Arlington, Virginia
$87,339.20 - $133,390.40 Annually
Jun 11, 2021
Jul 01, 2021
Full Time
Position Information

The Department of Community Planning, Housing and Development (CPHD) is seeking a progressive and results-driven Principal Planner to join the Comprehensive Planning team within the Planning Division to provide advanced level leadership for community and urban planning; including the management, development, implementation, and evaluation of overarching programs or portfolio management and guidance. The Planner will be responsible for coordinating the preparation of major, multi-phase complex long-range land use studies and policy development processes; plan and policy implementation strategies such as concept/illustrative/public facility plans, urban design guidelines, zoning amendments; and managing the activities of associated community engagement processes including ad hoc task forces, and interagency planning initiatives.

The Comprehensive Planning team is responsible for communicating and promoting the Comprehensive Plan, including the land use growth policies for the County; developing recommendations to inform land use decisions and implementation tools; and conducting community engagement to facilitate and communicate the desired vision and outcomes for the County.

Specific duties:

  • Performing, evaluating, and monitoring the planning/development activities for long-range County planning, land use policy development, and zoning studies including developing and implementing the associated planning process and/or work program and which may involve overseeing multiple and/or a portfolio of related projects;
  • Directing the activities of interagency teams, conducting planning research and analysis and forming recommendations, and facilitating effective civic and community engagement;
  • Serving as a contributing planner to evaluate development applications for consistency with approved plans when needed;
  • Serving as lead planner to coordinate and consult with County departments, commissions, and interest groups; citizen groups and commissions; County and state, regional agencies, and/or private industry on issues within major program area or portfolio;
  • Identifying policy issues, developing reports and presentations, and making recommendations to the County Manager and County Board;
  • Coordinating the work of other County staff for substance and accuracy of conclusions to ensure compliance with County policies, program objectives, and other governing legislation/regulations and provide technical guidance and leadership to assigned teams; and
  • Maintaining a thorough understanding of County policies and priorities, laws, policies, regulations, and internal/external stakeholder dynamics, and professional best practices that influence and impact land use policy and planning.

The ideal candidate will have:

  • Excellent land use and physical planning sense, experience planning for smart growth and sustainable transit-oriented development;
  • Project management experience in a highly complex and fast-changing planning and development environment;
  • Significant experience working independently with minimal supervision, prioritizing and effectively achieving results on schedule per work program while managing multiple studies and tasks, and building consensus amongst team members;
  • Political acumen, excellent community engagement and negotiating skills;
  • Presentation and report production skills to effectively communicate with, educate, obtain feedback from and advise residents, property owners, developers, commissions, and elected officials on areas of program specialization.

Selection Criteria

  • Bachelor's degree in community or urban planning, landscape architecture, or related field; and
  • Three years of experience in project management of Urban Planning, land use program administration, community development, or related program areas.

Substitution: Additional education may be substituted for experience.

Desirables: Preference may be given to candidates with a Master’s Degree in related field and a designation/experience in one or more of the following:

  • Senior level project management in community planning studies, plan implementation strategies, and development review issues;
  • Working closely with interagency staff, the community, stakeholder groups, and commissions;
  • Presenting study findings, project plans, and recommendations to a variety of audiences; and
  • Development review.

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 Driver License. Any offer of employment may be contingent upon a favorable review of the applicant's driving record.

Completion of the Commonwealth of Virginia "Statement of Economic Interest (Financial Disclosure)" form will be required of the successful candidate upon hire and annually thereafter.

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.

The salary listed at the top of this announcement is effective July 1, 2021.

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 may not be considered.

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.


What is the Highest level of education you have completed?
  • High School/GED
  • Bachelor's Degree
  • Master's Degree (or above)


How much experience do you have in urban planning, land use program administration, community development, or related program areas?
  • 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 indicate if you have experience/designation in any of the following:
  • Senior level project management in community planning studies, plan implementation strategies, and development review issues
  • Working closely with interagency staff, the community, stakeholder groups, and commissions
  • Urban planning, land use program administration, and/or community development
  • Presenting study findings, project plans, and recommendations to a variety of audiences
  • American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) Designation
  • None


Please attach a cover letter or use the space below to describe your experience with the project management of urban planning, land use program administration, community development, or related program areas. Please put N/A, if not applicable.

Required Question