Senior Planner

Job Information

Job Category

Environmental, Land Use, Parks Planning, Rural Planning, Urban Design

Company Name

City of Costa Mesa

Position Level


Job Description

Supervises, directs and coordinates a major segment of the City’s planning and zoning programs; supervises special planning, zoning and environmental studies and complex development projects. Determines methods and procedures to be utilized in accomplishing assigned activities; coordinates activities with other sections, divisions or departments. Coordinates with and delegates to staff regarding General Plan consistency, Zoning Code, complex development projects. Directs, coordinates, reviews and participates in the work of professional and technical staff in data collection, analyses, plan formulation and implementation of a wide variety of planning and zoning programs. Participates in the selection of professional, technical and administrative support personnel and their orientation, training and performance evaluations; plans, organizes, and supervises the work of planning staff; coaches and motivates personnel; assists in the development and implementation of staff training programs and plans; recommends employee recognition and discipline. Acts as technical advisor to subordinate personnel in solving difficult assignments, and in reviewing objectives, techniques of execution, recommendations and resultant findings and determining General Plan and Zoning Code consistency. Assists management in developing, planning and implementing department goals, objectives and priorities; recommends changes to departmental programs, policies and procedures. Meets with developers, engineers, property owners, contractors and other individuals to discuss, advise, explain processes and suggest improvements regarding potential projects, pre-applications, development applications, feasibility analysis, conceptual development plans and code interpretation. Prepares, reviews and presents staff reports, technical studies, special projects, and presentations for City Council, Planning Commission, and other boards and commissions. Performs plan checks for zoning compliance and evaluates development sites to make recommendations for issuance of ministerial and discretionary permits, and to determine level of environmental review and consistency with the General Plan. Reads, analyzes and critiques constructions plans for zoning compliance, and coordinates review by other City departments. Makes recommendations on planning applications submitted for discretionary review, including development permits, use permits, variances, tract subdivision maps, master plans and other zoning applications. Responds to and resolves sensitive and difficult inquiries, complaints, and requests for information from property owners, business owners and the public regarding development proposals. Meets with developers, community stakeholders, citizens' organizations, and public officials to coordinate and implement various planning projects and programs. Assists in the review of the City's comprehensive general plan amendments and preparation of new ordinances. Performs research, planning, and technical analysis for complex planning projects, and prepares reports or studies. Develops and maintains good working relationships with other city departments, other jurisdictions, and the public. May administer contracts with a variety of consultants and contractors as assigned. May serve as staff liaison or support for an advisory committee or commission. Performs other related work as required or duties as assigned by senior-level or management staff.

Required Skills / Experience / Education

EDUCATION: Graduation from an accredited four-year college or university with major coursework in urban planning, public administration, architecture, economics, geography or a related field. A master's degree in a related field is preferred. Four years of professional experience in urban planning encompassing advanced and/or current planning activities. Municipal planning experience is preferred. An equivalent combination of education and relevant experience that provides the desired knowledge, skills and abilities to successfully perform essential functions may also be considered. SKILLS: Knowledge of principles and practices of urban planning. Knowledge of laws and ordinances applicable to urban planning, community development, and zoning processes. Knowledge of research methods and sources of information related to urban growth and development. Knowledge of the principles of supervision, work organization, and personnel management. Knowledge of economics, statistics and elementary demographics. ABILITIES: Ability to supervise and perform complex technical research on economic, engineering, transportation, zoning, environmental impact, urban design and housing issues as part of the planning process. Ability to communicate effectively, both orally and in writing, and present technical information succinctly in an interesting manner, orally and in writing. Ability to analyze and supervise the systematic compilation of technical and statistical data and to prepare complex reports. Ability to establish and maintain effective working relationships with staff, city officials, representatives of other government agencies, community leaders, and the general public. Ability to plan, organize and supervise professional, technical and clerical personnel. Ability to comprehend and apply laws, regulations and policies related to municipal planning or zoning. Ability to drive to development sites and conduct on-site inspection and investigations.

US Citizenship Required?


Will security clearance be required?


Salary Range

$106,728.00 - $143,040.00

Other Benefits

New employees contribute 9% of their salary on a pre-tax basis towards the 2%@60 or 2%@62 CalPERS retirement formula depending on eligibility. Salary Increases: Effective July 2024: 3% increase Employees receive the following health insurance flexible benefits contribution: Current: $1,600 monthly Effective January 2025: $1,650 monthly The City does not participate in the Social Security system; however, federal mandate requires new employees to contribute 1.45% of wages to Medicare. As a condition of employment, all new employees are required to enroll and participate in the direct deposit program.

Job Start Date


Position Type

Permanent Full-Time



Primary Language Required


Job Location

Location Address

77 Fair Drive
Costa Mesa, California

Contact Information

Hiring Contact Name

Aaron Dominguez


[email protected]

Phone Number

(714) 754-4862