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ASSOCIATE PLANNER

DEFINITION OF THE POSITION:

Under direct and general supervision, performs various professional field and office planning work related to current and advance planning, including review of development and land use applications, zoning, site plans, and environmental documents; provides project management and administration; completes technical assessments and prepares written project analysis; provides environmental review and project analysis for Capital Improvement Projects (CIP) and special projects in advance planning; provides professional advice and assistance to the public on planning, community development, zoning, permits, and environmental review; provides complex professional staff assistance to the Planning Manager, other departments, and the public in areas of expertise; performs a variety of studies and prepares and presents staff reports; and performs related work as required.

SUPERVISION RECEIVED AND EXERCISED:

Receives direct and general supervision from the assigned supervisory or management staff. Exercises no direct supervision over staff. May exercise technical and functional direction over and provide training to lower-level staff and contract consultants.

CHARACTERISTICS OF THE POSITION:

This is the full journey-level class in the professional planning series. Incumbents are expected to perform the full range of professional and technical planning work in all of the following areas: current, advance, and/or environmental planning activities, and daily departmental operations, in addition to providing project management and administration. Positions at this level are distinguished from the Assistant level by the performance of the full range of duties as assigned, working independently and exercising judgment and initiative. Positions at this level receive only occasional instruction or assistance as new or unusual situations arise and are fully aware of the operating procedures and policies of the work unit. This class is distinguished from the Senior Planner in that the latter is the advanced journey-level class in the series and is responsible for organizing, assigning, and reviewing the work of departmental and/or contract staff involved in a major area of the Planning Division, in addition to performing the more complex planning and project management activities.

Examples of Duties Management reserves the right to add, modify, change or rescind the work assignments of different positions and to make reasonable accommodations so that qualified employees can perform the essential functions of the job.

Reviews routine to complex commercial, industrial, and residential development proposals, plans, and applications for issuance of zoning clearance and for compliance with appropriate codes, ordinances, standards, laws, rules, regulations, and policies.

Reviews permit applications and building plans for completeness and compliance with current City codes and regulations; provides interpretations of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), Subdivision Map Act, and local environmental guidelines; identifies corrective actions to be taken by owners; recommends improvement and rehabilitation programs; conducts follow-up and re-check and approves or denies submittals.

Reviews and signs off on plans submitted for Building Plan Check and permits.

Prepares or assists in preparing and reviewing environmental impact reports; prepares written initial studies, negative declarations, and staff reports related to development projects or City projects.

Assists the public at the front counter and on the phone, answering questions and providing information regarding zoning, land use, development standards, approved development proposals, and the City’s entitlement process; performs plan check functions for various projects; receives and reviews applications for building permits for completeness; receives and records zoning and code compliance complaints, establishes appropriate files, performs inspections of document violations, coordinates actions with those of other agencies, and implements appropriate procedures to correct or resolve each complaint and violation.

Serves as project manager on planning and development projects, which includes application and plan review, coordination with project applicants and other City departments, preparation and posting of legal notices, background research, environmental review; preparation of staff reports, scheduling meetings and hearings, monitoring of project implementation to verify substantial conformance with approved plans, conditions and mitigation measures; suggests revisions to site plans and architecture; inspects project development sites.

Compiles information for a variety of studies and reports; researches, analyzes, and interprets social, economic, population, and land use data and trends; researches and reviews previous entitlements and City records; develops recommendations and prepares written reports on various planning matters and the City’s General Plan; participates in the implementation and administration of the City’s General Plan and development regulations.

Researches, collects, records, analyzes, interprets, and summarizes statistical and demographic information; prepares spreadsheets and establishes and maintains a comprehensive database.

Prepares and presents staff reports for the City Council, Planning Commission, Design Review Committee, Zoning Administrator, Staff Review Committee, and various other committees and advisory boards as directed; prepares research, reports, maps, and conducts briefings and meetings.

Confers with and advises architects, builders, attorneys, contractors, engineers, and the general public regarding City development policies and standards; provides and clarifies information relative to land use, zoning, code interpretation, general plan compliance, signage, and other issues.

Researches and assists in preparing ordinances for review.

Participates in coordinating City planning and development related activities with other City departments and with outside agencies.

Performs various duties related to alcoholic beverages control (ABC) and other types of business licenses.

Refers to and applies numerous documents including the General Plan, Zoning Ordinance, California Environmental Quality Act, Subdivision Map Act, State Planning laws, Orange Municipal Code, Specific Plans, Redevelopment Guidelines, emergency operations manual, historical preservation guidelines, County tax assessor’s maps and records, building and architecture plans, etc.

Attends meetings, conferences, workshops, and training sessions; attends and participates in professional group meetings; stays abreast of new trends and innovations in the field of urban planning and other types of public services as they relate to the area of assignment.

May provide technical direction and training to other planning and technical staff.

