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Principal Planner

Napa County
Napa, CA
United States
Experience Level: 
$104,353.60 - $125,403.20 Annually

This recruitment is being conducted to fill one full-time vacancy. The list established by this recruitment may be used to fill future full-time, part-time, limited term, and extra help vacancies for up to one year.

The Principal Planner provides highly complex staff assistance to the Supervising Planner and the Deputy Planning Director in major elements of a planning project, program or unit in the Planning. Building, and Environmental Services Department (PBES); to plan, organize, coordinate and supervise of a small number of staff; and to perform highly responsible and complex professional planning duties relating to the County's land use regulations. Duties may include providing support to the Supervising Planner and Deputy Director in the following areas: long-range planning projects, general plan and zoning ordinance updates, administration of the County's discretionary vineyard erosion control plan program; Williamson Act contracts; Surface Mining and Reclamation Act (SMARA); Wildlife Conservation Commission; the County's Conservation Regulations, and the Winery Definition Ordinance.

EXAMPLE OF DUTIES The following duties are typical for this classification. Incumbents may not perform all of the listed duties and/or may be required to perform additional or different duties from those set forth below to address business needs and changing business practices.

Plan, organize, assign and supervise the activities of a small number of subordinate staff; assume responsibility for a variety of personnel actions including assisting with selections and promotions, conducting performance evaluations and recommending disciplinary actions and dismissals; coordinate work schedules, assignments of projects and other planning activities among staff; perform responsible professional planning duties relating to the County's land use regulations including the General Plan, zoning and subdivision regulations, housing, airport land use, environmental protection and environmental compliance regulations; analyze and interpret planning data and trends for special studies on various planning programs and elements of the general plan; may serve as project manager for county initiated general plan or zoning regulations updates or amendments; assign and oversee the work of staff and review the work of consultants to ensure the overall quality of professional planning and application of policy/ordinance; prepare and deliver written and oral presentations, to various county board, commissions or committees; participate in pre-application meetings; provide direction to professional and technical staff members; assist the public and other county staff to efficiently apply applicable regulations, resolve problems and expedite the development process; assist the public by providing information and explaining particularly complex land use, environmental compliance, development and related regulations and procedures; meet with applicants as necessary and correspond with applicants and/or their representatives regarding project status; write staff reports; and make presentations of findings and recommendations at public hearings and to public agencies; conduct and participate in public hearings; plan, organize and coordinate the activities of a major element of a planning project and/or program in the department; perform environmental analysis for current and advanced planning projects, especially those of a highly complex, visible and sensitive nature; review environmental impact reports; conduct current planning reviews of large and/or complex land development projects including subdivisions, conditional use permits, design reviews, development agreements, rezoning and General Plan amendments; be responsible for the development, maintenance, revision and implementation of zoning, subdivision and General Plan elements; prepare or direct preparation of new ordinances and plan elements to accommodate changes resulting from State legislation or new policies of the County; recommend goals and objectives regarding advanced planning studies for the County General Plan including element preparation, community plan preparation, policy formulation, program implementation and public presentation of findings and recommendations; review the plans of other public jurisdictions for compatibility with County plans; serve as a resource to other staff, departments, committees, boards or commissions; keep abreast of legislation affecting planning matters, making the information available to supervisory and management staff; prepare, manage and monitor state and Federal project grant programs; administer contracts with independent contractors or consultants who provide planning or environmental planning services to the County; perform related duties as assigned.



  • Supervisory principles, practices and techniques to plan, oversee and direct the work activities of subordinate staff.
  • Training methods and techniques to provide training to staff.  
  • Principals and practices of land use planning and development.
  • Principals and practices of environmental planning and administration of environmental policies.
  • State Map Act and California Environmental Quality Act.
  • Resource management and related environmental issues.
  • Research methodology and standard statistical methods and procedures as they apply to the use of environmental data.
  • Principles and practices of grant project management and contract administration of State and Federal grant programs.
  • Research methodology and standard statistical methods and procedures as they apply to the use environmental data.
  • Principles and practices of grant project management and contract administration; State and Federal grant programs.
  • Operation, policies and procedures of the department.
  • Planning related application software.


  • Provide consultation to supervisory or management staff on complex planning issues.
  • Collect, analyze, interpret, and apply data to various planning projects.
  • Understand, interpret and explain applicable ordinances and statues and department policies and procedures.
  • Manage and monitor state and Federal grant programs.
  • Oversee programs, projects, or assignments.
  • Plan, schedule, prioritize, and assign work; train other employees.
  • Organize own work, coordinating multiple projects and meeting critical deadlines.
  • Prepare and present clear and concise correspondence, complex reports and recommendations.
  • Represent the County in an effective and professional manner.


  • Communicate effective and calmly during disagreements with customers, agencies and internal staff.
  • Effective represent Department and County at various meetings and in court proceedings.
  • Establish and maintain effective working relationships with property owners, the public,
  • officials and personnel of other agencies.
  • Work independently in the absence of supervision.
  • Communicate effectively both verbally and in writing.
  • Analyze situations accurately and take effective action.
  • Establish and maintain cooperative working relationships with staff, other departments and agencies, the private sector, and the public.

Experience and Education

To qualify for this classification, an individual must possess any combination of experience and education that would likely produce the required knowledge, skills and abilities. A typical way to obtain the knowledge, skills and abilities required of this classification would be:

Four years of increasingly responsible professional planning experience. One year of supervisor experience is desired.  (A Master's degree in planning or related experience may be substituted for one year of experience)

Graduation from a four year accredited college or university with a degree in city, county or regional land use planning or related field. (Additional qualifying experience may be substituted for two years of the required college education on a year-for-year basis

License or Certificate*:
Possession of a valid California Driver's License.
*Any license, certification, or registration required for this position shall be maintained (i.e. active and in good standing) at all times during employment with Napa County.  For continued employment with Napa County, you must maintain such license, certification, or registration to meet the minimum qualifications of this position.

Published on:
October 4, 2019 - 1:55pm
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