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San Luis Obispo County, California


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Recruitment #1212PM-00603-01

DATE OPENED:     12/27/2012 4:30:00 PM
JOB TYPE:      Open
FILING DEADLINE:     1/17/2013 11:59:00 PM
SALARY:     $5,610 - $6,818/month
City of San Luis Obispo
DEPARTMENT:     Planning & Building

Click HERE to view benefits

Conditional employment offers are based on successful completion of any pre-appointment background investigation, drug testing, and medical/psychological evaluation.

ABOUT THE POSITION:  The Senior Planner classification is the highest level classification in the Planner series.  Senior Planners perform a variety of tasks in support of programs assigned to the Department of Planning and Building or General Services Agency including: community planning, development review, environmental review, energy and natural resources management, airport planning, park planning, housing and economic development and other related work as required.

Under direction, Senior Planners work independently and with minimum supervision; performs complex and specialized assignments which may include serving as a project manager and directly supervising project staff, including consultant and contract staff; may review work of other staff; trains subordinate staff; supervises subordinate staff as assigned.


(Not in order of importance)
  • Assists the general public in interpreting planning and environmental regulations and policies
  • Collects and summarizes planning and environmental data including provision of specialized assistance related to environmental issues (e.g. biology, archaeology, geology)
  • Develops, compiles and indexes inventories of a wide variety of environmental resource data from existing records and field surveys; conducts field investigations and information surveys
  • Prepares technical reports maps, charts and other graphic displays to illustrate research findings, project review and environmental issues;  writes staff reports
  • Processes routine land use permits, land divisions and environmental determinations and assists in the processing of more complex land use permits, land divisions and environmental determinations
  • Assists in the preparation of long range planning documents and grant administration
  • May be assigned specialized projects such as serving as a department liaison at advisory committee meetings
  • Processes complex land use permits and land use applications including complete environmental review.
  • Meets and confers with a wide variety of individuals organizations and agencies in the public and private sectors, including applicants, general public, consultants and representatives of federal, state and local agencies
  • Reviews and/or assists in the preparation of Environmental Impact Reports
  • Completes application processing including making recommendations to the Planning and Building Director or General Services Agency Director on the disposition of cases
  • Meets with the public to advise of the effect of county regulations and policies on proposed projects and presents reports at public hearings
  • Evaluates development projects to determine compliance with federal, state and local land use and environmental laws, regulations and policies (including compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act)
  • Prepares Desk Manual procedures
  • May obtain funding and permits for county projects
  • Prepares and presents staff reports at public meetings and hearings
  • Completes application processing including making recommendations to the Planning and Building Director or General Services Agency Director on the disposition of cases
  • Makes regular presentations at committee meetings and public hearings
  • Prepares, maintains and updates general plan and policy related documents including airport  and park land use plans
  • Prepares Environmental Impact Reports
  • Develops land use and environmental language to ensure clarity, standardization, and conformity to policy guidelines for the use in reports, specifications and manuals
  • Recommend needed changes to land use codes/ordinances
  • Amends planning documents and policy
  • Administers grants
  • Manages long term planning programs such as updating or preparing new general plan policy documents and the review of large projects with environmental review
  • Prepares and administers grant and related entitlement programs; represents the Planning and Building Director and the Environmental Coordinator, or General Services Agency Director as directed.


Knowledge of:
  • General land use, environmental, airport and park planning principles
  • Engineering principles and practices pertinent to land use planning and environmental impact determination
  • Federal state and local laws and regulations related to the environmental and land use planning with special emphasis on Subdivision Map Act, Zoning and Planning Law (Government Code) and the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).
  • Physical and life sciences
  • Basic drafting and drawing techniques
  • Principles of technical report writing
  • Statistical computation and mathematics
  • Computer applications and techniques such as Geographic Information Systems
  • Planning and Building Department or General Services Agency office organization, procedures and standards as well as strategic direction and goals
  • Office procedures and policies
  • Effective oral and written communication skills
  • Interpersonal skills using tact, patience and courtesy
  • Principles, practices and regulations that are pertinent to land use planning, environmental review, airport planning, and park planning or
  • Principles of land use modeling, air quality modeling, transportation modeling and acoustical modeling
  • Contract management to monitor completion of work specified and expenditures
  • Precedent setting court cases relating to land use and environmental law
  • Effective conflict resolution techniques
  • Basic supervisory techniques
  • Project budgeting principles

