City of Walnut Creek, Planning Manager

The City of Walnut Creek is seeking a talented professional planner and creative leader to manage and provide leadership to its Planning Division.  The Planning Manager will guide planning staff through discretionary review processes for a variety of exciting and interesting development projects (both commercial and residential) in accordance with the City’s adopted General Plan and land use and development regulations while also providing an opportunity to foster new ideas and lead change management for streamlining and improving our development services processes. The City is strongly supportive of employee growth and succession planning. The successful candidate will be expected to take an active role in his/her personal professional development, including training and active participation in professional associations as well as providing training and professional growth opportunities for their staff.

The Planning Manager reports directly to the Community & Economic Development Director and manages a staff of fifteen employees.  Major focus areas include the implementation and administration of land use and development policies and regulations; assisting residents, developers, and real estate professionals with land use questions and procedures; conducting development related environmental review; and supporting the City’s Development Services process improvement program and economic development activities.

The Planning Manager oversees the current and long range planning and code enforcement functions for the City, administers the Planning Division’s budget, and is a key member of the Community & Economic Development Department’s management team. The Planning Manager also acts as the Planning Commission secretary and has indirect responsibility for the Design Review Commission’s agenda. Other valued services of the Planning Division include providing liaison support to various City commissions including the Arts Commission; Park, Recreation, and Open Space Commission; Transportation Commission; and coordinating with outside agencies such as the Association of Bay Area Governments, Contra Costa County, Metropolitan Transportation Commission, and Contra Costa Transportation Authority.

Key Projects for the Planning Manager include:

  • Implementation of the Development Services Action Plan and Blueprint for Success; completion of two Downtown Specific Plans; and providing strong leadership, mentoring, and professional growth and guidance for staff.
  • Plans, organizes, directs, and coordinates all Planning Division activities including current and advanced planning and code enforcement activities; prepares and administers the Division’s budget.
  • Develops and implements procedures for the processing of work; analyzes proposed projects and prepares staff reports, including recommendations on action to be taken and related justification; confers with developers and citizens on proposed projects and gives direction and advice on how to gain compliance with City policies, codes, and regulations.
  • Selects, supervises, and evaluates the work of consultants and integrates consultants’ work into the Division’s work program.
  • Reviews community growth patterns, trends in land use, community needs, and other factors in originating recommendations for controlling and regulating community development.
  • Serves as Secretary to and provides administrative support to the Planning Commission; makes presentations to the City Council and other groups concerning planning projects; prepares or directs the preparation of detailed studies related to proposed developments, long range plans, and special projects, as assigned; may conduct general administrative projects concerning matters outside the scope of the planning function.
  • Coordinates planning activities with those of other City departments and outside agencies; addresses public complaints regarding land use and planning activities.
  • Evaluates Division staffing arrangements, staffing levels, and work assignments and makes necessary recommendations to the Department Director; sets performance standards for Division staff and evaluates performance; submits hiring and termination recommendations for Division staff to the Department Director.
  • May serve as Community Development Director in the Director’s absence.

Contacts and Relationships:

The employee has contact with essentially all persons affected or interested in the City’s planning and development. A majority of the contacts are developers, consultants, City advisory and policy-making bodies, and residents. The acceptance or rejection by the City of given projects can be influenced by the employee’s ability to properly communicate community development policies.


The employee is accountable to the Community Development Director for both administration of the City’s planning activity and for final review of major planning policy recommendations. The employee is expected to apply modern urban planning concepts and principles in providing advice and assistance to City officials, City commissioners, and staff.

The employee is responsible for complying with all City safety requirements and practices. Additionally, the employee is responsible for ensuring that any direct reports also comply with all City safety requirements and practices.

Education and Experience:

Qualification guidelines for this position include a bachelor’s degree from an accredited four-year college or university with a major in Urban Studies, City and Regional Planning, Environmental Planning, Public Administration; and a minimum of five years of extensive, increasingly responsible administrative and supervisory experience in urban planning; or any equivalent combination of education and experience that provides the knowledge, skills and abilities listed below.

The Ideal Candidate:

The ideal candidate will have a passion for public service and demonstrated  successful experience in local government planning management; be a strong leader, motivator and team builder; work effectively with Planning Commissions and Councils; create strong ties with the public; have a thorough knowledge of planning practices and principles; have a high comfort level with improving systems, process and procedures; have strong knowledge of and experience with current and advance planning technologies; and be an outstanding communicator, verbally and in writing. The ideal candidate will also be able to maintain and enhance a positive work environment while ensuring high quality customer service and efficient project management.

In addition, the Planning Manager will have a track record of demonstrating:

  • Solid leadership through managing work groups by inspiring and advising others;
  • Advocacy and fairness, optimizing opportunities to explore idea, opinions, and insights from all perspectives;
  • Approachability through a style that fosters trust, loyalty, respect, commitment, and partnership;
  • A strong sense of collaboration, building consensus and cultivating successful working relationships;
  • Goal accomplishment by developing tracking methods, communicating expectations, and evaluating performance to ensure success;
  • Flexibility and effectiveness when experiencing interpretation of regulations, work priorities, and budgetary challenges;
  • Thorough knowledge of principles, practices and methods of modern, comprehensive, municipal planning programs, as well as methods of supervision, training techniques, leadership, organizational and operational control budgeting;
  • Deep understanding of principles and practice of city, county, and regional planning, as related to land use planning, site planning and architecture design, state law governing zoning, subdivisions, environmental regulations, and understanding of current trends in municipal planning;
  • Eloquent and persuasive communication; ability to inspire confidence and build support within and outside the organization;
  • Problem-solving, imposing high standards for quality and strong commitment to public service;
  • Ability to explore situations from multiple perspectives while quickly calculating risks and initiating action to achieve recognized benefits.

Special Requirements:

Possession of, or ability to obtain prior to employment, a valid Class C California Driver’s License and a good driving record.

Please see the class specification at for a complete description of this classification’s representative duties, requirements, working conditions, and physical requirements.

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