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Senior Planner, Manhattan Beach

Link to Job Posting:

Filing Deadline: Continuous


The City of Manhattan Beach is actively looking for a Senior Planner to fill a vacancy in the Community Development Department. Our ideal Senior Planner candidate is described as a collaborative team player with strong communication skills, experience working in a boutique high-service-level community, a technical knowledge in the field of planning, and a predisposition to customer service. Candidates with expertise in long-range (advanced) planning is highly desirable.

Under general supervision, the Senior Planner administers and reviews a diverse range of current and advanced professional planning projects and studies including general plan and code amendments; administers zoning codes and ordinances and policies and procedures for development permits; makes presentations to City Council, Boards and Commissions, and local organization groups; provides direction to technical and professional staff and assigns tasks; and performs other related work as assigned.


The duties listed below are intended only as illustrations of the various types of work that may be performed. The omission of specific statements of duties does not exclude them from the position if the work is similar, related, or a logical assignment to the class.

  • Conducts and reviews comprehensive land development and planning studies for current and advance planning projects; analyzes applicability of planning, zoning, and building codes, and the types of modifications that might be needed to meet City requirements and other types of regulatory and design standards.

  • Serves as a project manager on long-term, complex planning initiatives, which may include extensive community outreach and consensus building, coordination with regional and regulatory agencies, City policy and regulatory document updates, environmental review and determination, formulation of implementation plans, and verbal and written updates to the public, executive management, and the public.

  • Organizes, tracks, and reports upon the status of projects; assigns tasks involving members of professional and technical staff, and monitors progress while providing recommendations related to the report content and recommendations; provides guidance in the research of codes, ordinances, development standards, and planning surveys.

  • Negotiates and administers consultant contracts for planning studies and monitors project scope, task completion, and fee schedule.

  • Prepares environmental assessment reports and assists in the administration of the environmental review procedures under terms of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), and the City's CEQA guidelines. Evaluates sensitive projects under the provisions of the California Coastal Act and historic preservation regulations; evaluates land uses and impacts in the context of site plan check review and development standards; prepares environmental determinations, including negative declarations as part of environmental analysis.

  • Performs plan check functions for major development projects and permits for completeness, accuracy, and conformance with code requirements; conducts site inspections, as needed to verify conformance with conditions for plan approval.

  • Prepares and reviews staff reports and agenda items, including supporting exhibits and makes presentations to the Planning Commission and the City Council; compiles and reviews information related to plan check reports, resolutions, and permits given questions and policy issues.

  • Confers with and advises architects, builders, contractors, engineers, and the general public regarding City development policies and standards for larger scale, historical, and ecologically sensitive projects.

  • Reviews development proposals and works with developers to negotiate agreement on acceptable site and elevation plans in cooperation with senior planning staff; reviews building plans, parcel maps, and subdivision proposals for conformance with State and local regulations, and compiles reports containing recommendations.

  • Coordinates regional planning activities with other City departments and with outside agencies, as assigned; attends inter-agency planning meetings as the City’s representative.

  • Researches issues and disputes involving the interpretation and applicability of zoning and environmental ordinances and presents recommendations to management representatives.

  • Oversees the review of miscellaneous applications such as Entertainment Permits, Temporary Use Permits, and zoning letters to determine whether projects meet conditions for approval.

  • Provides technical guidance to junior staff on daily requests, inquiries, and job activities. May supervise junior staff.

  • May act on behalf of Planning Manager if need arises.

  • Performs other related duties as assigned.



  • Bachelor’s Degree in Public Administration, Urban Planning, or a closely related field is required.

  • Five (5) years of responsible professional planning experience is required, including the administration of varied planning and zoning projects, oversight of advanced planning projects, and interpretation of related codes and statutes.

  • Experience in coastal areas is highly desirable.

  • A Master's Degree in Urban Planning or Regional Planning, Public Administration, or a closely-related field is highly desirable and may substitute for one (1) year of required experience.

Knowledge of:

  • Municipal Code, Zoning Code, and related ordinances;

  • Land use and architectural design standards;

  • California Coastal Act and Environmental Quality Act and State planning and signage laws;

  • Historic preservation standards; Subdivision Map Act; housing laws and practices

  • Project management practices; leadership techniques; report preparation and presentation methods;

  • Research and reporting methods and techniques;

  • Application of land use, physical design, economic, environmental, mobility, sustainability, and/or social concepts in the planning process;

  • Terminology, symbols, methods, techniques and instruments used in planning and map drafting;

  • Applicable local, State and federal laws, codes, and regulations; and

  • Customer service practices.

Ability to:

  • Understand, explain, and interpret local development standards and requirements;

  • Check building plans for conformance with land use, architectural and zoning regulations, and suggest changes to achieve compliance;

  • Manage projects and administer contracts;

  • Understand and apply federal, State and local laws, regulations, policies, procedures and standards pertaining to the planning process;

  • Interpret maps, site and building plans and specifications, graphs, and statistical data;

  • Prepare clear maps, graphs, and illustrations;

  • Make effective presentations;

  • Operate modern office equipment and computer hardware;

  • Use word processing, spreadsheet, graphics, and mapping software;

  • Prepare clear and concise technical documents, reports, correspondence and other written materials; and

  • Establish and maintain effective working relationships with staff, management, developers, contractors, officials, general public, and other parties.

Licenses/Certificates/Special Requirements:

  • An American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) credential is preferred.

  • Ability to attain a valid Class C California driver’s license and have an acceptable driving record.

  • Ability to work extended hours to attend City functions and meetings.

  • In accordance with California Government Code Section 3100, City of Manhattan Beach employees, in the event of a disaster, are considered disaster service workers and may be asked to protect the health, safety, lives, and property of the people of the State.


Interviews will be held continuously until the position is filled. Applicants are encouraged to apply early. This position may close at any time without notice. All applicants will be screened in relation to the criteria outlined in this job announcement. Candidates will be reviewed and only those candidates determined to be most qualified on the basis of experience, training and education, as submitted, will be invited to participate further in the selection process. Meeting the minimum requirements listed in this job announcement does not guarantee advancement in subsequent phases of the selection process. The selection process may be changed as deemed necessary by the City Human Resources Department.

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