City of Somerville
Close date: 
Friday, November 16, 2018

Location: Somerville, MA

Senior Planner


Planning and Zoning
The Senior Planner is responsible for professional and technical work in planning, including urban design, community planning, land use planning, site plan review, zoning by-law compliance, subdivision plan review, housing, and long-range planning for the community. Employee participates in supporting various boards and commissions; coordinating projects with other city departments (especially within OSPCD); providing technical assistance to elected and appointed individuals; development of new planning procedures; preparing written project analysis; and interfacing with state and regional agencies.

Essential Functions

  • Serves as staff to the Planning Board and Zoning Board of Appeals.
  • Serves as lead coordinator on various projects, including especially large and complex cases going before the Boards.
  • Researches and analyzes data.
  • Creates master plan updates, participates in neighborhood plans and assists with urban design alternatives.
  • Collaborates on presentations for various city, regional, state and federal agencies.
  • Performs analyses to support various city policies.
  • Reviews plans going before the Planning Board, Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA), and/or Design Review Committee.
  • Prepares staff reports for cases before various boards and commissions.
  • Presents case information before various boards and commissions.
  • Develops and recommends by-law and ordinance amendments.
  • Provides information to public regarding City ordinances, state laws and regulations.
  • Provides professional and technical administrative approval on City processes, in accordance with local and state regulations.
  • Manages the public process dealing with planning initiatives.
  • Shares duties with other staff planners of addressing walk-in and phone calls of constituent questions or issues.

Recommended Minimum Qualifications   

Education and Experience: Bachelor’s Degree and seven (7) years’ experience in urban planning or related field; or any equivalent combination of education, training and experience which provides the required knowledge, skills and abilities to perform the essential functions of the job. Master’s degree and experience in architecture or interior design preferred.

Knowledge, Abilities and Skill

Knowledge: Knowledge of community, action groups, neighborhoods and business concerns; considerable knowledge of urban design, civil engineering, architecture and graphic presentation as applied to planning. Considerable knowledge of economic, sociological and environmental aspects of planning; working knowledge of personal computers and GIS applications; thorough knowledge of urban or regional planning principles and practices; thorough knowledge of zoning laws and comprehensive plans including their formation, process of adoption, and enforcement.

Abilities: Ability to organize and direct the preparation of comprehensive research studies, analyze problems, prepare technical reports and formulate recommendations; ability to communicate effectively orally and in writing with architects, contractors, developers, owners, supervisors, employees, and the public.  Bilingual or multilingual ability preferred but not required.

Skill: Skilled public speaker; excellent customer service, planning and design skills.

Work Environment                                                                                                              

The work environment involves everyday discomforts typical of offices, with occasional exposure to outside elements.  Noise or physical surroundings may be distracting, but conditions are generally not unpleasant.  Employee will be required to work beyond normal business hours in response to attend evening meetings or complete work assignments.  When in the field or attending meetings, the environment can be at construction sites and outdoors.

Physical and Mental Requirements

The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the position’s essential functions.

Physical Skills

Minimal physical demands are required to perform the work. Work effort principally involves sitting to perform work tasks, with intermittent periods of stooping, walking, and standing. Work requires some agility such as moving in or about construction sites or over rough terrain. There may also be some occasional lifting of objects such as office equipment or photocopy paper (up to 30lbs.).  When in the field, more physical skill may be required to accomplish the duties required.

Motor Skills

Duties are largely mental rather than physical, but the job may occasionally require minimal motor skills for activities such as moving objects, operating a telephone, personal computer and/or most other office equipment including word processing, filing and sorting of papers.

Visual Skills

Visual demands require constantly reading documents for general understanding and analytical purposes.

Application Procedure: 
Send your resume and cover letter by November 16, 2018] to:

City Hall Personnel Office
93 Highland Avenue
Somerville MA 02143
Fax: 617-666-4426
TTY: 1-866-808-4851

City of Somerville residents are especially encouraged to apply.

The City of Somerville is an affirmative action/equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, sex, religion, age, national origin, disability or any other protected category. Women, minorities, veterans, and persons with disabilities are encouraged to apply. Auxiliary aids and services, written materials in alternative formats, and reasonable modifications in policies and procedures will be provided to qualified individuals with disabilities free of charge, upon request.

Individuals with disabilities who need auxiliary aids and services for effective communication, written materials in alternative formats, or reasonable modifications in policies and procedures, in order to access the programs and activities of the City of Somerville or to attend meetings, should contact the City’s ADA Coordinator, Nency Salamoun, at 617-625-6600 x2323 or