Ability to:
  • Compile, organize and summarize information accurately in graphic and written form
  • Learn, interpret, apply and explain departmental policies and procedures, rules, laws and regulations
  • Use sound judgment in researching, interpreting, applying, and explaining appropriate laws, codes, ordinances, regulations, policies, procedures and guidelines
  • Follow oral and written instructions
  • Administer land use policies and regulations with good judgment, firmness and impartiality
  • Assist in the review of project proposals against predetermined standards
  • Work effectively in an environment that includes pressure to meet time sensitive deadlines and critical review of work product.
  • Support and follow department policies, goals, guiding principles, and Mission-Vision-Values Statement
  • Foster a spirit of teamwork and support when interacting with staff and others
  • Work effectively and tactfully with other staff, public agencies, the general public and advisory committees
  • Operate standard office equipment including a computer and assigned software.
  • Maintain a safe and orderly work area
  • Read and understand site plans, architectural drawings and topographical maps
  • Review and evaluate project proposals against predetermined definitive standards and general performance objectives
  • Implement departmental policies and procedures in all program areas
  • Prepare concise and accurate staff reports and presentation at public meetings
  • Develop, prepare and present comprehensive reports that deal with land use planning,  airport planning, park planning and environmental issues
  • Use organizational acuity when dealing with the public, media, and various committees and boards
  • Use software and other automation related techniques for personal and mainframe computers to maximize staff efficiency
  • Make concise and professional formal and informal presentations of technical material
  • Complete the processing of large or moderately complex projects
  • Orient and train staff
  • Act as a leadworker; plan own work and work of others for successful results
  • Manage the most controversial development and policy projects
  • Effectively conduct and facilitate public meetings
  • Supervise and evaluate the performance of assigned staff

MINIMUM QUALIFICATIONS:  Graduation from an accredited institution with either a Bachelor's or Master’s degree in urban and regional planning, architecture, landscape architecture, geography, natural resources management, environmental, physical or life science, or a closely related field.  (Para-professional or higher level job related experience may substitute for the required education on a year-for-year basis.)  IN ADDITION: Four years of professional level experience in urban and regional planning and environmental review/analysis or environmental impact assessment work which requires a state approved specialized professional license or certification.

LICENSES/CERTIFICATES: A valid driver’s license is required at the time of application. A valid CALIFORNIA driver’s license is required at the time of appointment and must be maintained throughout employment.

IN ADDITION:  This class specification generally describes the duties and responsibilities characteristic of the position(s) within this class. Duties of a particular position within a multi-position class may vary from the duties of other positions within the class. Accordingly, the essential functions of a particular position (whether it be a multi-position class or a single-position class) will be identified and used by medical examiners and hiring authorities in the selection process. If you have questions regarding the duties or the working conditions of the position, please contact the Human Resources Department.

AGENCY SHOP:  Employees hired into the Public Services, Supervisory and Clerical bargaining units represented by SLOCEA labor contracts are covered by Agency Shop provisions which require that new employees become SLOCEA dues paying members or pay an agency shop service fee in lieu of dues.

NOTIFICATION:  Applicants will be notified 2-4 weeks after the final filing deadline. However, some recruitments may take less or more time depending on the type of exam and number of applicants. Notifications will be posted on-line on the Applicant Status Board for each phase of the recruitment process and will be sent by US mail and/or email.  Therefore, notify the Human Resources Department of any mailing or email address changes for all applications submitted.

SELECTION PROCESS:  The examination process will include a competitive examination consisting of an evaluation of job-related education and experience through one of the following methods of testing:  A) competitive application rating, based solely on application information presented OR B) oral board rating as determined by an interview panel OR C) application screening and an oral board rating OR D) any combination thereof.  In any case, the evaluation will be weighted 100% in determining a candidate’s placement on the eligible list.  Applicants are urged to submit sufficiently detailed information in their application materials for proper qualification evaluation.   The hiring department will be provided a list of the top nine ranks of eligible candidates and one additional rank for each vacancy. The hiring department may hire any of the candidates certified to the department.  Veterans and disabled veterans preference points will be assigned when applicable. Please note: any part of this selection process may be waived or changed as deemed appropriate by the Human Resources Department at any point during the recruitment. Eligible lists may be used to fill regular, limited term or temporary positions.

PENSION BENEFIT INFORMATION:  Effective January 1, 2013 the Public Employees' Pension Reform Act of 2013 (PEPRA or AB340), makes substantial changes to public employee pension plans. PEPRA impacts the pension benefits of current employees (employees hired on or before 12/31/12) and all future hires (those hired on or after 1/1/13).  Please refer to our website for additional information including summary of impacts and FAQs at:

Should you have additional questions, please contact Human Resources staff at 805.781.5959 or .  Note:  Those employees with reciprocity who are returning or entering into SLO County employment within a 6 month break in service, may be eligible to enter into the SLO County pension plan that was in existence for new hires as of December 31, 2012 for that bargaining unit.  Contact Pension Trust (805.781.5465 or for specific questions related to reciprocity.   All other questions should be directed to HR.

OTHER PROVISIONS:  New employees are required to complete an INS Employment Eligibility Verification form to certify citizenship or legal residency and authorization to work. Essential functions of a job for purposes of the Americans with Disabilities Act will be determined prior to the filling of each vacant position. A reasonable effort will be made to accommodate the needs of the disabled and the religious needs of an applicant. If you require special arrangements to participate in the recruitment process, you must inform the County Human Resources Department in writing of the type and extent of accommodation no later than the final filing deadline.