Park Planning Principal Planner

Alexandria, VA
$76,929.06 - $135,378.62 Annually
Aug 12, 2022
Sep 10, 2022
Program Manager
Full Time
City of Alexandria, Virginia

Principal Planner

Park Planning and Capital Development

The City of Alexandria is in Northern Virginia bordered by the District of Columbia (Potomac River), Arlington, and Fairfax counties. Once within the original boundary stones that demarked the area of the Nation’s Capital, Alexandria is a part of the greater Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. With a population of approximately 157,600 Alexandria is the sixth largest city in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Unique and historic, Alexandria is a place that is experiencing substantial redevelopment appeal and business growth opportunities because of a high market demand for urban living in a quality environment. About one-quarter of the City’s 15.47 square miles has been designated as a national or local historic district.
The City of Alexandria is an independent city with no county affiliation and derives its governing authority from a Charter granted by the Virginia General Assembly. Virginia is a Dillon Rule state, allowing local governments only the authority expressly granted to them by the Virginia Constitution or by the Virginia General Assembly in the City Charter or in general law. City Council is the governing body, which formulates policies for the administration of the City. The mayor is chosen on a separate ballot and presides over sessions of the Council.
If you are interested in working for the vibrant City of Alexandria, we invite qualified candidates to apply for our Principal Planner (Planning) for Park Planning and Capital Development for Recreation, Parks, and Cultural Activities (RPCA).
  • The mission of Recreation, Parks and Cultural Activities is to enrich the City of Alexandria by creating meaningful experiences through public spaces, cultural activities, and programming.
  • The Department’s vision is to improve the well-being of every person in our community by connecting them to each other and their environment.

The Recreation, Parks, and Cultural Activities Department (RPCA) supports the well-being of Alexandria’s residents by ensuring access to a variety of quality recreation, park, and cultural experiences. There are over 900 acres of publicly accessible open space (this includes both public and private land that is open for public use) 566 acres of it is publicly owned park land, and approximately 30,000 street trees. The Department is comprised of four operating Divisions: Park Services, Recreation Services, Cultural Activities and Leadership & Management. The Divisions work to offer the full range of programs, facilities, and parks.

The Division of Park Planning and Capital Development manages planning, design, and the capital improvement program for the department. The Principal Planner (Planning) acts as the City’s Open Space Coordinator and manages park and open space planning initiatives as well as the PARKnership program. This position manages two full time staff team members.

The major areas of responsibility of the Planning Section include:
  • Open Space Master Plan implementation and updates
  • Acquisition of open space
  • City Master Plan coordination and Small Area Plan open space components
  • Park and open space development with private developers
  • Interdepartmental review process for development projects
  • PARKnership and volunteer programs
  • Community Matching Fund program
  • Park and Recreation plans and studies

This position is one of two Principal Planners which report to the Division Chief of Park Planning and Capital Development for Park Services. Staff work based on a strategic plan, business plan, and annual work plan. Considerable time and resources are focused on staff training and development. The duties of the incumbent may rotate over time to fully prepare them for continued advancement.

The Principal Planner key work projects for FY23 include:
  1. Complete tasks as approved by City Council for the Open Space Steering Committee.
  2. Complete recommended text amendments for the Open Space Zoning Ordinance.
  3. Collaborate with interagency development staff in the preservation and expansion of open space through the development process.
  4. Manage the RPCA Needs Assessment Survey in collaboration with Department staff and key stakeholders.
  5. Develop a plan for the 10-year updating of the park framework plans.
  6. Develop and implement a Community Engagement Plan for the Community Matching Fund to ensure equitable park projects across the City.

RPCA Strategic Plan - Each member of the department is expected to implement the mission, vision, values, and the four focus areas as determined through business plans and the budget process. It is expected that all decisions will be made considering the values and focus areas.

Statement of Workplace Excellence - Every RPCA staff member has the right to a safe, healthy, efficient, and pleasant working environment where all organization members adhere to the highest standards of behavior, personal integrity, and truthfulness. Each staff member demonstrates full support and acts on deploying workplace excellence.

Shared Leadership Approach -All staff members are collectively responsible for our organizational community and have leadership roles. Everyone is a decision maker within his or her job. We invite participation in solving organizational issues and constantly improving our operations. We share a leader-to-leader model.

Customer Service Guarantee- We are committed to delivering a consistently superior customer experience to all who participate in our programs or visit our parks and facilities. Service will be:
  • Responsive - respond in a timely manner to all residents and customers both external and internal. We own the request we receive and do not shift the responsibility.
  • Professional - represent the department in appropriate appearance, decorum, and communication.
  • Courteous - Treat everyone with respect. Treat everyone fairly. Treat everyone with dignity.
  • Accountable - Demonstrate a bias toward action. Ensure follow-up and follow-through with appropriate results.

High Performance Organization - RPCA commits to building and sustaining a high-performance organization. This ensures a clear and consistent strategic direction. We continually focus on improving all aspects on internal and external operation. We also strive through workplace excellence and shared leadership to inspire staff to outstanding outcomes. Every job in the organization has elements of team leadership, management, and task accomplishment. HPO is team based.

What You Should Bring
Each member of our team is accountable for the outstanding delivery of services. You will bring your expertise on parks and recreation, planning and community engagement, high performing organizational culture, and change management. Team members will have a demonstrated ability to work with employees throughout the department and coordinate with other departments. Personal mission and values will align with those of the organization and candidates should be able to analyze, synthesize and make data-informed professional recommendations. A passion for community engagement and public service will be highly valued in this role.

Minimum & Additional Requirements

Four-Year College Degree; at least five years of progressively-responsible experience in urban or transportation planning and management of large-scale urban projects, and completion of college-level courses in urban planning, transportation or transit planning, public administration, engineering, geography, or a related field; or any equivalent combination of experience and training which provides the required knowledge, skills and abilities.

Preferred Qualifications

Master's Degree; more than five years of progressive planning experience; AICP certification, Zoning certification, registered/certified Landscape Architect or Architect; demonstration of progressive project management experience.


This position requires successful completion of a criminal records background check and drug screening prior to employment.

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