LEAD PLANNER - Planning and Development Services Department

Recruitment #2302-2613-001



The City of Tucson Planning and Development Services Department seeks a professional Lead Planner to join our customer-centric culture providing strategic, timely, quality planning and development services to an engaged community.   

Promoting safety, economic vitality and adaptability to a growing development sector is what drives our department. We are seeking an experienced, motivated, highly qualified and creative professional whose strong interpersonal skills and ability to work with the public will support the City of Tucson’s economic development and sustainability goals.  

This position may be eligible for alternative work schedules and remote/hybrid work depending on Department needs.



Tucson has a rich cultural heritage and is known for its lively arts scene, unsurpassed natural beauty, and outdoor lifestyle.  Tucson's culture centers around a unique blend of Native American, Spanish, Mexican and Anglo-American influences.  The city is situation in the Sonoran Desert and is surrounded by five mountain ranges.  Blessed with the desert's natural beauty and an unsurpassed climate of 360 sunny days a year, Tucsonans embrace a rate lifestyle and are committed to preserving that quality of life.

The city is home to the University of Arizona and Davis-Monthan Air Force Base.  Tucson is the seat of Pima County and has a Council-Manager form of government.  The Tucson metropolitan area supports almost a million residents.  As metropolitan Tucson continues to grow, the challenge of meeting resident expectations also increases.

The City of Tucson is committed to providing quality municipal services which promote a healthy community, offer opportunities for participation and leisure, and enable citizens to prosper at work and at home.



The City of Tucson offers a wide range of generous benefits for eligible employees.  Some of those benefits include:  City-Wide Benefits

  • Medical: Choice between a high deductible plan (HSA or HRA), or Network plan. 

  • Dental: Choice between a national dental PPO and a local dental HMO. 

  • Vision: Coverage for annual eye exam and glasses or contacts, plus LASIK. 

  • Life: City-paid coverage for you & dependents, plus option to buy more. 

  • Long-Term Disability: Income replacement of up to 60% of your base salary in the event of a qualifying disability. 

  • Employee Assistance Program: Enhance your wellbeing when life doesn’t go as planned. 

 Your Security and Future 

  • Pension: Generous pension plans that help both civilian and public safety employees retire more comfortably (Optional for appointed employees within first 90 days of employment). 

  • Deferred Compensation: Save more toward a comfortable retirement with a 457(b) plan. 

  • Training & Tuition Assistance: Pursue your dream through internal training or financial help toward a degree.  

 Your Peace of Mind 

  • Paid Parental Leave: Six (6) weeks paid leave when you welcome a child, plus other generous leave policies for FML, Medical and USERRA. 

  • Paid Time Away: New hires enjoy 37 days of paid time off in the first year, with time increasing steadily thereafter (In year one: 13 accrued days of vacation, 13 accrued days of sick leave, and 11 paid holidays). 

  • Employee Discounts: Generous discounts, ranging from car rentals to computers, gifts to groceries, electronics to entertainment. 

  • Social Connectedness: Forge connections with the community we serve through paid volunteerism and payroll-deducted charitable giving.

For a full description of benefits offered to eligible employees, please visit https://www.tucsonaz.gov/hr/employee-benefit-snapshot

General Description

The Lead Planner, working in a collaborative environment, is expected to exhibit leadership, the ability to apply past experiences, technical knowledge and professional judgement while conducting a variety of planning tasks. Successful candidates may be assigned to work in Long-Range or Current Planning teams depending on their background and the department's needs.  Tasks may include plan review, code development, public outreach, technical analysis, entitlements, and mapping.

Essential Functions

This is a lead position affording guidance to other positions performing the same tasks. This lead position also reviews workloads, assigns work, and coaches employees with specialized instructions and practices for job tasks. Lead personnel may contribute to other employees' performance evaluations, assist with the hiring process by interviewing and making recommendations and providing input to supervisory staff.

Reviews and evaluates plans and sites by analyzing development projects, deciding potential impact of land use proposals, reviewing proposed rezoning, annexations, and land sales/trades, visiting sites, preparing reports of potential impacts, making improvement recommendations, and meeting with applicants to discuss decisions.

