City of Sammamish, WA – Principal Planner

The Principal Planner position is the most advanced in a professional planner classification series focusing on customer service, complex development permitting, environmental review, shorelines management, code development, continuous improvement initiatives and special projects. This position will work independently in public contact, hearing and meeting, and field situations. Substantial independent judgment regarding project and permit management will be exercised.

The Principal Planner will be part of the Community Development Department’s management team. This position will serve as the primary Community Development Liaison to the Hearing Examiner and will intermittently work with City Council and Planning Commission as assigned. Additionally, this position will form important working relationships with other public agencies, City departments and divisions, stakeholders as well as the public to provide information and advice on sensitive community issues.

SALARY RANGE………… $80,553 – $110,242 per year (Grade O)

To be considered for this position, please apply via link below:


This Principal Planner position is under the general supervision of the Community Development Director or designee.


This Principal Planner position will provide mentorship and direct supervision of other professional planners and/or related staff. Additionally, this position may on occasion serve as the Acting Director or Acting Deputy Director for the department.


  • Reviews complex, large-scale development proposals for compliance with applicable land use, environmental, zoning, and design regulations; issues correction requests, approves plans, certifies compliance, and conducts follow-up inspections.
  • Reviews development proposals, city activities, and proposals by other agencies with respect to feasibility, effect on City growth, environmental impacts, and makes recommendations to the Deputy Director, Director, and City Manager.
  • Prepares staff reports, analysis and recommendations for a variety of land use permits, including variances, rezones, conditional uses, planned development, shoreline permits, and subdivisions. Represents the City before the City Hearing Examiner.
  • Researches, drafts, and manages amendments to the City’s Comprehensive Plan and related implementing ordinances, including the preparation of various studies and reports.
  • Performs lead role in the long-range planning, code development or other special projects as assigned.
  • May serve in the capacity of State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) Responsible Official on behalf of the City as appointed by the Director.
  • May serve in the capacity of Shoreline Master Program Administrator on behalf of the City as appointed by the Director.
  • May coordinate annual updates related to the Comprehensive and Capital Facilities Plans.
  • Prepares ordinances or revisions to ordinances related to land use and development to implement the Comprehensive Plan.
  • Provides excellent customer service, participates constructively and effectively in the department management team, may represent the City at selected applicable meetings, and provides leadership with regard to implementing the department mission.
  • Act as project manager in managing consultants, staff, and other department input for Environmental Impact Statements or for other planning projects for the department. Reviews EIS documents, State Environmental Policy Act checklists, and technical reports and makes recommendations to the Director on environmental issues and mitigation. Coordinates and consults with Parks & Recreation and Public Works Departments on planning projects.
  • Provides information to the public, including architects, engineers, planners, builders, contractors, real estate representatives, and home owners, regarding land use, zoning, planning activities, and community development projects.
  • Represents the department at various meetings of local, regional, and county organizations and groups. Works with Citizen Advisory Boards; attends meetings and provides Boards with technical support.
  • Supervises the work of consultants providing advice and assistance to department activities.
  • Good driving record and ability to drive a city vehicle.
  • Other duties as assigned.


Knowledge of:

  • Planning principles, including zoning, environmental review and analysis, urban design, planning theory, land use law, socio-economic and demographic analysis, and land development as applied to a small growing city.
  • Public participation techniques as applied to planning and community development projects.
  • Washington State Planning laws and procedures, including Growth Management Act, State Environmental Policy Act, Shoreline Management Act, Subdivision law, regulatory reform, and other state and federal laws related to the operation of the department.
  • Modern trends in literature in the field of land use planning.

Skills / Abilities:

  • Review architectural plans, site and landscape plans, building elevations, and related materials to determine compliance with applicable land use, design, zoning, and environmental regulations.
  • Ability to communicate effectively and professionally in writing, orally, and in person to a wide range of clientele.
  • Work constructively in a team environment with customers and other staff to seek solutions and gain code compliance or complete planning and community development projects in an effective and professional manner.
  • Manage a variety of planning and community development projects, including oversight of project scope, schedule, and budget, with minimal supervision.
  • Establish and maintain harmonious working relationships with other employees and a broad variety of clients even in stressful and unpleasant situations.
  • Guide and consult with Associate Planner(s) and interns who may be employed in the department.
  • Present complex and technical information in a clear and concise manner to various groups.


To qualify for this position, applicants must have the equivalent to a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university with major coursework in land use planning, urban design, geography, environmental science or a related field and a minimum five (5) years of full-time professional experience in land use planning or closely related work, including at least two (2) years of direct supervisory experience. A master’s degree and local government experience is preferred.


It is desired that the person has a background and expertise in several of the following:

  • Working knowledge of GIS applications.
  • Working knowledge and practical application of PowerPoint presentations to community groups and advisory boards.
  • Electronic permit tracking and reporting systems.
  • Processing of annexations and annexation law for optional code cities.
  • Neighborhood or sub-area planning.
  • Subdivision design, review, approval and construction.
  • Experience processing applications or proposals for planned unit developments.
  • Experience implementing design review standards and criteria for residential and commercial projects.


The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of the job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

Hand-eye coordination is necessary to operate computers and various pieces of office equipment. Fieldwork will expose the employee to occasional inclement weather, loud noises, moving vehicles and machines, and dust and mud. Fieldwork may require protective clothing including helmet, gloves, goggles, and safety shoes.

While performing the duties of the job, the employee is occasionally required to stand, walk, use hands to finger, handle, feel or operate objects, tools or controls, open and move paper and plans, and reach with hands and arms, hear and talk as part of both office and field work. The fieldwork may also include limited walking on a variety of surfaces and negotiating obstacles within structures and construction sites, climbing ladders, crawling in confined areas, bending, and stooping. Employee must occasionally lift and/or move up to twenty-five (25) pounds.

Employee must be able to drive a City vehicle. Specific vision abilities required by this job include close vision, distance vision, color vision, peripheral vision, depth perception, and the ability to adjust focus.


The job description does not constitute an employment agreement between the employer and employee and is subject to change by the employer as the needs of the employer and requirements of the job change.

The duties listed above are intended only as illustrations of the various types of work that may be performed. The omission of specific statements of duties does not exclude them from the position if the work is similar, related, or a logical assignment of the position.