Principal Planner

  • Novato, CA
  • $110,400 - $134,193 USD / Year

Website City of Novato

One of the Bay Area’s premier communities, Novato is located in Marin County 29 miles north of San Francisco. The second largest city in the County, Novato has a current population of about 56,000 and covers 28 square miles.

Novato residents enjoy a thriving and family-oriented community with abundant educational, recreational, retail, and business opportunities. The residents are actively involved in important local decisions about quality of life issues and the future direction of their city as the City Council encourages a high level of interaction between its citizenry and city government so that important issues are vigorously debated and discussed. The community fosters a small town atmosphere due to its low population density, high amount of open space and parks, vibrant downtown, and engaged community members.

Under general direction, supervises, assigns, reviews, and participates in the work of staff responsible for providing services and activities in an assigned section and/or functional area of the Planning Division including in the areas of current or advanced planning, zoning administration, affordable housing, and/or special projects; ensures work quality and adherence to established policies and procedures; and independently performs the more technical and complex tasks relative to assigned area of responsibility.  This recruitment is intended to primarily support the current planning functions of the Planning Division, but advanced planning assignments are possible depending on the Division’s needs.

Essential Function Statements:
Essential and other important responsibilities and duties may include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Plan, prioritize, assign, supervise, review, and participate in the work of staff responsible for providing services and activities in an assigned section and/or functional area in the Planning Division including in the areas of current or advanced planning, zoning administration, affordable housing, and/or special projects.
  • Establish schedules and methods for providing assigned services; identify resource needs; review needs with appropriate management staff; allocate resources accordingly.
  • Participate in the development of goals and objectives as well as policies and procedures; make recommendations for changes and improvements to existing standards, policies, and procedures; participate in the implementation of approved policies and procedures; monitor work activities to ensure compliance with established policies and procedures.
  • Participate in the selection of professional, technical, and clerical planning staff; provide or coordinate staff training; work with employees to correct deficiencies; implement discipline procedures.
  • Participate in the preparation and administration of the assigned budget; submit budget recommendations; monitor expenditures.
  • Supervise the work and monitor the budget of cost recovery programs for consultant planning assistance on projects; coordinate contract management with other staff.
  • Manage and staff assigned boards, commissions, and committees involved in the development, adoption, and implementation of City plans and planning regulations including the Planning Commission and Design Review Commission; provide orientation and staff support to members; schedule meetings; manage the agenda development process including compiling and reviewing pertinent agenda items appearing before public hearings and various committee and commission meetings.
  • Attend meetings of the City Council, Planning Commission, and Design Review Commission and other city boards and committees as necessary, and public hearings; prepare and present staff reports; advise members and citizens on matters relating to planning activities, development, and ordinances.
  • Coordinate activities, confer with, advise, and provide information and assistance to other City departments and outside organizations and agencies; coordinate project application processing and external requests for information or assistance with other departments and agencies.
  • Assume responsibility for the development and administration of the general plan and specific plans and amendments thereto; prepare planning recommendations, plans, and consistency determinations; prepare annual reports on implementation.
  • Provide responsible staff assistance to the Deputy Public Works Director; prepare analytical and statistical reports on operations and activities.
  • As assigned, act as the Zoning Administrator; accept and analyze applications; prepare appropriate noticing and advertising; conduct public hearings and follow up on matters requiring a zoning administration decision; interpret zoning ordinances.
  • As assigned, act as the Environmental Coordinator; interpret and apply environmental quality laws and regulations to ensure compliance with development, City projects, and municipal code amendments. 
    As assigned, assist in administering the City’s housing programs.
  • As assigned, assume responsibility for facilitating and overseeing project development and review of public improvement projects.
  • As assigned, supervise the Planning Division’s public counter coverage and services.
  • Supervise planning studies within the community; evaluate and analyze data for use in current and long range planning projects; manage special studies or projects as assigned.
  • Research and prepare grant proposal and applications; administer and monitor programs and grant funds to achieve stated goals; manage fund disbursement to consultants as necessary; prepare grant status reports as required.
  • Respond to and resolve difficult and sensitive citizen inquiries and complaints; provide information to citizens and developers on zoning, sign, subdivision, business licensing, home occupation permit uses, and other related matters.
  • Attend and participate in professional group meetings; stay abreast of new trends and innovations in the field of urban planning and zoning administration; advise and inform staff of related matters; incorporate new developments as appropriate into programs.
  • Serve as Community Development Director designee to review and take action on administrative level development applications.
  • Serve as Deputy Community Development Director, as assigned, in the absence of the Deputy Community Development Director.

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:
Equivalent to a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university with major course work in urban planning, regional planning, or a closely related field.
Four years of increasingly responsible urban planning, regional planning, community development or zoning administration including experience in a local government and two years of lead supervisory and project management experience.
License or Certificate:
Possession of an appropriate, valid driver’s license.

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