Placer County

Principal Planner (#14224)

$55.66-$69.51 Hourly / $9,647.73-$12,048.40 Monthly / $115,772.80-$144,580.80 Yearly


To provide highly complex staff assistance to management staff for assigned functional area of responsibility; to manage, supervise and direct the activities of a major division or a major project element of the assigned functional area of responsibility; to perform highly responsible and complex professional planning duties in the preparation and review of plans and other documents relating to land use, environmental protection, economic development,  environmental compliance, and related topics; to administer applicable local ordinances and state and federal statutes; to administer planning related grant projects and contracts; and to assist the public in understanding and complying with adopted plans and regulations.


The Principal Planner classification recognizes positions that exercise a higher level of independence and autonomy in the performance of the full-range of advanced and complex professional planning duties when overseeing the varied activities of a division or a major element of the assigned functional area of responsibility.


As assigned, receives direction from management staff for the assigned functional area of responsibility.

May exercise direct supervision over professional, technical and clerical personnel.


Duties may include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Manage, direct, supervise and train subordinate staff involved with current and long range planning duties.
  • When assigned, manage land development activities within a defined geographic region of the County.  
  • Recommend goals and objectives regarding advanced planning studies for the County General Plan including element preparation, community plan preparation, policy formulation, program implementation and public presentation of findings and recommendations. 
  • Manage production of major planning documents such as the County General Plan, environmental documents and specialized plans such as community plans, ecosystem restoration plans, air and water quality plans, planning documents related to  environmental compliance plans and related topics. 
  • Conduct current planning reviews of large and/or complex land development projects including subdivisions, conditional use permits, design reviews, development agreements, rezoning and General Plan amendments.  
  • Review the plans of other public jurisdictions for compatibility with County plans. 
  • Perform environmental analysis for current and advanced planning projects, especially those of a highly complex, visible and sensitive nature; review environmental impact reports. 
  • Assist in the development, preparation and administration of the approved department, division and project annual budgets. 
  • Assist the public by providing information and explaining particularly complex land use, environmental compliance, development and related regulations and procedures; meet with applicants as necessary and correspond with applicants and/or their representatives regarding project status; write staff reports; and make presentations of findings and recommendations at public hearings and to public agencies; conduct and participate in public hearings. 
  • Coordinate with other County Departments and public agencies as needed; coordinate, direct and participate in interdepartmental and interagency land use development committees, Boards and Commissions.   
  • Prepare, manage and monitor state and federal project grant programs.
  • Administer contracts with independent contractors or consultants who provide planning or environmental planning services to the County. 
  • Recommend the appointment of personnel; provide or coordinate staff training; provide standards and operating guidelines, provide timely input to performance evaluations; recommend disciplinary measures, when necessary; implement discipline procedures as directed; maintain discipline and high standards necessary for the efficient and professional operation of the assigned functional area of responsibility. 
  • Build and maintain positive working relationships with co-workers, other County employees and the public using principles of good customer service. 
  • Perform related duties as assigned.


Work is typically performed in an indoor office environment with controlled temperature conditions.


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

Experience: Five years of increasingly responsible experience in land use planning and development.

Training: Equivalent to a Bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university with major course work in urban, regional or environmental planning, or a related field.

Required License or Certificate: 
May need to possess a valid driver's license as required by the position.  Proof of adequate vehicle insurance and medical clearance may also be required.


Knowledge of:

  • Principles and practices of land use planning and development.
  • Principles and practices of environmental planning and administration of environmental policies.
  • Principles and practices of grant project management and contract administration.
  • All applicable local ordinances and state and federal statutes.
  • state and federal grant programs.
  • Operation, policies and procedures of the assigned functional area of responsibility.
  • Principles of supervision, training and performance evaluations.
  • English usage, spelling, grammar and punctuation.
  • Arithmetic, basic statistics and mathematical calculations. 
  • Modern office procedures, methods and computer equipment.
  • Planning related applications software.

Ability to:

  • On a continuous basis sit at desk for long periods of time; intermittently stand at counter for long periods of time; twist and reach office equipment; write and/or use keyboard to communicate through written means; and occasionally lift moderate weight.
  • On a continuous basis, know and understand all aspects of the job.  Intermittently analyze work papers, reports and special projects; identify and interpret technical and numerical information; observe planning activities and problem solve when appropriate; understand, interpret and explain applicable ordinances and statutes and assigned functional area of responsibility policies and procedures; visually differentiate between colors on land use maps.
  • Manage complex, lengthy, highly public and visible element(s) of the assigned functional area of responsibility's work program.
  • Manage, direct, supervise, train, assign, review and evaluate the work of assigned subordinate staff.
  • Manage and monitor state and Federal grant programs.
  • Compile, analyze and evaluate technical, statistical and economic information of a difficult and complex nature; read and interpret maps and legal property descriptions; read and interpret applicable laws and regulations.
  • Work with various cultural and ethnic groups in a tactful and effective manner.
  • Obtain information through interview and dialogue, and deal fairly and courteously with the public; work effectively with interruption.
  • Analyze situations quickly and objectively and determine proper course of action.
  • Communicate clearly and concisely, both orally and in writing.
  • Establish and maintain effective working relationships with those contacted in the course of work.


Length of Probation:

This position shall serve a probationary period of twelve (12) calendar months or two thousand eighty (2,080) hours, whichever is more. 

Bargaining Unit: 


CLASS: 14224; EST: 9/1/1999; REV: 4/27/2021;