Assistant/Associate/Senior Planner

Town of Portola Valley , California

Job Information 


Building and Planning

Mid Level


$83,000.00 - $125,000.00 Annually

Application Deadline 

Open Until Filled

No Application Deadline

Recruitment Type 

Open Competitive


The Town of Portola Valley is seeking two motivated planning professionals to join the team. Two planners will be hired across the classifications of Assistant, Associate, and Senior Planner, depending on qualifications. The successful candidates will join a dynamic staff that works closely with the Town Council to advance Council’s priorities for the Town. Potential upcoming work for the department includes a comprehensive update to the General Plan, the first since Town incorporation, implementation of the Housing Strategic Plan, and Zoning Code improvements. Over time, we will update our policies and procedures to bring the best planning practices to support the Town values and goals.

On a daily basis, much of the work of the Assistant/Associate Planner centers on review of single-family homes. The selected planner(s) will review projects, prepare reports, work with neighbors, and make presentations to the Architectural and Site Control Commission. The Senior Planner will work on more complex development applications, housing, and advanced planning assignments in support of the Council priorities. These two positions are ideal for planners that want to apply their skills and experience to manage projects, develop policy, and improve process in a fun environment.


Please review the complete job descriptions for Assistant/Associate Planner and Senior Planner. Representative duties include:

Assistant / Associate Planner

• Reviews routine land use and development applications including site development, architectural review, conditional use permits, and variance applications; evaluates alternatives and conformance with Town policies, ordinances, the General Plan and state and federal laws; prepares and presents staff reports to the Architectural and Site Controlpage2image987010144page2image987010416

~ WWW.PORTOLAVALLEY.NET ~page2image988041936

Commission and Planning Commission regarding such applications, attends meetings and

makes presentations.

  • Conducts field investigations as necessary to assist with project evaluation.

  • Coordinates plan review with Town consultants, Town Committees, and other public


  • Inspects projects for compliance with conditions of approval.

  • Evaluates and approves Staff Discretionary Review level permits and checks building plans

    for compliance with Town policies, approved plans, and conditions of approval.

  • Perform duties of staff liaison to the Architectural and Site Control Commission including, but

    not limited to, preparation of agendas, staff reports, minutes, and meeting notifications.

  • Provide information and direction to the public related to planning, building, and permit

    processing via telephone, e-mail, and front counter.

    Senior Planner

    • Serve as project manager for advanced, highly complex planning projects; evaluates alternatives and conformance with Town policies, ordinances, the General Plan and state and federal laws; prepares and presents staff reports to the ASCC, Planning Commission and the Town Council regarding such applications, attends meetings and makes presentations as necessary.

    • Provide Department Director with support on high-priority programs and projects.

    • Updates and creates long-range planning documents such as the Town’s General Plan and

      other assigned plans; prepares modifications to specific General Plan elements.

    • Prepares written project analysis including identifying appropriate land use policy, design

      issues and environmental requirements; makes recommendations for action.

    • Contributes to community outreach on development projects and Town initiatives; prepares informational materials, assists in facilitating meetings and responding to community

      questions and concerns on projects.

    • Serves as staff liaison for commissions and committees, including providing technical advice

      and giving presentations.

    • Oversees Staff Discretionary Review process.


      Please review the complete job descriptions for Assistant/Associate Planner and Senior Plannerfor the knowledge and abilities expected for each position. Any combination of education and experience that would likely provide the required knowledge and abilities is qualifying. A typical way to obtain the knowledge and abilities would be:

      Education/Training: A Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university with major course work in land-use planning, urban planning, landscape architecture or a closely related field. A Master's degree is highly desirable.

      Assistant Planner: A combination of education and experience that would provide the required knowledge. For example, two years of experience performing technical planning duties similar to that of a Planning Technician.
      Associate Planner: Three years of increasingly responsible full-time professional planning experience.
      Senior Planner: A minimum of five years of increasingly responsible planning experience preferably with a public agency, including two years of project management or supervisory experience; or an equivalent combination of education and experience sufficient to successfully perform the essential duties of the job as listed in the full job description.

License or Certificate: 

Possession of, or ability to obtain, valid California Driver’s License; ICS 100, 200, and 700 certifications (can be acquired online before job begins).


Salary- Within this range depending on qualifications:

Assistant Planner - $83,000 - $97,000 annually

Associate Planner - $92,000 - $106,000 annually
Senior Planner - $102,000 - $125,000 annually

The Town’s employee benefits for this position currently include the following:

  • Participation in the State of California Public
    Employees Retirement System (CalPERS) in the
    2% @ 62 retirement plan (some individuals may be eligible to participate in a different CalPERS retirement benefit dependent upon prior CalPERS service).

  • Generous contribution to Cafeteria Plan (Section 125) for employee to select from CalPERS medical plans, opt-out, or deferred compensation plan. The Cafeteria Plan allowance is adjusted annually on January 1.

  • Nine paid holidays per year plus business days between Christmas and New Year’s Day.

  • Up to 20 days of vacation per year (depending on years of service).

  • Twelve days of sick leave accrued per year.

  • Option for 9/80 work schedule.

  • Tuition reimbursement; long-term disability insurance; and life insurance. Please note that the Town also participates in Social Security.


    We are looking for two people with the following characteristics:

  • Team oriented – invested in good work and positive outcomes for all team members

  • Strong communication skills – the ability to communicate in a confident, effective, and

    courteous manner

  • Resident focused – enjoys serving the public and providing great customer service

  • Sense of humor, friendly and approachable

  • Detail oriented but also able to see the big picture

  • Organized but adaptable – able to change focus and address competing priorities


    Join this collaborative environment, with an exceptional team, who really care about the Town and its residents. To apply, please submit a letter of interest, resume, and response to the Supplemental Questions below to

    Supplemental Questions:
    1. What level position are you applying for- Assistant, Associate, or Senior?
    2. Describe your philosophy about planning. What planning issues interest you the most? 3. (For Associate and Senior Planner candidates only) Describe a complex project you have worked on.page4image989069712

Initial Filing Deadline: Wednesday, July 24, 2019 Applications will be reviewed until positions are filled.

Letters of interest, resumes, and supplemental questions will be reviewed and the most qualified candidates will be invited to participate in an interview process. The interview process may include an evaluation of writing skills and/or a practical exercise in plan review. The first round of interviews are anticipated to be held the week of July 29th.

The selected candidates will be required to complete an employment application and a thorough background investigation including reference check. The selected candidate will also be required to provide proof of degrees, certifications, licenses, required training, and any additional information needed to verify qualifications and eligibility to work in the United States.

The Town of Portola Valley is an equal opportunity employer. Candidates will be given consideration without regard to race, gender, age, disability, sexual orientation, military service, national origin, or other protected status. The provisions of this job announcement do not constitute an implied contract. Any provisions may be modified or revoked without notice.



No location specified