City of Berkeley – Associate Planner

Learn more about this position by reading below:

The City of Berkeley is currently seeking applications from highly qualified individuals for Associate Planner. This classification is located in the Land Use Planning Division of the Planning Department, in the Community Services & Administration Division in the Health, Housing & Community Services Department, in the Transportation Division of the Public Works Department, and in the City of Berkeley Rent Stabilization Board.

Under general supervision, performs professional municipal planning work, including conducting planning studies, collecting and presenting data and preparing reports; may serve as a group or project leader for professional and technical personnel; performs related work as assigned.

This is the journey level class in the professional planning series. Incumbents conduct planning research and analysis on moderate to difficult projects. The work requires the exercise of considerable independence in preparing planning studies and reports on short range, well defined assignments and making presentations on such projects. Work may include assisting with the work instruction or project direction of new staff members. This class differs from Senior Planner in that the latter is the specialist or lead level of the series, exercising a higher degree of independent judgment on diverse and specialized assignments with a greater degree of accountability and on going decision making.

Provided below are specific responsibilities for departments that staff Associate Planners: 

Health, Housing and Community Services:
The associate planner in the housing services unit of the health housing and community services department performs a variety of professional activities in support of the city’s affordable housing and community development programs. Work requires the exercise of considerable independence and sound judgment in evaluating proposed development projects’ compliance with applicable environmental and affordable housing regulations.  These regulations typically include the federal NEPA, local inclusionary housing and housing mitigation fee and condominium conversion programs.  The associate planner also prepares clear,  concise  and complete written agreements with project sponsors using provided guidelines.

Public Works Transportation Division:
The Associate Planner in the Public Works Department works on a variety of programs and initiatives, such as developing and implementing the City’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Plans and other transportation plans; supporting transportation capital improvement projects and developing Complete Streets projects; and coordinating with transit providers, primarily AC Transit, on transit projects affecting Berkeley, including service planning and bus stop improvements. Additional duties may include assisting in grant applications, grant compliance, procurement of consultants, and consultant contract management.

Planning Land Use Division:
The Associate Planner in the Planning Department performs a variety of professional activities in support of the City’s planning services. In this journey-level class, incumbents conduct planning research and analysis on moderate to difficult projects. Work requires the exercise of considerable independence in preparing planning studies and reports on well-defined assignments and making presentations on such projects.  The Land Use Planning Division administers zoning regulations, reviews development projects and assists the community in its efforts to plan for the City’s physical, cultural, environmental, and socio-economic future.  If current planning activities are assigned, work will include data collection, provision of information to the public at the zoning counter, processing development applications, and environmental review. If policy planning activities are assigned, work will include ordinance and plan revisions, data collection and analysis, and other land use studies.

Code Enforcement:
The Code Enforcement assignment requires the investigation, tracking, and exercise of judgment in enforcing pertinent sections of the municipal code as it applies to land use and zoning.  This includes taking complaints by phone and initiating enforcement programs such as for short term rentals.  It also involves interagency coordination on “problem properties” and enforcing conditions of approval for active projects.

Typical duties for the Associate Planner classification include, but are not limited to:

  1. Plans and conducts research studies and prepares reports and recommendations regarding land use, zoning, urban design, population trends,transportation, housing, redevelopment, economic development and community service needs;
  2. Develops, maintains, updates, and analyzes demographic and other data required for the planning function and assists with the review, development, or revision of the various elements of the General Plan, environmental impact reports, plans, ordinances and other policies and procedures;
  3. Uses computers and software programs for various technical planning projects and studies;
  4. Provides information and assistance to developers, property owners, and the general public regarding laws, policies, regulations, standards, and procedures in respect to the submission of plans, processing of applications, and implementation requirements;
  5. Reviews, investigates, and processes various plans and applications for subdivisions, housing and commercial developments, variances, use permits, and business licenses; determines conformity with laws, policies, regulations, and procedures; recommends approval, identifies problems and alternatives;
  6. Coordinates the preparation of meeting agendas for various commissions, boards and community groups; reviews pertinent materials and prepares comments; organizes conferences and work sessions and ensures timely notification of appropriate parties;
  7. Prepares a variety of written communications, including analytical reports, commentaries, correspondence, and drafts of revisions to local ordinances, policies and procedures;
  8. Develops and maintains a statistical reporting system; compiles, analyzes and interprets data to define environmental conditions, social, economic and housing trends, community needs and zoning problems;
  9. Makes field surveys and investigations related to planning and zoning projects or requests; makes presentations or prepares material for presentation to the City Council, Boards and commissions and community groups; answers questions and provides information and assistance to the public in person, on the telephone and in writing; may act as liaison with other agencies, departments and planning sections;
  10. Prepares maps, graphs, charts and other visual aids to illustrate presentation of planning studies; develops and prepares material for pamphlets, brochures and publications;
  11. May instruct others in work procedures and may provide direction to others on a project basis;
  12. Performs related work as assigned.

