Principal Planner

Alexandria, VA
$76,929.06 - $107,842.80 Annually
May 18, 2023
Jun 22, 2023
Program Manager
Full Time
Principal Planner

The City of Alexandria is located in Northern Virginia and is bordered by the District of Columbia (Potomac River), Arlington and Fairfax counties. With a population of approximately 160,000 and a land area of 15.75 square miles, Alexandria is the seventh largest City in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Alexandria has a charming waterfront and is a unique and historic place to live and work. About one-quarter square miles in the City have been designated as a national or local historic district. We proudly embrace our rich history and seize the endless opportunities that lie ahead. I f you are interested in working for the vibrant City of Alexandria, we invite qualified candidates to apply for our Principal Planner position.
An Overview
The P rincipal Planner for the Neighborhood Planning and Community Development Division will lead a team responsible for developing small area plans and/or executing other planning and implementation initiatives. The ideal candidate should be a leader who brings out the best in the team that they supervise, who embraces innovative thinking, who demonstrates passion and enthusiasm for the planning field, and who thrives in a diverse, collaborative, and dynamic environment .

What You Should Bring
The ideal candidate should be an experienced and innovative planning professional with community planning experience in comparable urban settings. The incumbent should bring the following skills, experience, and attributes to the position:

  • Highly motivated team player with strong planning skills, project management experience, excellent judgement, and an innovative approach to complex planning challenges;
  • Experience applying urban planning concepts including design of people-oriented urban spaces, housing affordability, open space, connectivity and mobility, climate resiliency, development economics and the ability to read and analyze site plans;
  • Demonstrated ability to quickly assimilate complex information, discern challenges, and devise effective innovative solutions;
  • E xperience designing and implementing equitable and innovative community engagement strategies and building relationships among historically marginalized populations in order to ensure an inclusive vision for the future; Bilingual skills in Spanish, Amharic or Arabic are highly encouraged as a preferred qualification.
  • Understanding of how racialized origins of land use and planning policy in the U.S. contribute to current disparities and inequitable outcomes by race, ethnicity, income, and geography;
  • Demonstrated skill and ease in presenting to a range of small and large audiences, and the ability to explain complex concepts in a clear and engaging manner;
  • Experience in local government and communicating with policymakers, senior level managers, interdepartmental staff and intergovernmental entities; and
  • Demonstrated leader who enjoys supervising, mentoring, motivating , problem solving, and providing constructive criticism to an experienced team of professionals .

The Opportunity

  • Lead planning teams and provide project management on small area plans, plan implementation initiatives, and other special planning policy or analysis initiatives;
  • Design and implement community engagement strategies for planning processes, striving for equitable, meaningful, transparent community engagement;
  • Collaborate with professional planners in P&Z , in other City Departments, and with other agencies to e ngage the community in creating Small Area Plans that reflect the ir desires and the City’s strategic goals ;
  • Write comprehensive and concise narrative for plans, staff reports, and other documents as needed;
  • Create graphics that convey complex concepts in simple understandable ways for presentations and printed materials;
  • Deliver dynamic presentations to community groups, Commissions, and City Council;
  • Supervise junior planners to provide professional guidance, motivation, technical direction, and mentorship;
  • Contribute to high level policy discussions and opportunities for innovation;
  • Manage multiple complex projects and teams at the same time; and
  • Lead and facilitate discussions and Q&A for internal, interdepartmental and community meetings.

About the Department
The Department works closely with the community in each area of the City to carry out City Council's Strategic Plan for vibrant, amenity-rich neighborhoods, protected historic resources, and vital local businesses. With the community as our partner in developing neighborhood plans and reviewing proposals for development projects and businesses, we continue to deliver on the Vision we have developed together.

In support of these objectives, the Department maintains and analyzes demographic and economic data, providing urban design assistance for City and private development projects and expertise to the public related to zoning and development requirements, future trends, and development and market activity. Planning and Zoning is also responsible for developing and administering the City's Master Plan , the Zoning Ordinance and coordinates with other City agencies to develop the Long Range Planning Interdepartmental Work Program .

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

The ideal candidate will have a Master's Degree in urban planning or a closely related field and AICP Certification (or equivalent) and at least six years of demonstrated professional experience and expertise in urban planning (or a closely related field) applying the following skills: urban design, affordable housing, real estate economics, environmental planning and climate resiliency, neighborhood planning, community development, transportation, and equitable community engagement/facilitation. The successful incumbent will have demonstrated ability to handle multiple large complex projects simultaneously and progressive project management experience, including at least four years supervising junior planners and leading project teams to complete community driven small area plans. The successful incumbent should also have experience reviewing development site plans, excellent written and presentation communication skills, including at least four years of experience presenting to community groups, Boards, Commissions and elected bodies, and demonstrated expertise working with Adobe Creative Suite, AutoCAD (or equivalent) and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to produce creative, engaging and informative material for a variety of audiences. The ideal candidate is fluent in Spanish, Amharic, or Arabic, and has demonstrated success in reaching historically marginalized communities, with knowledge and experience in equity related principles.


This position requires the successful completion of a pre-employment background check.

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