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Principal Planner

Posted: 08/02/2020

Principal Planner
Employment Type: 0 - Full-time Regular 
Pay Range: $65,463.00 - 81,829.00
Location: Castle Rock, CO
Overtime Exempt: Yes 
Elected Office / Department: DEPT OF COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT

DEFINITION OF WORK:  The Principal Planner position is an advanced level professional position involving a wide and complex range of assignments within the Department of Community Development.  Requires a thorough, specialized knowledge in the subject matter of planning processes and a proficient ability to implement and administer the various plans and land development regulations of Douglas County.  The position requires taking a project management role in all aspects of the development and planning processes with applicants; County departments; regional, state, and federal agencies; special districts; and the general public.  Performs a variety of complex and detailed professional planning duties as well as presents data, and represents the County, at Planning Commission and Board of County Commissioners hearings, various public meetings, and other forums.

(The following examples are illustrative only and are not intended to be all inclusive.)

Represents the County at various governmental functions, regional councils, and with other community and special interest groups.

Coordinates planning activities with other federal, state, and county departments and divisions, and with outside agencies.

Assesses development proposals for compliance with federal, state, and County regulations; development guidelines; County policy; and sound planning principles.

Reviews and evaluates environmental and fiscal impact reports regarding development and major local, state or federal projects.

Evaluates, analyzes, synthesizes and develops multi-discipline data for planning studies, the Comprehensive Master Plan, County land use regulations, regulation amendments, and staff reports.

Assists the public by answering inquiries about, and providing information concerning, land use regulations, policies, and procedures.

Exhibits clear and concise professional and technical writing and communication skills. Organizes and writes required documents per established organizational guidelines.

Presents data, and represents the County, at Planning Commission and Board of County Commissioners hearings, various public meetings, and other forums.

Analyzes and drafts refinement of land use regulations and procedures.

Manages all aspects of complex development and planning process with applicants; County departments; regional, state, and federal agencies; special districts; the Planning Commission; the Board of County Commissioners; and citizens’ organizations.

Researches solutions for issues arising from the development request.  Analyzes development impacts and works toward a final resolution or mitigation.

Analyzes complex land-use proposals and community development activities with respect to County policies, regulations, development guidelines, sound planning practices, and land carrying capacity.

Evaluates, interprets, and provides professional assistance to members of the public, landowners, media, and developers regarding the County's zoning requirements, subdivision regulations, comprehensive plan policies, overall County policies, sound planning principles, and planning processes in general.

Researches and implements mitigation measures consistent with County resources, services, objectives, and goals to control and guide community development.

Facilitates inter- and intra-governmental collaboration and cooperation with County departments, referral agencies, state agencies, and federal agencies.

Creates ongoing partnerships that facilitate deeper understanding and teamwork between agencies.

Acts as a resource or expert in a program area, assisting the Chief Planner in mentoring staff.

Establishes methodology for planning studies and projects.

Performs the more complex planning duties of, and serves as project manager for, major planning projects.

Conduct a variety of related special projects and studies dealing with land use, zoning, development, demographics, economics, housing, and natural resources.

OTHER DUTIES:  Performs other duties as assigned.

SUPERVISION RECEIVED:  Receives minimal supervision.

SUPERVISORY RESPONSIBILITIES:  This position does not directly supervise other employees but is expected to lead teams and mentor others.

CONSEQUENCE OF ERROR:  Uses technical, analytical, and design expertise to develop solutions to difficult problems that often affect diverse functional areas of the County.  Errors in judgment or failure to achieve goals are likely to have serious consequence for, and negatively affect the function of the Department, the public, the development community, and the County socially and economically.  Even incremental mistakes in planning and land use review often will have serious cumulative impacts on the environment quality and proper functioning of the broader community, and possible legal impacts.

INDEPENDENT JUDGMENT:  Work involves a very high degree of independent thinking and judgment within County policies, regulations and guidelines.

CONTACTS:  Frequent contacts both inside and outside of the County.  Contacts often impact County residents, businesses, and governments, as decisions regarding investments in land and infrastructure (including time and money) are often made based upon these discussions.


EDUCATION and/or EXPERIENCE:  Generally a Bachelor’s Degree in Planning or related field and four to five years related experience or any equivalent combination of education and experience.

LANGUAGE SKILLS:  Ability to read, analyze, and interpret scientific and technical journals, financial reports, and legal documents.  Ability to respond to inquiries, regulatory agencies, or citizens.  Ability to effectively present information to elected officials, department heads, developers, and the public.  Superior writing and presentation skills. 

KNOWLEDGE:  Ability to work with concepts such as probability and statistical inference.  Ability to apply concepts such as fractions, percentages, ratios, and proportions to practical situations.  Ability to read legal descriptions and scaled drawings.

MATHEMATICAL SKILLS:  Ability to work with concepts such as probability and statistical inference.  Ability to apply concepts such as fractions, percentages, ratios, and proportions to practical situations.  Ability to read legal descriptions and scaled drawings.

REASONING ABILITY:  Ability to define problems; collect data from diverse sources; establish facts; synthesize multiple, variable, and often conflicting interests; and draw valid conclusions.  Ability to negotiate complex solutions to mitigate development impacts.

ORGANIZATIONAL SKILLS: Ability to manage multiple tasks with strict deadlines, public notice requirements, and a myriad of other agencies and special interest groups.  The ability to prioritize tasks and provide information and recommendations in an efficient and timely manner.

PUBLIC PRESENTATION SKILLS: Ability to represent the County at public meetings and hearings in a comprehensive, effective, and professional manner.  The ability to reduce complex planning theories, concepts, principles, and methodologies to layman’s terms and provide accurate information in a timely, concise and effective manner under often stressful, controversial circumstances.

OTHER SKILLS AND ABILITIES:  Strong working knowledge of professional planning theories, concepts, principles, and methodologies Ability to interpret development plans, regulations, and laws.  Ability to manage large amounts of complex and controversial projects with minimal supervision.  Skill in the use of computers and audio/visual equipment. 

PHYSICAL DEMANDS:  Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.  While performing the duties of this job, the employee is occasionally required to stand, walk, trek over difficult terrain, sit, talk, hear, and drive.  Specific vision abilities required by this job include the ability to adjust focus and perceive multiple map overlay variables. 

WORK ENVIRONMENT:  Work is generally performed in a fast-paced, multi-faceted office environment where time and performance are of the essence.  Some field visitation and office-based meetings are typical.  The noise level in the work environment is usually moderate.  Work scenarios can involve complex and delicate negotiations.

The ability to successfully complete pre-employment screening including but not limited to: reference checks, criminal background (which may include fingerprinting through a national database), degree verification, motor vehicle record check and drug screen is required.


This position is open until filled, review of applications will begin immediately and continue until a suitable candidate is selected.


The job details outlined in this posting represent a modified summary of the full job description. A full copy of the job description may be requested by emailing


In the event of an emergency/disaster in or near the County, all County employees are expected to make every effort to be available to assist the County Manager, Elected/Appointed Officials and Department Directors to ensure the continued operation of any and all necessary County functions.  This may mean being available to perform additional duties and hours beyond what is normally required.  In the event that an exempt employee does work more than 40 hours a week in support of County operations during an emergency, such employee may receive overtime or other appropriate wage compensation in accordance with existing County policies or at the discretion of the County.

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