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Human Resources
FLSA Designation: Exempt
February, 2005

PRINCIPAL PLANNER

Class specifications are intended to present a descriptive list of the range of duties performed by employees in the class. Specifications are not intended to reflect all duties performed within the job.

SUMMARY DESCRIPTION
Under general direction of the Planning Manager, assists in directing, coordinating, and overseeing the activities and operations of the Planning Division including assigned section or project area; oversees and participates in the performance of a full range of complex, responsible, and varied professional, programmatic, administrative, and technical work in support of various City current and/or long range planning programs and projects and in the implementation of the City’s general plan as well as related policies and regulations; serves as project manager over assigned major projects related to the development and implementation of land use and related City plans and policies including inter-departmental and inter-agency coordination, organizing and reviewing the work of professional, paraprofessional and technical staff in development or advanced planning projects, and performing the most complex planning functions within the area of assignment; and provides information and assistance to applicants, developers, consultants, the general public, and outside agencies and organizations regarding City codes, policies, standards, and processes related to planning related matters.

IDENTIFYING CHARACTERISTICS
This is considered the most advanced professional level class in the Planner series. Incumbents at this level oversee an assigned section, functional work group, or large/complex project area and serve as project manager on the largest and most difficult planning projects, which includes responsibility for conceiving complex planning projects, developing analysis and work methods, and reviewing the daily work of subordinate professional and technical staff. Assignments are typically received in broad, outline form, and incumbents are expected to act independently in developing applicable resources and information. The Principal Planner class is distinguished from Senior Planner class in that incumbents in the Principal Planner class exercise supervisory responsibility and project management responsibility on a daily basis for an assigned section, functional work group, or large/complex project area in addition to independently completing the most complex and difficult professional planning assignments.

REPRESENTATIVE DUTIES
The following duties are typical for this classification. Incumbents may not perform all of the listed duties and/or may be required to perform additional or different duties from those set forth below to address business needs and changing business practices.

  1. Assists in directing, coordinating, and overseeing the activities and operations of the Planning Division; oversee assigned section, functional work group, or large/complex project area; oversee and participate in the performance of the full range of complex, responsible, and varied professional, programmatic, administrative, and technical work in support of various City current and/or long range planning programs and projects and in the implementation of the City’s general plan as well as related policies and regulations.
  2. Participates in the development and implementation of goals, objectives, policies, and priorities for assigned programs; recommends and administers policies and procedures.
  3. Participates in monitoring and evaluating the efficiency and effectiveness of service delivery methods and procedures; recommends, within divisional policy, appropriate service and staffing levels.
  4. Participates in planning, directing, coordinating, and reviewing the work plan for planning staff; assigns work activities, projects, and programs; reviews and evaluates work products, methods, and procedures; meets with staff to identify and resolve problems.
  5. Participates in selecting, training, motivating, and evaluating assigned personnel; provides or coordinates staff training; works with employees to correct deficiencies.
  6. Participates in the development and administration of the Division’s annual budget; participates in the forecast of funds needed for staffing, equipment, materials, and supplies; participates in monitoring and approving expenditures; implements adjustments.
  7. Oversees and participates in planning, coordinating, directing, and preparing complex projects and research studies including phases of the General Plan, Zoning Ordinance, and special studies; oversees and participates in the preparation of reports and analysis regarding land use, zoning, urban design, population trends, transportation, community needs, and industrial needs.
  8. Recommends the use of land for residential, commercial, industrial, and community uses; oversees and participates in the review, development, revision, and maintenance of general plan elements, plans, zoning ordinances, and other policies and procedures.
  9. Oversees the development review process; schedules and attends Development Review Committee meetings regarding newly submitted development applications in order to provide preliminary comments to project applicants; schedules and attends Economic Development and Housing Committee meetings in order to receive feedback from decision makers; communicates and coordinates with other City departments, developers, and outside agencies throughout the development process to create the best possible development; meets with representatives of community organizations and other groups to encourage cooperative action or to resolve problems.
  10. Oversees and participates in the review and processing of various plans and applications for subdivision and commercial developments; collects and evaluates information related to the application process and determines conformity with laws, regulations, policies, and procedures; recommends approval or alternative approaches; conducts project site checks and field inspections.
  11. Oversees and participates in preparing, evaluating, and analyzing environmental documents; prepares Mitigated Negative Declarations (MND’s) as necessary; reviews MND’s and Environmental Impact Reports (EIR’s) prepared by professional consultants to ensure accuracy and provide appropriate feedback; prepares notices.
  12. Reviews ministerial permits, plans, and applications for conformance with the Municipal Code and approved projects.
  13. Conducts plan checks and reviews; reviews plans and provides comments to determine conformity with City laws, regulations, and policies.
  14. Prepares final resolutions, ordinances, environmental notices, plan approvals, and file cleanup after project completion; monitors conditions of approval after project completion for compliance.
  15. Oversees the provision of front counter and phone support; provides complex information and assistance to developers, property owners, the public, other departments, and outside agencies regarding laws, regulations, standards, policies and procedures related to the submission of plans, processing of applications, and implementation requirements; investigates and answers the more complex questions from the public regarding planning and zoning; responds to complaints of zoning code violations.
  16. Performs a wide range of duties in support of the Planning Commission as well as the City Council and other boards and commissions; oversees and coordinates preparation of meeting agendas for various commissions, boards, and community groups including reviewing draft materials and preparing comments; organizes meetings and work sessions; prepares public hearing notices ensuring timely notification of appropriate parties; prepares and presents staff reports and other presentations for the City Council, Planning Commission, and other commissions, boards, and community groups.
  17. Serves as the liaison for assigned functions and projects of the Planning Division with other divisions, departments, and outside agencies; meets with developers, engineers, architects, and other project proponents to explain City policies, design issues, and City standards relating to new project development; negotiates and resolves sensitive and controversial issues; serves as technical advisor to City staff and officials, public agencies, and members of the public.
  18. Act in the absence of the division manager.
  19. Performs related duties as required.
QUALIFICATIONS
The following generally describes the knowledge and ability required to enter the job and/or be learned within a short period of time in order to successfully perform the assigned duties.

