Town of Chapel Hill
Close date: 
Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Location: Chapel Hill, NC

Planning Director

University Town in vibrant Research Triangle area of NC seeks Planning Director
(check out recruitment brochure)

The Town of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, seeks a proactive and creative collaborator to be our next Planning Director. The Director will lead a team of competent and dedicated staff in responding to the community vision around challenges of growth. With an organizational culture of collaboration and teams, the Town of Chapel Hill is committed to citizen engagement and the Planning department plays a critical role in working with a diverse and participatory community, regional partners, the University System, and the Council to achieve strategic goals.

About the Community: Chapel Hill, NC, is a multicultural university town with a population of almost 60,000 that frequently appears in national "best place to live" listings and was recently recognized as one of the best towns in the U.S. by the Guardian.  As home to the nation's first public institution of higher learning and 2017 NCAA Men's Basketball champions, Chapel Hill is a picturesque community of 21 square miles filled with trees, historic and mid-century architecture and a thriving downtown.

Chapel Hill is a recognized pioneer in education, research, and innovation. This is a place where ideas are born.  Chapel Hill is also home to brilliant minds, award-winning restaurants, innovative businesses, outstanding public schools, and a vibrant music and performing arts scene. Historic homes and modern condos coexist beautifully here, all connected by open spaces and free public transportation.

Located in the beautiful piedmont region of central North Carolina, Chapel Hill sits within a few hours of the coast and the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains and is less than a 30-minute drive from Research Triangle Park and the RDU International Airport. Our major employers are the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and UNC Health Care. These thriving institutions help account for a stable employment base that is consistently rated above state and national benchmarks. Our emerging entrepreneurial community is led by LaUNCh, an internationally recognized business accelerator program and collaborative venture of the Town, Orange County, and University.

We are home to a diverse, welcoming community in which 17% of our residents were born in countries outside the United States. Demographically, the racial composition of the town in the 2010 census was 73% white, 12% Asian, and 10% black.  About 6.4% of the population was Hispanic or Latino of any race. Chapel Hill has a relatively young population with a median age of 25.7 years old. Chapel Hill is considered North Carolina's best-educated municipality, with 73% of adults possessing a bachelor's degree or higher.

Chapel Hill offers a small-town culture with metropolitan amenities with a community that is home to a dynamic, multi-cultural arts scene, including many museums, music and performing arts venues, galleries, festivals, and athletic events. While passionate about the Tar Heels and Carolina Blue, Town residents are also green in terms of sustainability and community character. Our community enjoys pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods, greenways and trails, and more than 700 acres of parks and open space.

About the Organization: Operating under a Council-Manager form of government, our organization's RESPECT values (Responsibility, Equity, Safety, Professionalism, Ethics, Communication, and Teamwork) are the basis for our choices. They are reflected in our behavior and decisions every day. They are our compass as we accomplish our mission and objectives. As a result, residents have consistently rated Chapel Hill as "high-performing" in biennial community surveys. Due to a solid economic base in and around Chapel Hill and careful management of resources, the Town of Chapel Hill has bond ratings of AAA and consistently wins awards for its annual budget and financial report.

Chapel Hill's strategic focus for the future is guided by the community vision established in the Chapel Hill 2020 Comprehensive Plan and is incorporated into the organization's departmental business plans.

More information about the Town, its mission and its core values of RESPECT can be found here:  


About The Department: The Planning Department includes three divisions: Current Development, Long Range Planning, and Transportation Planning. The Department is responsible for promoting a strong community and vital public realm, preserving and enhancing Chapel Hill's diverse neighborhoods, fostering quality environments, involving stakeholders in planning for the Town's future, and helping the Town's government administer its programs and operations consistent with the community's vision for a sustainable future.  The Planning Department accomplishes its work with 12 dedicated employees and a budget of $1.7M.

About The Position: This position plays a key role in overseeing development projects through the coordination and administration of the Town's land use, neighborhood and historic preservation, and transportation and connectivity policies and regulations. This is an advanced professional, administrative and leadership position. The Director reports to the Town Manager and works with the Office of Housing and Community to coordinate the Planning Department's work with other initiatives in the Town. The position is responsible for leading and directing the Planning staff in coordination with other Town Departments. The Director appears before the Town Council, advisory boards and commissions, and public groups; represents the Manager's interests and assists the Manager in carrying out directives and recommendations of the boards and commissions and the Council.


Education and Experience: Qualified candidates will have any combination of education and experience equivalent to graduation from an accredited college or university with a Master's degree in urban planning, architecture, public administration, business administration or closely related field; at least 3 years of supervisory experience; extensive progressive responsibility with managerial experience in urban planning and community development; or any equivalent combination of acceptable education and experience which provides applicable knowledge, abilities, and skills.

The Town hires with its core values in mind, seeking like-minded people to manage the present and craft the future of Chapel Hill. More information about the Town, its mission and core values of RESPECT can be found here:

The Successful Candidate:

  • builds partnerships with community, regional and inter-governmental stakeholder groups;
  • embraces and enjoys engagement in the community to clearly and proactively communicate Town values and initiatives to stakeholders; 
  • excels at innovative problem solving, seeking win-win solutions while keeping strategic goals in mind;
  • communicates well including one on one, in small groups, and public speaking to citizens, elected officials, community groups, and staff;
  • has experience establishing budgets and business plans including developing, planning, organizing, and directing all of the staff and activities to meet the established goals;
  • is knowledgeable about and will administer sound planning, land use management, and transportation planning programs for the Town;
  • has an extensive track record of successfully building and collaborating with cross-functional teams, removing barriers and building bridges to achieve organizational goals;
  • evaluates existing organizational, service and staffing structures and works with the planning team to maximize clear and coherent practices both internally and externally to meet the strategic objectives of the Town; and,
  • is an empowering leader equally dedicated to maintaining a cohesive team throughout the department as well as the development of individual employees.

Additional Information:

The hiring range is $85,000 - $115,000.  Base salary and compensation are negotiable based on experience and qualifications.  Benefit information can be found at

To apply, please go to, and click on the Planning Director – Chapel Hill link on the home page. All applications must be submitted online via the Developmental Associates application portal – NOT the Town portal, nor any other external website; it is not sufficient to send only a resume.  Resumes and cover letters should be uploaded with the application.   Candidate review begins December 9, 2019.  Semi-finalists will participate in on-site assessments in Chapel Hill on January 23-24, 2020.  We encourage applicants to hold these dates should they be invited to participate.   All inquiries should be emailed to   EOE.

Developmental Associates, LLC is managing the recruitment and selection process for this position.