use entitlement assignments ranging from single parcels up to large master planned communities; due diligence investigations; pro forma analysis; urban master planning; preparation of development agreements; negotiating with public agencies; and, assistance with positioning real property to obtain the greatest increase in value. Don has 36 years of experience managing local government planning, redevelopment, economic development, and building agencies.


While managing city planning agencies, Don was the responsible government official for notable projects such as:


  • 540 acres Cypress Business Park Specific Plan, Cypress, CA- 1982

  • 2,000 acres Tustin Ranch Specific Plan- The Irvine Company, property owner- 1983

  • South Coast Plaza, Costa Mesa- all expansions and tenant improvements – 1986-2009

  • Orange County Performing Arts Center, Costa Mesa- 1986

  • 20 story “Center Tower” and 21 story “Plaza Tower” office buildings, Costa Mesa-1986-1996

  • South Coast Metro Center’s- 1.3m s.f. office complex

  • Creating Costa Mesa’s “Arts District”

  • Metro pointe Center, Costa Mesa- Arnel Development

  • Automobile Club Processing Center expansion (700,000 s.f.) and development agreement

  • Home Ranch Specific Plan, 1.6 million s.f. of office, Costa Mesa- 1993- C.J. Segerstrom and Sons property owner

  • The Renee and Henry T. Segerstrom Concert Hall, Costa Mesa- 2006

  • The Irvine Company- IAC Communities- 880 unit “Enclave” Apartment complex

  • North Costa Mesa High Rise Residential Master Plan and EIR- eight 20 story condominium towers, 1,400 units, processed in one application/EIR on behalf of five owners-  Maguire Properties, C.J. Segerstrom and Sons, Sakioka Farms, Orange County Performing Arts Center, and Fifield Properties- obtained approval by the City and FAA without any challenge.

  • Creator and co-author of four Costa Mesa “Urban Plans” to encourage urban infill development without government redevelopment

  • 325,000 s.f.- Ikea Furnishings retail building on Home Ranch- attracted from Tustin.

  • Designer of Costa Mesa’s city entry signs and intersection street signs.

  • Seven major development agreements, including the Tustin Ranch, Southern California Automobile Club, Sakioka Farms, C.J. Segerstrom Home Ranch, OC Performing Arts Center, South Coast Plaza Metro Center, Maguire Properties, and others.

  • Five redevelopment project areas


Don has a Masters Degree in Public Administration; is a nationally certified city planner by the American Institute of Certified Planners “AICP”; a full Member of the Urban Land Institute “ULI”; 2009 Statewide President of the League of California Cities “Planning and Community Development Department”; 2009 President of the “Planning Directors Association of Orange County”; Member- International Council of Shopping Centers “ICSC”; 2011 Charter Member of the Association of California Cities, Orange County “ACCOC”; and, has a California real estate broker’s license. Under Don’s supervision, his planning departments have won 17 awards for city planning projects, and his Costa Mesa Building Official won “national building official of the year” in 2008. During the course of Don’s career he trained and mentored a substantial number of assistants. In 2010, seven of thirty-four community development directors in Orange County were trained and mentored by Don. To conclude Don’s government career, in 2011 he received the “lifetime achievement award” from the California Chapter of the American Planning Association.

Christopher J. Lamm, MBA

Chris has 14 years of experience in the Real Estate industry with commercial property management, commercial & residential broker, project manager, and development services. His focus is on land-use research, entitlement, use-permits, and project manages the real estate and investment opportunities for his clients.


Below are some of the projects that have been recently approved under his care: 

  • 224 unit apartment complex

  • 176 live/work residential lofts 

  • 89 unit affordable apartment complex

  • 180 residential units

  • 4 small lot single family detached units

  • 89 unit town-home/single family detached

  • Amend Master Plan to relocate major tenant

  • 2.8 acre site for limo/transportation business

  • CUP - 10,000sf Fitness studio 


Current projects: 

  • 820 residential units - Orange

  • 400 residential units - Santa Ana

  • 12 story hotel - Anaheim

  • Auto complex - Costa Mesa

  • Zone Change - La Palma

  • Zone Change - Artesia

  • CUP for Church - Irvine 


Chris received his Bachelors of Science degree in Economics from the University of Southern California and earned a Masters Degree in Business Administration from Chapman University. He is a Member of the Urban Land Institute “ULI” and a Member of the American Planning Association California Chapter "OCAPA".

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