Principal Planner

Ketchikan Gateway Borough

Ketchikan, AK

Salary: $41.30-$44.50/hr

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The Principal Planner supervises and participates in advanced, highly complex professional planning activities; manages and supervises planners and administrative staff within the planning department; and performs a variety of routine and complex administrative, technical and professional work related to planning. The Principal Planner is responsible for all phases of zoning administration.  Furthermore, the Principal Planner may serve as Acting Director in the Director’s absence.

  • Performs and manages complex and sensitive professional planning projects, research and analysis.
  • Monitors and ensures planning and platting compliance with local, state and federal laws.
  • Oversees specialized planning functions such as large-scale new development proposals and environmental studies. 
  • Assists in the preparation of permits, comprehensive plans, neighborhood planning, and studies.
  • Perform critical thinking and comprehensive report writing.
  • Provide information and assistance to the public on zoning, subdivision, and other local and state requirements affecting land development. 
  • Provide overall management of current planning related issues.
  • Advises the Planning Director on all planning related matters.   
  • Advises various councils, boards, commissions and elected officials in planning-related issues.
  • Review platting requests and prepare reports with recommendations.
  • Supervises professional staff, assigns work, evaluates performance, and ensures appropriate training is provided.
  • Prepares reports on operations and activities, recommending improvements and modifications. 
  • Oversee management of various grant programs as assigned by the Planning Director.
  • Prepare requests for proposals for professional and consulting services and grant applications.
  • Assist in the administration of contracts in accordance with Borough Code requirements.
  • Participates in budget preparation and administration, monitors and controls expenditures. 
  • Serves as acting Planning Director in his or her absence. 
  • Coordinates inter-departmental projects as directed.


  • Provides instruction to other employees of this or a similar job classification in all aspects of procedure and technique relating to the duties required by this job description unless such instruction requires a specialized certification which the employee doing the training does not have.
  • Attends evening and/or weekend meetings as required and makes public presenta­tions as required.
  • Performs other duties as assigned.
  • Thorough knowledge of urban planning and development and local government policies and procedures.  Thorough knowledge of specialization such as housing, zoning, historic preservation, and economic development; research methods and statistical principles related to growth and development; methods and techniques of effective technical report preparation and presentation; pertinent federal, state and local laws, codes and regulations including recent changes 
  • Knowledgeable of principles and practices of supervision, training and personnel management; budgeting procedures and techniques; recent developments, current literature and sources of information related to municipal planning and administration. Knowledge of local government procedures and practices and citizen involvement techniques and processes; Skilled in conflict management techniques. 
  • Knowledge of computer hardware and software programs, which may include Microsoft Office, Internet applications,  database management, or GIS. 
  • Must be innovative, detail-oriented, experienced in highly visible/controversial projects; Capable of managing multiple, high-priority assignments; Strong interpersonal skills to develop good working relationships at various levels and to resolve complaints. 
  • Strong analytical skills to interpret research data for reports. 
  • Reading comprehension to understand technical and legal materials. 
  • Ability to work on several projects or issues simultaneously. 
  • Ability to provide effective supervision and staff management. 
  • Ability to manage projects effectively and meet firm deadlines. 


  • The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to perform the essential functions of this job.  Reasonable accommodation may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.  
  • Work is performed primarily in an office setting, although work activities frequently require visiting all Borough facilities and job sites.  This may require travel and exposure to various inclement weather conditions, rigorous conditions and/or high noise environments.

Must be able to hear.   Specific vision abilities include close vision, distance vision, color vision, peripheral vision, depth perception, and the ability to adjust focus.  Ability to use hands to feel, handle, or operate objects, tools, or controls; reach with hands and arms; climb or balance; stoop, kneel, crouch; and taste or smell.  Each of the listed activities also requires standing, sitting, walking, bending, stooping, climbing on stools and ladders, and routinely lifting and carrying items and boxes weighing up to forty (40) pounds.


  • Bachelor's degree in planning or a closely related field.  Master’s degree highly desirable.
  • At least four years of experience in the planning profession and three years of supervisory experience at a municipality desired. 

AICP certification preferred


  • Valid driver’s license

Any combination of related education and/or related experience will be considered if the candidate possesses the demonstrated ability.

Posted March 17, 2023, 1:40 PM PDT

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