Knowledge of:
Operations, services, and activities of a community planning and development program. Local government organization and the functions and practices of a municipal planning unit and relationships among various local and governmental entities. Basic principles and practices of program development and administration. Basic principles and practices of municipal budget preparation and administration. Principles of supervision, training, and performance evaluation. Negotiation and presentation principles and practices. Modern principles, practices, and techniques of current and advanced planning including land use, environmental policy analysis, natural resource management, municipal service deliver, physical design, landscape architecture, demographics, and economic and social concepts as applied to municipal planning. Development review procedures and requirements. Site planning and architectural design principles. Pertinent federal, state, and local laws, codes, and regulations including laws underlying general plans, zoning and land divisions, and applicable environmental laws and regulations. Recent developments, current literature, research methods, and sources of information related to municipal planning, urban growth, and development. Methods and techniques of effective technical report preparation and presentation. Statistical methods and research techniques applicable to the preparation of municipal planning studies. Methods and techniques of eliciting community participation in planning and development issues. Modern office procedures, methods, and equipment including computers and supporting software applications.Ability to:
Participate in the management of a comprehensive planning functional or program area such as current and/or advanced planning activities and projects. Participate in the development and administration of program area goals, objectives, and procedures. Make adjustments to operating procedures as necessary to improve organizational effectiveness. Research, analyze, and evaluate new service delivery methods and techniques. Participate in preparing and administering large program budgets. Oversee, direct, and coordinate the work of lower level staff. Participate in selecting, supervising, training, and evaluating assigned staff. Plan, organize, direct, coordinate, and evaluate the most complex and significant current and/or advanced planning programs, projects, events, and/or technical area. Review and prepare ordinances, resolutions, and other legal documents. Perform a full range of complex and difficult professional analytical, programmatic and administrative duties involving the use of independent judgment and personal initiative. Organize and prioritize timelines and project schedules in an effective and timely manner. Analyze complex problems, identify alternative solutions, project consequences of proposed actions and implement recommendations in support of goals. Understand the organization and operation of the City, assigned program, and of outside agencies as necessary to assume assigned responsibilities. Apply policies, procedures and standards pertaining to the municipal planning process. Interpret maps, site and building plans and specifications, graphs and statistical data. Interpret, analyze, apply, implement, and explain pertinent federal, state, and local laws, codes, and regulations including City codes and departmental policies and administrative directives. Interpret planning and zoning programs to the general public. Analyze and compile statistical and technical information Develop recommendations regarding the use of property. Identify and respond to community and organizational issues, concerns, and needs. Process the full range of development applications and coordinate necessary communication between staff, developer, and other agencies. Analyze projects and potential projects for consistency with planning regulations, general planning principles, and architectural quality. Prepare and analyze technical and administrative reports, statements, and correspondence. Present technical data in verbal, written, graphic, and map form to City management staff and variety of boards and commissions. Represent the City effectively in meetings with commissions, community groups, governmental bodies, the media and the public. Exercise sound independent judgment within established guidelines. Establish and maintain various data collection, record keeping, tracking, filing, and reporting systems. Work under steady pressure with frequent interruptions and a high degree of public contact by phone or in person. Operate modern office equipment and computers including specialized computer applications. Communicate clearly and concisely, both orally and in writing. Establish and maintain effective working relationships with those contacted in the course of work.

Education and Experience Guidelines - Any combination of education and experience that would likely provide the required knowledge and abilities is qualifying. A typical way to obtain the knowledge and abilities would be:

Education/Training:
A Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university with major course work in urban or regional planning, architecture or a related field. A Master’s degree is desirable and may substitute for two years of experience.

Experience:
Seven years of increasingly responsible experience in urban or regional planning including one year of project management and supervisory responsibility.

License or Certificate:
Possession of an appropriate driver’s license. Certification by the American Institute of Certified Planners is desirable.

PHYSICAL DEMANDS AND WORKING ENVIRONMENT
The conditions herein are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential job functions.

Environment: Work is performed primarily in a standard office environment with some travel to different sites; occasionally works in outside weather conditions; incumbents may be required to work extended hours including evenings and weekends and may be required to travel outside City boundaries to attend meetings.

Physical: Primary functions require sufficient physical ability and mobility to work in an office setting; to stand or sit for prolonged periods of time; to occasionally stoop, bend, kneel, crouch, reach, and twist; to lift, carry, push, and/or pull light to moderate amounts of weight; to operate office equipment requiring repetitive hand movement and fine coordination including use of a computer keyboard; to travel to other locations using various modes of private and commercial transportation; and to verbally communicate to exchange information.

Vision: See in the normal visual range with or without correction.

Hearing: Hear in the normal audio range with or without correction.

Human Resources Division   
   (925) 516-5191
150 City Park Way   
TTD
   (925) 516-5409
Brentwood, CA 94513  
  (925) 516-5446