Principal Planner, Current Planning

Arlington, Virginia
$71,552.00 - $121,742.40 Annually
Jul 26, 2019
Aug 16, 2019
Full Time
Position Information

Arlington County's Department of Community Planning, Housing and Development (DCPHD) is seeking a Principal Planner to join our award-winning Planning team. This position will report directly to the Current Planning Supervisor and will be part of the Site Plan review team. The Planner will also work collaboratively with the Urban Design team to complete reviews of post approval site plan amendments.

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.

Specific duties include:
Site Plan Review
  • Managing the review of complex site plan projects through the special exception process;
  • Presenting site plan projects in public hearings with the Planning Commission and County Board.
  • Negotiating changes and alternative site planning solutions with applicants;
  • Conducting design and site plan review meetings associated with determining application conformance with approved plans, policies, ordinances and zoning;
  • Interacting with and coordinating site plan review and related activities between various County departments, civic associations, property owners, developers, architects, engineers, Planning Commission, other appointed boards and commissions, and County, state, and/or regional agencies, and interest groups;
  • Conducting field inspections and providing recommendations and observations associated with pending and approved site plans;
  • Advising the DCPHD, Planning Division and other County staff on consistency of proposed plan revisions with approved plans and conditions;
  • Reviewing and recommending approval of applications for administrative changes for various elements of approved site plans, including building façade and other features; and
  • Composing detailed reports providing recommendations on site plan projects.

The successful candidate will be a team-player who can also 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 and zoning matters.
  • Comprehension of both site plan details and the associated surrounding planning and urban context.
  • Familiarity with planning, urban and architectural design and other best practices, such as Transit Oriented Development (TOD), Sustainable Design 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 community or urban planning, or a related field, plus considerable progressively responsible experience in project management and plan review in the areas of urban planning, land use program administration, community development, or other related 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 additional training, experience or education in one or more of the following:
  • Master's degree in community or urban planning, 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;
  • Working closely with interagency staff, the community, stakeholder groups, and commissions; and/or
  • Experience preparing and presenting complex reports, findings and recommendations through effective written, verbal, graphic and electronic means.

Special Requirements

The applicant must have the ability and willingness to use alternative methods of transportation to get to work sites when performing assignments or the applicant must possess, or obtain by the time of appointment, a valid motor vehicle operator's license from the applicant's place of residence. If the applicant possesses or acquires a license, 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 may be contingent upon a favorable review of the applicant's driving record.

Additional Information

Work Hours: 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.

Salary is effective July 1, 2019

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. In order to receive full credit for your experience, please ensure that you have included details of all relevant work experience on your application and have completed the Supplemental Questionnaire in its entirety.

Arlington County Government employee benefits depend on whether a position is permanent, the number of hours worked, and the number of months the position is scheduled.

Specific information on benefits and conditions of employment can be found on the Arlington County Human Resources Department website:

Permanent, Full-Time Appointments
All jobs are permanent, full-time appointments unless otherwise stated in the announcement. The following benefits are available:

Paid Leave : Vacation leave is earned at the rate of four hours biweekly. Leave accrual increases every three years until eight hours of leave are earned biweekly for twelve or more years of service. Sick leave is earned at the rate of four hours biweekly. There are eleven paid holidays each year.

Health and Dental Insurance : Three group health insurance plans are offered - a network open access plan, a point-of-service plan, and a health maintenance organization. A group dental insurance plan is also offered. The County pays a significant portion of the premium for these plans for employees and their dependents. A discount vision plan is provided for eye care needs.

Life Insurance : A group term policy of basic life insurance is provided at no cost to employees. The benefit is one times annual salary. Additional life insurance is available with rates based on the employee's age and smoker/non-smoker status.

Retirement : The County offers three vehicles to help you prepare for retirement: a defined benefit plan, a defined contribution plan (401(a)), and a deferred compensation plan (457). The defined benefit plan provides a monthly retirement benefit based on your final average salary and years of service with the County. You contribute a portion of your salary on a pre-tax basis to this plan. General employees contribute 4% of pay; uniformed public safety employees contribute 7.5% of pay. Employees become vested in the plan at five years of service. The County also contributes to this plan.

For general employees, the County also contributes 4.2% of pay to a defined contribution plan (401(a)) . The County also matches your 457 contribution, up to $20 per pay period, in this plan. The 457 deferred compensation plan allows you to set aside money on either a pre-tax (457b) or post-tax (457 Roth) basis up to the IRS annual limit. New employees are automatically enrolled with a pre-tax contribution equal to 2% of your base pay.

Other Benefits: The County also offers health, dependent care, and parking flexible spending accounts; long-term care insurance; tuition assistance; transit and walk/bike to work subsidies; a college savings plan; wellness programs; training opportunities; and a variety of other employee benefits.

Permanent, Part-Time Appointments:
Part time employees who work ten or more hours per week receive paid leave and benefits in proportion to the number of hours worked per week.

Limited Term Appointments:
Benefits are the same as permanent appointments except that the employees do not achieve permanent status.

Temporary Regular Appointments:
Temporary regular employees who work 30 hours or more per week are eligible for health, dental, and basic life insurance as described above. They are also eligible for vacation, sick leave, and paid holidays.

Temporary Seasonal and Occasional Appointments:
Temporary employees who work on a seasonal basis or variable hours receive sick leave, but do not normally receive other paid leave or benefits. Exceptions are noted in individual announcements.


This position requires a Bachelor's degree in urban planning, public administration, architecture, or a related field, plus considerable responsible experience in urban planning or a closely related planning area, including the review of major site plan and urban development projects. Please check all that apply which describe your background and/or experience.
  • Bachelor's degree in community or urban planning or related field.
  • Considerable responsible experience in the review of major site plan and urban development projects.
  • I am substituting relevant significant experience for the degree requirement on a year-for-year-basis
  • None of the above


How much experience do you have in the review of major site plan and urban development projects?
  • None
  • Less than 6 months
  • 6 months but less than a year
  • 1 year but less than 2 years
  • 2 years but less than 3 years
  • 3 years or more


Please attach a cover letter or use the space below to describe your experience with the following:
  • The most complex site development proposal you have managed, how urban planning principles were utilized in your review and analysis, and the process involved in the review and management of the site development proposal.
  • Presenting a report regarding a complex development proposal to a planning commission, other appointed boards or commissions and elected officials.
  • Leading civic and community engagement activities related to urban planning

Required Question