Conducts analysis of complex urban issues utilizing geographic, demographic and economic data using ArcGIS.

Compiles and integrates geospatial data from a wide variety of sources for analysis.

Coordinates various projects by conducting research, collecting technical materials, and meeting with businesses and organizations. Presents multi-media materials, makes recommendations for programs, and coordinates special events to promote programs.

Provides assistance to the public by providing information on zoning and land use issues, preparing maps and other digital information, and communicating case information updates to related parties.

Testifies in court to present evidence, approves vendor payments, provides assistance with grant applications, assists with writing new area plans and policies, and provides technical assistance as needed.

Reviews and evaluates proposals such as plan amendments, zoning code text amendments, and various City standards by conducting research, collecting materials, coordinating public involvement, and making recommendations.

Minimum Qualifications

Minimum Education Level & Type: Bachelor's Degree

Minimum Experience Qualifications: At least 3 years experience in land use planning or zoning review.

Special Job Requirements

The hiring department will consider relevant experience in lieu of the required Bachelor's degree.

Cover letter and a chronological resume reflecting relevant work experience and education/training is required. Without these, your application will be considered incomplete and you will not continue in this recruitment process.

Preferred Qualifications

In addition to the minimum qualifications stated above, the ideal candidate will possess the following:
  • Bachelor's degree in urban planning, sustainable built environment, geography, or public policy 
  • Master’s degree in Planning, Real Estate Development, or closely related field 
  • At least 5 years professional experience as a Planner
  • Project management experience 
  • Strong interpersonal communication skills 
  • A proven track record of successfully completed planning projects 
  • AICP certification or certification in progress 

Selection Plan

Applicants who meet the minimum qualifications will be evaluated on the education and work experience in their employment profile and the responses to their supplemental questions. The highest scoring applicants will then be invited to participate in the next phase of the recruitment process.   

Instructions will be sent at a later date for a writing sample which will be due before panel interviews are conducted.

Virtual Oral Board Interviews are scheduled for the week of March 27, 2023
*It is important to note that the City of Tucson uses Microsoft Teams for its virtual interviews. Please ensure that you have access to this software application.

Upon completion of all examination processes, the highest scoring applicants will be placed on the Civil Service Employment List.  An applicant's ranking on the Civil Service list will be based on their final score which will be calculated as:      
  • 20% of your rating for education and work experience
  • 60% of your oral board interviews
  • 20% of your resume, cover letter, and writing sample  

This recruitment will establish a civil service list that will be utilized to fill vacancies occurring within the next 6 months.

Veterans, Native American, or Disability preference points will be added to the final score for those that are placed on the Civil Service Employment List.  If you qualify for preference points as outlined in the Employment Profile, you must email them to Randall.Moehr@tucsonaz.gov upon being invited to the interview process. The DD 214 must be a copy that indicates characterization of service.  

If you are in need of Americans with Disabilities Act-related accommodation during the testing process, please email Randall.Moehr@tucsonaz.gov at least 48 hours prior to the evaluation.


Communications throughout this process will be sent via email exclusively so please ensure your browser accepts emails from jobs@tucsonaz.gov and check your email account regularly; this may include your junk box/spam filter. Failure to respond or follow instructions will result in disqualification.

Pre-employment Medical Testing Requirements


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To ensure accurate payroll information for tax purposes, the successful candidate will need to provide their original Social Security Card or original letter from the Social Security Administration with their social security number prior to beginning work with the City of Tucson.

The City of Tucson hires lawful workers only - US citizens or nationals and non-citizens with valid work authorization - without discrimination. Federal immigration laws require all employers to verify both the identity and employment eligibility of all persons hired to work in the United States. In its efforts to meet the law's requirements, the City of Tucson participates in the E-Verify program established by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Social Security Administration (SSA) to aid employers in verifying the eligibility of workers.

Retired City of Tucson employees receiving benefits from the Tucson Supplemental Retirement System who are considering reemployment with the City should be aware that pursuant to Section 22-37(g) of the Tucson City Code, retirement benefits shall be suspended during the period of reemployment with the City of Tucson unless you have been separated at least twelve consecutive months before returning to work AND you return to a non-permanent employment classification. Creditable service does not accrue during any reemployment period.