October 23, 2019 - 10 minutes read

Tierra West is now hiring an Assistant Planner, for an immediate contract opportunity with a Southern California City.

If interested, please contact Louis Morales (lmorales@tierrawestadvisors) or John Yonai ( for details and to submit resumes for consideration.

Position: Assistant Planner

Salary: DOQ


Under direct supervision, performs a variety of professional and technical routine activities in the field of current planning, including review of development and land use applications, zoning, development and site plans, and environmental (CEQA) review; may serve as project manager for development applications; completes technical assessments, prepares written project analyses; provides professional advice and assistance to the public on planning, community development, zoning, permits, and environmental review; and performs related work as required.


Receives direct supervision from the Associate Planner and Planning Manager. No direct supervision of staff is exercised.


This is the entry-level class in the professional planning series. Initially, under close supervision, incumbents must have knowledge of routine planning principles, zoning, and related functions encountered by a City. Responsibilities include providing a range of routine customer service to the public at the front counter and on the telephone regarding policies and procedures, ongoing projects, zoning regulations, permit requirements, and related building and development issues. Must understand the zoning code and where to find and apply typical code requirements. As knowledge and experience are gained, the work becomes broader in scope; assignments are more varied and are performed under more general supervision. This class is distinguished from Associate Planner in that the latter is responsible for more complex and higher-level planning functions, exercises a higher level of discretion, and performs under more general supervision.

Management reserves the right to add, modify, change or rescind the work assignments of different positions and to make reasonable accommodations so that qualified employees can perform the essential functions of the job.

• Reviews commercial, industrial, and residential development proposals, plans, and applications for issuance of zoning clearance; reviews for compliance with appropriate regulations and policies.
• Reviews building plans for completeness and compliance with current City zoning codes and regulations; identifies corrective actions to be taken by owners; recommends improvement and rehabilitation programs; conducts follow-up and re-check and approves or denies submittals.
• Serves as project manager for routine application projects, including analyzing and evaluating site and architectural plans, performing technical review and making recommendations, ensuring plans and applications receive appropriate signatures, and coordinating in-house review with contractors. Compiles information for a variety of studies and reports; researches, analyzes, and interprets social, economic, population, and land use data and trends; develops recommendations and prepares written reports on various planning matters and elements of the City’s General Plan.
• Researches, collects, records, analyzes, interprets, and summarizes statistical and demographic information; prepares spreadsheets and establishes and maintains a comprehensive database.
• Prepares staff reports for the Planning Commission, City Council, various committees, and advisory boards as directed; prepares research, reports, maps, and conducts briefings.
• Confers with and advises architects, builders, attorneys, contractors, engineers, and the general public regarding City development policies and standards; provides and clarifies information relative to zoning, general plan compliance, signage, and other issues.
• Researches and assists in preparing ordinances for review.
• Answers questions and provides information to the public.
• Maintains accurate records and files and performs other duties as assigned.


Knowledge of:

• Principles, practices, and procedures related to urban and regional planning, development, and zoning administration.
• Geographic, socio-economic, transportation, political, and other elements related to urban planning.
• Comprehensive plans and current planning processes and the development process.
• Site planning and architectural design principles.
• Applicable Federal, State, local laws, codes, and regulations, as well as Community Development program rules and requirements and related reports.
• Researching and reporting methods, techniques, and procedures.
• Recent developments, current literature, and sources of information related to planning and zoning.
• Modern office methods, practices, procedures, and equipment, including computer hardware and software necessary for graphic presentation, mapping, and database management, including Microsoft Office, Microsoft Project, City permitting software, and basic GIS concepts and applications.
• Basic project management techniques.
• Practices of researching planning issues, evaluating alternatives, making sound recommendations, and preparing and presenting effective staff reports.
• Methods and techniques of effective technical report preparation and presentation.
• English usage, grammar, spelling, vocabulary, and punctuation.
• Techniques for effectively representing the City in contacts with governmental agencies, community groups, various business, professional, and regulatory organizations, and with property owners, developers, contractors, and the public.
• Techniques for providing a high level of customer service to public and City staff, in person and over the telephone.

Ability to:

• Interpret planning and zoning programs to the general public.
• Read development/architecture plans and specifications and make effective site visits.
• Identify and respond to issues and concerns of the public, Planning Commission, City Council, and other boards and commissions.
• Interpret, apply, and explain complex laws, codes, regulations, and ordinances.
• Analyze site design, terrain constraints, circulation, land use compatibility, utilities, and other urban services.
• Enforce ordinances and regulations effectively and tactfully.
• Make effective public presentations.
• Conduct routine research projects, evaluate alternatives, and make sound recommendations.
• Prepare clear and concise technical and staff reports, correspondence, policies, procedures, and other written materials.
• Learn current literature, information sources, and research techniques in the field of urban planning.  Prepare accurate display maps, plans, charts, and tables.
• Effectively represent the department and the City in meetings with governmental agencies, community groups, various business, professional, and regulatory organizations, and individuals.
• Analyze and compile technical and statistical information and prepare reports.
• Make sound, independent decisions within established policy and procedural guidelines.
• Operate modern office equipment, including computer equipment and software programs.
• Use English effectively to communicate in person, over the telephone, and in writing.
• Use tact, initiative, prudence, and independent judgment within general policy, procedural, and legal guidelines.
• Establish and maintain effective working relationships with those contacted in the course of the work.

Education and Experience:
Any combination of training and experience that would provide the required knowledge, skills and abilities is qualifying. A typical way to obtain the required qualifications would be:

Equivalent to graduation from an accredited four-year college or university with major coursework in land use or urban planning, community development, business or public administration, or a related field and one-year professional experience including related internship experience.


• Valid California class C driver’s license with satisfactory driving record and automobile insurance.


Must possess mobility to work in a standard office setting and use standard office equipment, including a computer; to inspect City development sites, including traversing uneven terrain, climbing ladders, stairs, and other temporary or construction access points; to operate a motor vehicle and to visit various City and meeting sites; vision to read printed materials and a computer screen, and make inspections; and hearing and speech to communicate in person, before groups, and over the telephone. Finger dexterity is needed to access, enter, and retrieve data using a computer keyboard, typewriter keyboard or calculator, and to operate standard office equipment. Positions in this classification occasionally bend, stoop, kneel, reach, push, and pull drawers open and closed to retrieve and file information. Employees must possess the ability to lift, carry, push, and pull materials and objects necessary to perform job functions.


Employees work partially in an office environment with moderate noise levels and controlled temperature conditions, and partially in the field and are occasionally exposed to loud noise levels, cold and hot temperatures, inclement weather conditions, road hazards, vibration, confining workspace, chemicals, mechanical and/or electrical hazards, and hazardous physical substances and fumes. Employees may interact with upset staff, and/or public and private representatives, and contractors in interpreting and enforcing departmental policies and procedures.