Principal Planner

City of Avondale

Avondale, AZ

Experience Level: Mid-Level

AICP Certification: AICP Preferred

Salary: $89,835.26 - $130,261.33 Annually

Apply Now

The City of Avondale is accepting applications to fill the role of Principal Planner. If you are an experienced professional who is highly motivated, highly skilled, enthusiastic, and a collaborative individual wanting to join the tight-knit, results driven Development and Engineering Services Department, then please apply today!
The City of Avondale is in the midst of exciting community growth with a team of professionals committed to providing excellent customer service and a business-friendly environment to the community we serve. Working for the City of Avondale has many benefits including a friendly work environment, a four-day work week, and depending on where you live, an enjoyable reverse rush-hour commute into 
the scenic West Valley in the Phoenix Metro Area.

This is a full-time, FLSA exempt position with benefits and will be held open until filled.

JOB DESCRIPTION: Manages land development and other urban planning projects in both the current and long range planning realms. Performs advanced-level professional planning and supervisory work serving as a technical lead to plan, organize, and support the supervision of the Planning Division. Supports the Planning Manager in administrative functions, as assigned, for overseeing professional planners and other related staff in directing, overseeing, and assigning work activities and projects, monitoring workflow and reviewing and evaluating reports, documents, recommendations, and presentations. Supports the Planning Manager in overseeing the most complex and challenging projects including Zoning Ordinance and other regulation updates, development projects, development agreements, capital projects, long range plans, and zoning appeals. Generates staff reports, exhibits, and provides detailed presentations to various City Boards and Commissions and City Council. Reviews and manages high profile special projects such as the General Plan Update, Specific Plans, Design Manuals, various private development and City projects. Able to effectively organize and prioritize workloads and skillfully manage project expectations. Understands the importance of public engagement and finding balance and compromise between a wide variety of stakeholders. Ability to collaborate with the Department’s teams in Building, Engineering, Transportation, Traffic, Code Compliance, Sustainability, and Administration as well as with other City Departments and Divisions. Supports the Planning Manager to serve as Planning liaison to the Development and Engineering Services Assistant Director and Director, Planning Commission, Board of Adjustment, and local and regional agencies. Performs any combination of current or long range planning duties as assigned.
ESSENTIAL FUNCTIONS: Manages the development review team and process for complex and high-profile land development proposals that may require annexation, general plan amendment, rezoning, conditional use permit, design review, subdivision plat, or other application approval. Exercises considerable discretion and independent judgement with regards to the required review process, review schedule, problem solving, and negotiating conditions of approval.

Conducts technical review and analysis of site plans, preliminary plats, and construction plans for compliance with the Zoning Ordinance, design manual guidelines, and other applicable documents. Conducts design review of site plans, building elevations, landscape plans, photometric plans, and other aesthetic elements to site development. Oversees and conducts final inspection of residential, commercial, and industrial development projects prior to issuance of Certificates of Occupancy.

Manages complex and high-profile planning projects and land development proposals, leading interdisciplinary project teams. Supports the Planning Manager, as assigned, to select and manage consultants, guides the work activity of other staff, performs independent research and analysis, and prepares recommendations for management and City Council consideration. Prepares project schedules and status reports, responsible for meeting deadlines, and performing current and long range planning documents.  

Prepares written staff reports and makes oral presentations to the City Council, Planning Commission, Board of Adjustment, and various interest groups at public hearings and neighborhood meetings.  

Strong written and oral communication skills including the editing, oversight or preparation of technical and staff reports, and the presentation of information to government entities and various committees. Strong interpersonal, negotiation and public relations skills to work effectively with various officials, staff, citizens, and other customers. Ability to understand and manage high-profile, sensitive, or controversial political situations. Strong mediation and problem-solving skills. Ability to exercise sound and independent judgment within general policy guidelines.

