Senior Planner

  • City of Costa Mesa, CA
  • Costa Mesa, California
  • Sep 06, 2023
Full Time Planning and Development
  • Salary: $103,632.00 - $138,876.00 Annually USD

Job Description



  • Current: $103,632 - $138,876 annually ($8,636 - $11,573 per month)
  • July 2024 - $106,728 - $143,040 annually ($8,894 - $11,920 per month)

There are currently two (2) full-time vacancies.


Under supervision, to perform advanced journey-level professional planning work in the fields of current and advanced planning; to act as a subject matter expert in a complex area of urban planning; to provide functional supervision and training to lower-level staff; and to do other work as required. This position involves responsibilities in both current and advance planning.


This is the advanced journey-level class in the professional planner series. Work assigned to this class involves considerable skill in research, analysis, presentation of data, writing, development analysis and oral presentations. An incumbent exercises functional and technical supervision over journey-level planning staff. This class is distinguished from the class of Principal Planner in that it does not possess full first-line supervisory responsibility for a major work section and is distinguished from the Associate Planner class by the regular performance of highly complex and technical duties as a subject matter expert. Work is assigned and evaluated through conferences, reports and presentations.


Applications must be completed and submitted online. This recruitment will remain open until filled and may close without prior notice, therefore prompt application is encouraged.

First application review date: Monday, September 25th

Candidates are requested to provide specific information regarding their education and experience as it relates to the position by completing all fields of the application. Applications may be rejected if incomplete . Do not include "see attached resume" in your responses, as they will not be accepted or reviewed in the application process.

Based upon the information presented on the application, a limited number of candidates who possess qualifications most pertinent to the position will be invited to participate in the selection process. The selection process may include, but is not limited to the following components: application review and evaluation, written examination or exercise, physical examination, practical exercise and interview evaluation. Please notify the Human Resources Division 72 hours in advance of the test date if you have a disability which requires accommodation for the testing process. The eligibility list will be in effect for one (1) year, unless exhausted sooner. The eligibility list established from this recruitment may be utilized to fill lower-level vacancies which occur during the life of the list.

It is recommended you use a personal email address on your application instead of a work email address. Notifications during this recruitment will be sent by email only (regardless of the notification preference selected during the on-line application process). Notifications will be sent to the email address that is listed on your online application.

All employment offers made by the City are contingent upon establishing proof of a prospective candidate's legal authorization to work in the United States and successfully passing all components of the pre-employment process which may include, but is not limited to: comprehensive background check, criminal history check (Live Scan fingerprint check), polygraph examination, post-offer psychological evaluation and post-offer medical evaluation (may include drug screen). Based upon current and/or future assignments, an employee may be subject to pre-employment, random, reasonable and post-accident drug and alcohol testing pursuant to the Department of Transportation Regulations.

Note: The provisions of this job bulletin do not constitute an expressed or implied contract. Any provisions contained within may be modified or revoked without notice.

Essential Functions

These functions may not be present in all positions in this class. When a position is to be filled, the essential functions will be noted in the announcement of position availability. Management reserves the right to add, modify, change or rescind work assignments as needed.

Supervises, directs and coordinates a major segment of the City's planning and zoning programs; supervises special planning, zoning and environmental studies.

Determines methods and procedures to be utilized in accomplishing assigned activities; coordinates activities with other sections, divisions or departments.

Coordinates with Planning staff regarding General Plan consistency, Zoning Code, complex development projects and delegation of assignments.

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 clerical 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.

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 and preparation of new ordinances.

Performs research, planning, and technical analysis for complex planning projects, and prepares reports of 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.

Qualification Guidelines

A typical way to obtain the requisite knowledge and abilities to perform the duties and responsibilities of this classification is as follows:


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.

Considerable professional experience in urban planning encompassing advanced and/or current planning activities. Five years of experience is highly preferred. Municipal planning experience in current planning 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.


Certification by the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) is desirable.

Possession or the ability to obtain a valid Class C California Driver's License by date of appointment is required. Revocation of license during employment may result in disciplinary action or reassignment.


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.


Ability to supervise and perform complex technical research on economic, engineering, transportation, zoning, environmental impact, urban design and sociological problems 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.

Supplemental Information

In accordance with Government Code Section 3100 - all City of Costa Mesa employees are required to perform assigned disaster service worker duties in the event of an emergency or a disaster.


Please contact Human Resources for a summary of the essential tasks and environmental factors for this classification.

Employee accommodations for physical or mental disabilities will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

To view benefit information for all groups, Click Here

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: $1,550monthly
  • Effective January 2024: $1,600monthly
  • Effective January 2025: $1,650monthly

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.

Closing Date/Time:

Job Address

Costa Mesa, California United States View Map