Planning Manager

City of Wheat Ridge

Wheat Ridge, CO

Experience Level: Senior

AICP Certification: AICP Preferred

Salary: Full range: $110,980-166,460

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The City of Wheat Ridge is a small but dedicated group of professionals who take pride in our work and love serving this vibrant community.  We are currently seeking a proactive leader to join the Community Development team as the Planning Manager. The ideal candidate values clear and transparent communication, creative problem solving, meaningful community engagement, collaboration with peers, and mentoring and developing staff.

This position provides day-to-day guidance and visionary leadership to the Planning & Zoning Division. The Planning Manager performs expert-level professional planning work, provides competent advice to city policy makers, establishes trust and rapport with the general public, collaborates internally and externally to implement the City’s adopted plans and policy goals, and manages complex projects. Areas of activity include development review, long-range community planning, transportation planning, zoning and land use regulation, economic development, and other related areas. This position includes occasional night meetings.

Wheat Ridge is an inner-ring suburb of Denver that has been experiencing growth and change over the last decade, including infill projects of all sizes, transit-supportive development near the Wheat Ridge · Ward Station, new infrastructure and development at Clear Creek Crossing, master planning at the Lutheran Medical Center campus and on 44th Avenue, and bond-funded infrastructure projects. Over the last several years, the City has made an effort to shift its organizational culture to engage the community in more meaningful ways with the launch of the Let's Talk Resident Engagement Program, Wheat Ridge Speaks, and What's Up Wheat Ridge.
The City of Wheat Ridge supports professional development by funding APA/AICP dues and certification maintenance (CM). The City has a flexible work policy whereby team members may earn the privilege of working from home for part of the workweek.

The anticipated hiring salary range is $116,529-$138,720.

 Please note there are supplemental questions we would like you to answer in detail as part of the application process. 

Essential Duties and Responsibilities
  •  Manage the division’s work plan, staff resources and workload; establish policies, programs, projects and work plan for the division in coordination with the Director and within the policy goals of the City Council; manage Planner-of-the-Day service and staffing.
  • Manage assigned team members (currently 7 FTE); maintain a culture of coaching and mentorship; interview, hire, onboard and train staff; plan, assign and direct work; appraise performance, reward, and discipline team members; ensure team members comply with occupational health and safety standards, department regulations, and organizational policies; address complaints and resolve problems.
  • Perform complex and sensitive planning work; interpret and explain ordinances, regulations and policies; seek solutions; provide assistance, guidance and mentoring to staff, the development community, business community, public, and other agencies; mediate challenging conversations with applicants and stakeholders; review plans and visit project sites; determine appropriate level of zoning review; suggest improved development designs; make recommendations regarding issuance of building permits and development approvals including variances, subdivisions, zone changes, and site plans; compile data and prepare findings and reports.
  • Oversee all development review cases and code amendments; oversee long range planning efforts through all stages, including consultant selection, public engagement, plan adoption, and implementation; lead and/or collaborate on special projects and planning activities that relate to other divisions, department, and agencies.
  • Cultivate, foster, and maintain positive and productive relationships with individuals within and outside of the division, including with elected and appointed officials, developers, property owners, residents, business owners, utility providers, team members from all departments, and other stakeholders; participate in various internal and external committee groups and project management teams as assigned.
  • Create and manage the division’s annual operating budget; conduct financial analyses and determine projected expenses associated with operations and plan implementation; determine projected revenues associated with development, public art fund, and fees in lieu of parkland dedication; exercise control and approval over expenditures of budget and funds.
  • Guide and train team members in developing written reports and oral presentations; review and edit the division’s written materials including pre-application summaries, comment letters, staff reports, meeting minutes, web content, and other materials for accuracy, clarity and compliance with department standards, policies, and codes.
  • Serve as the Zoning Administrator; sign Certificates of Occupancy; ensure consistent interpretation of the Zoning and Development Code in consultation with the Director.
  • Serve as staff liaison to the Planning Commission, Board of Adjustment, and Wheat Ridge Housing Authority; attend and participate in meetings; set agenda and facilitate meeting procedures; implement onboarding for new members and provide ongoing training; provide training to staff and decision makers related to Wheat Ridge Speaks 
  • Make presentations to the City Manager, department directors, city staff, elected officials and other government agencies, community groups and organization. 
  • Analyzes current practices with an eye towards process improvement and innovation including related to internal procedures, interdepartmental coordination, and ways to engage and inform the public.
  • Perform related work as required and assigned.  

 Supervision Received: 

Works under the direct supervision of the Director of Community Development.