Ability to multi-task and supervise multiple projects and personnel as assigned, establish project timelines, meet deadlines, and articulate the expectations, goals, and objectives of the department to staff. Provide support to the front counter (Development Services Center) staff and identifies and implements new businesses practices where needed.

Provides information, technical assistance, and guidance to the public on City policies, ordinance requirements, and review procedures. Meets with property owners, developers, attorneys, and other professionals to discuss development proposals and related issues.  

Provides training, mentoring and assistance, and professional guidance to other staff and serves as the lead for the professional planners. Serves as a lead to guide building architectural design and site design review to implement adopted design manuals and the Zoning Ordinance.

Supports the Planning Manager in coordinating Economic Development Department projects, applications filed with Planning, Pre-Applications benefitting City projects and private economic development initiatives, and high-profile projects for the City.

Represents the department on various citywide committees and special project teams. Works closely with county, state, and federal agencies, community groups, developers, and stakeholders to achieve the City’s economic development, land use, transportation, and housing goals.

Collaborates with the Sustainability Officer to incorporate low impact development design and meet sustainability initiatives.

Oversees growth projections, development progress, and demographic data in partnership with other City departments to prepare GIS maps and documents.

Performs outside or interior project and site inspections as required.
JOB REQUIREMENTS: Bachelor’s degree from an accredited four-year college or university in Planning, Urban Planning, Urban Design, Environmental Planning, Landscape Architecture, Architecture, Public Administration, Geography, Sustainability or related field. Master’s degree in Planning, Urban Planning, Public Administration, or related is preferred. Knowledge of principles and practices of municipal planning and pertinent federal, state, and local laws pertaining to a wide variety of planning topics.

Five (5) years of progressively responsible experience in professional urban/city planning and development in a municipal or county jurisdiction, or a combination of public and private sector planning with a focus in planning, zoning, site plan review and design, building design, subdivision, project management, implementing land use regulations, and administering current and long range land use plans. Two (2) years of supervisory experience in city planning and development is preferred.  

American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) certification and/or Certified Public Manager (CPM) is desirable.

Valid Arizona Driver's License or the ability to obtain at time of hire.
SUPPLEMENTAL INFORMATION: Work requires the ability to read and interpret codes and ordinances, plans, development agreements, case laws, applications, and reports.

Work requires the ability to perform general math calculations such as addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, and analyze statistics.

Work requires the ability to write reports, City codes, letters, code amendments, and plans.

Supervisory abilities and performs planning activities such as, but not limited to, urban design; landscape architecture; parks and open space planning; reviewing zoning and development applications; coordinating special projects; and advising management on policy issues. Work requires the ability to manage multiple projects with frequent deadlines in an organized and efficient manner, and consistently meet deadlines.

Guidance and assistance are given to other staff on a daily basis regarding planning methods, city policies, procedures and problem solving. Supports the Planning Manager serving as the lead planner with abilities to supervise staff, manage projects, division and staff performance, customer service, and other needs as assigned. Participate in the continuous improvement of administrative processes.

Work is governed by broad instructions, objectives, and policies. Work requires the exercise of considerable initiative and independent analytical and evaluative judgement.

The incumbents in this position contact others within the organization. These contacts may involve similar work units or departments within the City such as Engineering, Building, Code Compliance, Fire, Transit, Sustainability, Parks and Recreation, Public Works, and City Attorney’s Office, which may be involved in decision making or providing approval or decision making authority for expenditures or projects. Employee must maintain regular attendance. Ability to work in a constant state of alertness and safe manner.

Posted September 8, 2021, 4:47 PM PDT

Find your next career opportunity in planning and urban design.

Planetizen Courses logo

Planetizen Courses: Online Training in Urban Planning

Access more than 250 urban planning courses on your computer, phone, or tablet. Learn today, plan for tomorrow.

View Courses

Edmonton, Canada

Planetizen AICP Exam Prep Class logo

Planetizen AICP* Exam Prep Class

88% of students who took our class passed the exam and became AICP* certified.

View Class