The eligible list resulting from this recruitment will be used to fill vacancies for all city departments. In order to be considered for any of the City’s permanent or temporary vacancies for Associate Planner during the next year, you must submit an employment application and responses to the supplemental questionnaire prior to the application deadline, and pass all examination phases.

 Required Qualifications:
Equivalent to graduation from a four year college with major coursework in city, regional, or urban planning or a closely related field.


Two (2) years of professional planning experience. Progressively responsible related experience may be substituted for the college coursework on a year-for-year basis.

Other Requirements
A valid California driver’s license is desirable. Must be able to attend evening meetings as required.

 Knowledge and Abilities:
Knowledge of: Objectives, principles, procedures, standards, practices information sources and trends of municipal urban planning; Implementation of zoning subdivision, design review, landmarks, environmental review and other municipal ordinances; Methods used in developing information for General Plan modifications; Application of land use, physical design, economic, environmental, and/or social concepts to the planning process; Housing trends, market analysis techniques, programs and financing mechanisms for low and moderate income families; Mathematical concepts, including statistical analysis techniques and formulae relevant to the planning process; Methods, techniques and instruments used in planning and map drafting; Local government organization and the functions and practices of a municipal planning unit; Fiscal and real estate analyses.

Ability to: Perform increasingly responsible and varied assignments under decreasing degrees of supervision; Understand and apply those aspects of federal, state and local laws, regulations, policies, procedures and standards pertaining to the planning process; Interpret maps, site and building plans and specifications, graphs and statistical data; Research, analyze, and summarize planning data both manually and with basic computer programs; Prepare clear visual displays, such as maps, graphs, and illustrations; Make clear and persuasive presentations of ideas; prepare clear, concise and complete technical documents, reports, correspondence and other written materials; Exercise sound independent judgment within established guidelines; Instruct others in work procedures and provide specific project direction; Establish and maintain effective working relationships with those contacted in the course of work.

 Application Process:
Applicants must submit the following:

All materials must be received in our office no later than the closing date, at 5:00 p.m. PST. Postmarks, faxes and incomplete applications will not be accepted. Resumes are not a substitute for a completed application.

The examination process will consist of:
  1. Review of applications for minimum qualifications for the position and to ensure all materials have been submitted.
  2. Written Examination – Applicants possessing these requirements will advance to a written examination tentatively scheduled for March 21, 2020. The examination will cover elements of the knowledge and abilities identified in this announcement.
Applicants passing all examination phases will have their names placed on an employment eligible list that hiring department(s) will use to conduct final selection interviews. Hiring Department(s) will contact applicants directly if selected to participate in their hiring/selection process.

Candidates under final consideration for employment with the City should expect to undergo an employment background / reference check that may include, but is not limited to: employment history, confirmation of educational credentials and degrees, licenses including driver’s license, registrations, certificates, and other credentials as part of the appointment process. Some positions, depending on the nature of the work, also require a credit check and a review of Summary Criminal History obtained from the State Department of Justice through Live Scan Fingerprinting.
DISCLAIMER: The provisions of this bulletin do not constitute a contract, expressed or implied, and any provisions contained in this bulletin may be modified or revoked without notice. Tests may consist of any combination of written, oral or other exercises or assessment procedures that test content. Components may include, but are not necessarily limited to, typing, math, reading, writing and analytical skills; problem solving ability; computer and software proficiency, or any other job-related knowledge, skill, ability or qualification. The City may, without notice, change or eliminate any particular assessment component or combination of components as needs dictate.
All City employees are required to provide services as Disaster Service Workers in the event of an emergency / disaster.

Exam Access Accommodation: In compliance with local, state and federal laws and regulations, the City of Berkeley will employ and promote qualified individuals without regard to disability. The City is committed to making reasonable accommodations in the examination process and in the work environment. Individuals requesting reasonable accommodations in the examination process must do so no later than the final filing date for receipt of applications, otherwise it may not be possible to arrange accommodations for the selection process. Such requests should be addressed to the Department of Human Resources | (510) 981-6800| |  2180 Milvia Street, 1st Floor, Berkeley CA 94704.

Alternative Application Formats: This application material is available in alternative formats upon request. Alternative formats include audio-format, braille, large print, electronic text, etc. Please contact the ADA Coordinator, 2180 Milvia Street, Berkeley | Phone: (510) 981-6300 | TTY: (510) 981-6347| and allow 7-10 days for production of the material in an alternative format.

The City of Berkeley is an EEO/ADA Employer.