 Supervision Exercised:

Exercises supervision over all division staff directly or through subordinate supervisors (currently 7 FTE which includes 4 direct reports). Periodically serves as Acting Director. 

 Independence of Action:

Work is governed by general policy requiring judgment and initiative in developing and implementing procedures to address work challenges.  This position must interpret policies and procedures, or in the absence of any relevant policy or procedure this position may be called upon to make decisions and judgments based upon facts and circumstances presented.  This position is required to think independently and to use logic along with all of the known facts to render appropriate decisions and direction in both field and administrative matters. Supervisor is involved in unfamiliar situations or problems of major impact.

Minimum Training and Experience Required to Perform Essential Job Functions



  • Thorough knowledge of the principles, practices, purposes, scope and techniques of municipal planning.
  • Working knowledge of sources and research methods for developing data relating to growth, land uses, zoning, and other community development trends.
  • Knowledge of legal principles of land use including but not limited to zoning and subdivision regulations.
  • Knowledge of urban design and the ability to blend architecture, landscape architecture, and city planning together to make urban areas functional and attractive.
  • Knowledge of map making and graphic principles, practices and equipment, including desktop publishing.


  • Strong worth ethic, self-motivated, skilled at holding self and others accountable for high quality and timely work.
  • Strong customer service skills to work with tact and diplomacy with diverse constituents and difficult customers; skilled at active listening and the ability to understand and translate customer needs.
  • Strong communication skills (verbal, visual, and in writing) and the ability to adapt communication styles for various audiences, including planners, engineers, inspectors, attorneys, developers, home owners, business owners, other agency personnel, City officials, consultants, city staff and citizens.  
  • Strong public speaking skills required.  
  • Analytical skills to categorize and interpret data and information in order to determine consequences and to identify and select alternatives. 
  • Demonstrated skill in the operation of equipment and computers software necessary to perform the functions of the job. 


  • Ability to adapt to changing and at times difficult situations.
  • Ability to modify existing policies, strategies and/or methods to meet unusual conditions within the context of existing management principles. 
  • Ability to decide the time, place and sequence of operations within an organizational framework, as well as the ability to oversee their execution. 
  • Ability to manage and direct a group of people, including the ability to provide coaching and mediation and to use functional reasoning to supervise, lead, influence, teach, and direct. 
  • encourage, convince and train others.  
  • Ability to advise and interpret regarding the application of policies, procedures and standards to specific situations.  
  • Ability to implement recommendations in various advisory planning documents such as the city’s comprehensive plan and subarea plans.  
  • Ability to apply city’s adopted codes and various design standards in a consistent and reasonable manner.  
  • Ability to exercise the judgment, decisiveness, resourcefulness and creativity required to solve problems. 
  • Ability to utilize budgets and conduct performance evaluations.

Evidence of Qualification:

Training – Master’s degree in urban planning or related field required. AICP certification strongly preferred.

Experience – Minimum of five (5) years professional planning experience, including supervisory experience. Equivalent combinations of education and experience may be considered.

Special Requirements: Possess a current and valid Colorado Driver License or ability to obtain within thirty (30) days from date of hire. Must meet city policy standards pertaining to driver's license requirements.

Supplemental Information

Equipment UsedThe ability to properly operate or use the following is necessary:  telephone, copier, personal computer and various software (Microsoft 365 required; ArcGIS, Adobe Creative Suite optional), digital camera and projector, printers, plotter, scanner, fax machine and other office equipment; personal or City vehicle.

Working Conditions and Environment: This position is primarily administrative in nature, working indoors completing tasks such as writing, reading and reviewing reports, papers, correspondence and other documents.  This portion of the job will require acute mental skills, a lengthy attention span and involves sitting, walking, and standing.  The ability to communicate in a clear and concise manner both in writing and verbally is essential to this position. 

Interaction with customers and co-workers is everyday occurrence and requires the ability to direct, negotiate and mediate. Field work is occasionally required; the environment when requiring outdoor activity involves occasional exposure to slippery or uneven walking surfaces, dust, dirt, heat, and cold.  

City Values:
All team members are expected to adhere to the organizational values of ACTION! (Accountability, Change, Teamwork, Integrity, Opportunity, Now!) and are responsible for contributing to the achievements of the organization and department. Team members are expected to continue to grow professionally and to apply learning in their job setting.

Values diversity in backgrounds and experiences; is sensitive to cultural diversity, race, gender, and other individual differences with all internal and external customers.

Posted March 14, 2023, 3:08 PM PDT

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