Position Information

Arlington County's Department of Community Planning, Housing and Development is seeking a Principal Planner to join our award-winning Planning team. This position will play a dual role by providing both urban design and development review services.  This position, while a direct report to the Urban Design and Research Supervisor, will also work closely with the Current Planning Supervisor and Site Plan review team.

The Planning Division plays a key role in guiding and regulating growth and development. We are committed to planning for sustainable Metro transit oriented growth and the conservation of our County's unique pattern of neighborhoods.  We use a planning approach that has garnered national recognition for incorporating smart growth principles, urban design, and extensive community involvement.

This individual will work in the three following key functional areas that include the following specific duties/responsibilities:

Administrative Change Requests for Architecture:

  • Reviewing, recommending and approving administrative change requests related to architecture;
  • Reviewing, recommending and approving mock up panels to conduct final façade plans, material boards and inspections prior to building permit issuance and certificate of occupancy;
  • Conducting field inspections and providing recommendations and observations associated with pending and approved site plans;
  • Developing and tracking progress and performance measures for site, façade, architectural and other forms of plan reviews;
Site Plan review with Current Planning
  • Reviewing site plans and other forms of development applications and preparing reports, recommendations and presentations to the County Manager, Planning Commission Committees, and the County Board;
  • Negotiating changes and alternative site planning, urban design and architectural solutions with developers and architects;
  • Conducting design and site plan review meetings associated with determining application conformance with approved plans, policies, ordinances and zoning;
  • Interacting with and coordinating urban design, site plan review and related activities between various County departments, civic associations, property owners, developers, architects, engineers, appointed boards and commissions, and County, state, and/or regional agencies, and interest groups;
  • Advising DCPHD, Planning Division and other County staff on consistency of proposed plan revisions with approved plans and conditions;
Urban design related projects and interdepartmental support
  • Supporting Comprehensive Planning and other divisions within CPHD by providing technical expertise as it applies to architecture, urban planning and design principles associated with building form, height and massing, façade elevations, architectural features, circulation, accessibility, and connectivity with the surrounding built environment;
  • Leading processes necessary to prepare complex planning, urban design, and related strategies;
  • Serving as policy guidance for a range of planning and development applications and initiatives related to architectural, urban design and site plan standards, conditions and guidelines;
  • Providing urban and architectural design, and site planning recommendations to the DCPHD, Planning Division, other County departments, Planning Commission and its subcommittees, and County Board;
 The successful candidate in this position is a team-player who can work independently, manage multiple tasks and demonstrate experience in the following areas:
  • Clear and effective communication skills, orally, graphically and in writing to advise and report on technical planning, urban design and zoning matters.
  • Comprehension of both site plan details and the associated surrounding planning and urban context.
  • Familiarity with planning and design best practices, such as Transit Oriented Development (TOD) and Sustainable and Smart Growth.
  • Confidence to work with a range of planning, architectural, engineering and other professional disciplines.
  • Organizing, facilitating and supporting the work of appointed boards, commissions, committees and citizens.

Selection Criteria

Minimum: Bachelor's degree in architecture, community or urban planning, landscape architecture, or related field plus considerable experience in project management and plan review in the area of urban planning, land use program administration, community development, or other related program areas.

Substitution: Additional qualifying experience may be substituted for the education on a year-for-year basis.

Desirables: Preference may be given to candidates who have one or more of the following:

  • A Master's degree in architecture, community or urban planning, landscape architecture, or related field;
  • Senior-level project management experience associated with the review of TOD related site plans and successful application of urban design principles and practices;
  • Experience working closely with the community, stakeholder groups and commissions; and
  • Experience preparing and presenting complex reports, findings and recommendations through effective written, verbal, graphic and electronic means.

Special Requirements

Applicant must possess, or obtain by time of appointment, a valid motor vehicle operator's license from the applicant's place of residence. The applicant must authorize Arlington County to obtain, or the applicant must provide a copy of the applicant's official state/district driving record. Any offer of employment will be contingent upon a favorable review of the applicant's driving record.

Additional Information

This is a 40 hour per week position, with flexible work hours generally between 8:00 am and 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday. Significant evening and weekend work may be required to attend community, Planning Commission, and County Board meetings.

Each section of the application must be completed. A resume may be attached, however, it will not substitute for the completed application. Your responses to the supplemental questionnaire are considered part of the selection process and are required for this position. Please do not give, "see resume", as a response to the questions. Incomplete applications will not be considered.