Performs other duties as assigned. Typical Qualifications Knowledge of:

Modern principles and practices, technical and legal issues of urban and regional planning, zoning, urban economics, demographics, and environmental planning and program management. Geographic, socio-economic, transportation, political and other elements related to city planning. Comprehensive plans and current planning processes and the development process. Site planning and architectural design principles. General concepts of architecture, landscaping, grading, drainage, traffic and transportation engineering as they relate to the process of urban planning. Operational characteristics, services, and activities of a comprehensive environmental planning program. Applicable Federal, State, and local laws, codes, and requirements and related reports. Project management and contract administration principles and techniques. Researching and reporting methods, techniques, and procedures. Recent developments, current literature, and sources of information related to planning, zoning, and environmental review. Modern office methods, practices, procedures, and equipment, including computer hardware and software necessary for graphic presentation, mapping, and database management. Practices of researching planning and land use issues, evaluating alternatives, making sound recommendations, and preparing and presenting effective staff reports. Principles of advanced mathematics and their application to planning work. Methods and techniques of effective technical report preparation and presentation. English usage, grammar, spelling, vocabulary, and punctuation. Techniques for effectively representing the City in contacts with governmental agencies, community groups, various business, professional, educational and regulatory organizations, and with property owners, developers, contractors, and the public. Techniques for providing a high level of customer service by effectively dealing with the public, vendors, contractors and City staff. Ability to:

Interpret planning and zoning programs to the general public; identify and respond to issues and concerns of the public, City Council, and other boards and commissions. Read plans and specifications and make effective site visits. Assess, monitor, and report environmental impact on and of various City programs and services. Analyze site design, terrain constraints, land use compatibility, utilities, and other urban services. Conduct routine research projects, evaluate alternatives, and make sound recommendations. Read, interpret, apply, and explain technical written material and complex Federal, State, and local policies, procedures, laws, regulations, ordinances, and City planning policies and procedures. Read and understand technical drawings and specifications. Perform mathematical and planning computations with precision. Effectively represent the department and the City in meetings with governmental agencies, community groups, and various business, professional, and regulatory organizations and individuals. Coordinate assigned activities with other City departments and agencies as required. Direct the work of contract consultants. Prepare and present clear, concise, and logical written and oral reports, correspondence, policies, procedures, and other written materials. Establish and maintain a variety of filing, record-keeping, and tracking systems. Make sound, independent decisions within established policy and procedural guidelines. Organize and prioritize a variety of projects and multiple tasks in an effective and timely manner; organize own work, set priorities, and meet critical time deadlines. Operate modern office equipment including computer equipment and specialized software applications programs. Use English effectively to communicate in person, over the telephone, and in writing. Use tact, initiative, prudence, and independent judgment within general policy, procedural, and legal guidelines. Establish, maintain, and foster positive and harmonious working relationships with those contacted in the course of work. Education and Experience: Any combination of training and experience that would provide the required knowledge, skills, and abilities is qualifying. A typical and ideal way to obtain the required qualifications would be:

Equivalent to graduation from an accredited four-year college or university with major coursework in urban planning, community development, business or public administration, or a related field; and three (3) years of professional experience in planning, zoning and related community development activities, or, two (2) years of experience as Assistant Planner at the City of Orange.

Licenses and Certifications:

Possess and maintain a valid California Class C Driver License with satisfactory driving record and proof of acceptable automobile insurance at the time of appointment and throughout employment in the position is required. Supplemental Information PHYSICAL DEMANDS Must possess mobility to work in a standard office setting and use standard office equipment, including a computer, to inspect City development sites, including traversing uneven terrain, climbing ladders, stairs, and other temporary or construction access points; to operate a motor vehicle, and to visit various City and meeting sites; vision to read printed materials and a computer screen; and hearing and speech to communicate in person, before groups, and over the telephone. This is primarily a sedentary office classification although standing in work areas and walking between work areas may be required. Finger dexterity is needed to access, enter, and retrieve data using a computer keyboard or calculator and to operate standard office equipment. Positions in this classification occasionally bend, stoop, kneel, reach, push and pull drawers open and closed to retrieve and file information. Employees must possess the ability to lift, carry, push and pull materials and objects weighing up to 25 pounds.

ENVIRONMENTAL ELEMENTS Employees work in an office environment with moderate noise levels, controlled temperature conditions, and no direct exposure to hazardous physical substances. Employees may work in the field and occasionally be exposed to loud noise levels, cold and hot temperatures, inclement weather conditions, road hazards, vibration, mechanical and/or electrical hazards, and hazardous physical substances and fumes. Employees may interact with upset staff and/or public and private representatives in interpreting and enforcing departmental policies and procedures.

WORKING CONDITIONS

This position requires regular and reliable attendance and the employee’s physical presence at the workplace. May be required to work various shifts, including, but not limited to, evenings, weekends, and holidays.

DISASTER SERVICE WORKER

All employees of the City of Orange are designated by both State law and City ordinance to be “Disaster Service Workers.” In the event of a declared emergency or any undeclared emergency or natural disaster that threatens the life, health and/or safety of the public, employees may be assigned to assist rescue and relief workers. Such assignments may be in locations, during hours and performing work significantly different from the employees’ normal work assignments and may continue through the recovery phase of the emergency.

CITY MISSION, VISION, AND VALUES Incumbents in all City positions are expected to exhibit the behavior characteristics reflected in the City’s Mission, Vision, and Values statements in the performance of their duties: The City of Orange is committed to excellent service for our residents, businesses, and visitors. As an organization, the City of Orange is the leader in delivering the highest level of service to meet current and future needs of the community. The City’s values include Teamwork, Integrity, and Excellence.

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