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SENIOR PLANNER

Definition:

Under direction of the Department Director, administers specified planning activities including current planning, zoning and subdivision ordinance, advanced planning and the General Plan; complex professional planning activities, such as serving as project manager for complex development and land use applications; provides professional information and assistance to the Director, the Planning Commission, the City Council, developers, contractors and the general public; performs a variety of studies and prepares and presents staff reports; serves on review committees; and performs related work as required.

Class Characteristics:

This class is the advanced journey-level in the professional planning classification series with responsibilities spanning the full spectrum of planning functions encountered by a developing City. Incumbents may be in charge of either Current Planning/Zoning Administration or Advanced Planning. Successful performance of the work requires an extensive professional background as well as skills in coordinating assignments with those of other City departments and public agencies. The class is distinguished from Director in that the latter has responsibility for overall planning functions and for developing, implementing and interpreting public policy. It is distinguished from the next lower level of Associate Planner in that the Senior Planner handles more complex applications and has full supervisory authority over lower-level Planners.

Examples of Key Duties: (Duties are illustrative and not inclusive and may vary with individual assignment.)

  • Reviews applications for residential, commercial and industrial development; evaluates alternatives and conformance with City policies, ordinances, the General Plan and state and federal laws; prepares and presents staff reports to the Planning Commission and City Council regarding such applications.
  • Serves as project manager for complex planning projects, including analyzing and evaluating site and architectural plans, performing technical review for project plans and applications and making recommendations; manages consultant contacts including determining scope of work and budgets, tracking budgets and approving contract payments.
  • Supervises professional, technical and support staff, including determining workloads and schedules, developing and interpreting policies and procedures, effectively evaluating staff performance and making hiring and termination recommendations.
  • Updates and creates long-range planning documents such as the City’s General Plan and other assigned plans; prepares modifications to specific General Plan elements.
  • Reviews applications for zoning variances and other occupancies for conformance to applicable ordinances and policies.
  • Prepares written project analysis including identifying appropriate land use policy, design issues and environmental requirements; makes recommendations for action.
  • Serves as staff liaison for review boards, ad-hoc committees and elected officials, including providing technical advice and giving presentations.
  • Confers with and provides information to property owners, contractors, developers, engineers architects and the public regarding conformance to standards, plans specifications and codes; explains codes, requirements and procedures and evaluates alternatives.
  • Conducts site inspections, including determining if projects are in compliance with laws, regulations and ordinances, makes recommendations on changes.
  • Performs other duties of a similar nature or level.

Qualifications:

Education and Experience:

Equivalent to graduation from a four-year college or university with major coursework in city, urban or environmental planning, architecture or a field related to the area of assignment and five years of planning related experience, which must have included two years of project management or supervisory experience; or an equivalent combination of education and experience sufficient to successfully perform the essential duties of the job as listed above.

Licenses:

At the option of the appointing authority or the City, persons hired into this class may be required either to possess at entry or obtain within specified time limits designated licenses, professional registration, certification or specialized education and training related to the area of assignment. Must possess and maintain a valid California class C driver’s license and a satisfactory driving record.

Physical Requirements and Working Conditions:

Must possess mobility to work in a standard office setting and to use standard office equipment, including a computer, and to attend meetings at various sites within the City and away from the City and to inspect various work, building or construction sites; strength to lift and carry materials and equipment up to 25 pounds, vision to read printed materials and a computer screen; and hearing and speech to communicate in person and over the telephone and/or radio.

Knowledge of: (at entry)
  • Principles, practices and procedures related to City and regional planning and zoning administration, including applicable laws and regulations;
  • Comprehensive plans and current planning and the development process;
  • Computer applications related to the work, including basic GIS concepts and applications;
  • Project management techniques;
  • Practices of researching planning issues, evaluating alternatives, making sound recommendations, and preparing and presenting effective staff reports;
  • Principles and practices of effective supervision;
  • Project management techniques; and
  • Techniques for effectively representing the City with governmental agencies, community groups, business, professional and regulatory bodies and with property owners, developers, contractors and the general public.
Skill in: (at entry)
  • Administering complex current and advanced planning and zoning conformance activities in an independent and effective manner;
  • Conducting complex planning research projects, evaluating alternatives, making sound recommendations and preparing effective technical staff reports;
  • Interpreting, applying and explaining complex laws, codes, regulations and ordinances;
  • Directing and reviewing the work of support staff on a project or day-to-day basis and training staff in work procedures;
  • Effectively representing the department and the City in meetings with governmental agencies, community groups and various business, professional and regulatory organizations, and in meetings with individuals;
  • Conducting zoning studies and interpreting City zoning laws, regulations and codes;
  • Using specialized computer software such as GIS and AutoCad;
  • Reading blueprints and site plans and conducting site inspections; and
  • Communicating effectively with officials, co-workers, subordinates, the general public, representatives of organizations and others sufficient to exchange or convey information and receive work direction.

 

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