Senior Environmental Planner

  • San Diego Association of Governments - SANDAG
  • 401 B Street, San Diego, CA, United States
Full Time Program Management

Job Description

Environmental Program

The Department of Land Use and Transportation Planning (LUTP) provides the regional framework to connect land use to transportation systems, respond to population growth, preserve the environment, and sustain economic prosperity. San Diego Forward: The Regional Plan is a long-range plan that is a blueprint for a sustainable future for the San Diego region. The Plan includes many capital improvement projects that will undergo a comprehensive environmental review process to ensure that impacts to the region’s unique and valuable natural resources are avoided, reduced, or mitigated prior to implementation. Capital improvement initiatives included in the Plan include highway projects, light and heavy rail projects, and active mobility projects. Environmental reviews also are completed for the San Diego Regional Bicycle Plan as well as non-transportation related regional projects related to beach sand replenishment and habitat restoration.

The Environmental and Public Facilities Planning section also is responsible for several important agency programs including implementation of the TransNet Environmental Mitigation Program, coordination of regional habitat conservation planning, regional energy and climate change planning, shoreline preservation planning, and water quality and water supply planning coordination.

Environmental Planner Role

The Senior Environmental Planner will lead environmental compliance efforts for various SANDAG projects. The position will support the environmental review process for capital improvement projects planned for the region through the development of National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) documentation, secure federal and state regulatory permits and approvals, and oversee construction monitoring compliance, and post-construction compliance of any mitigation reporting. The Senior Planner will work directly with the agency’s engineering staff and outside environmental consultants to coordinate the environmental review of projects.

Job Responsibilities

This position is ideal for a seasoned planning professional with experience in environmental review and permit compliance. We anticipate significant career development will occur while working on the types of duties and responsibilities described below and through mentoring and close collaboration with senior staff. Examples of primary responsibilities may include:

  • Prepare environmental documents pursuant to the NEPA and CEQA requirements for various long-range plans and projects planned for the San Diego region; documents include Environmental Impact Reports (EIR), Environmental Impact Statements (EIS), Negative Declarations, Environmental Assessments, and other environmental compliance documents.
  • Consult with project managers, employees from local agencies, and project partners to develop scopes of work for environmental review projects and technical studies; conduct initial studies or assessments to determine the type and scope of environmental documents required.
  • Coordinate with various federal, state, and local agencies including Caltrans, Metropolitan Transit System (MTS), North County Transit District (NCTD), and federal and state regulatory agencies to obtain the necessary permits and maintain regulatory compliance for a range of agency projects.
  • Develop, manage, and review technical studies related to air quality, water quality, visual quality, land use compatibility, cultural resources, and biological resources; oversee consultants assisting with the preparation of technical studies and ensure these are conducted in accordance with federal and state requirements.
  • Research, develop, and implement mitigation strategies that satisfy federal and state environmental requirements and are consistent with federal, state and local plans.
  • Participate in field site visits, including those held with regulatory resource agencies, project construction managers, and construction contractors.
  • Develop project plans, Requests for Proposals, scopes of work, project deliverables, budgets, and schedules; participate in the consultant selection process; manage project consultants and ensure projects are completed on schedule, within the prescribed budget, and with a high-level of effectiveness; ensure projects are completed in adherence to funding agency requirements; manage task order budgets, timelines and quality of deliverables.
  • Supervise, mentor, train, and provide career development opportunities for professional staff with expertise in planning and program implementation.

Experience and Qualifications

Numerous factors contribute to an individual’s ability to be successful in any given role. For this position, we are searching for a candidate who has a strong technical background and an aptitude for analytical thinking and problem solving, who is responsible, organized, and demonstrates initiative. Excellent communication skills, the ability to work collaboratively, and the use of sound judgment are important.

The minimum education, training, and experience qualifications include a bachelor’s degree with major course work in regional/environmental planning, environmental science, geography, public administration, or a related field and five years of recent experience in environmental planning, including some lead or supervisory experience. An advanced degree is desirable.

The following information describes the specific types of career experiences that are most relevant to this position.

  • Knowledge of federal, state, and local laws, regulations, and requirements pertaining to environmental planning specifically NEPA and the CEQA; familiarity with current political trends related to these areas is desirable.
  • Experience with the environmental review of long-range plans and capital projects and with the preparation and development of documents such as Environmental Impact Reports (EIR), Environmental Impact Statements (EIS), Negative Declarations, Environmental Assessments, and other environmental compliance documents.
  • Experience conducting technical studies and leading studies and analyses related to environmental planning; experience preparing and presenting project reports, evaluating alternatives, and preparing policy recommendations for decision makers.
  • Demonstrated experience working with federal, state, and local agencies to obtain environmental clearances for major capital projects; experience with environmental compliance during and after construction, including monitoring and reporting to applicable permitting agencies.
  • Demonstrated knowledge of the principles and practices of project management and administration; ability to plan, coordinate, and manage concurrent major projects to ensure they are completed on time, within budget, and at a consistently high level of quality.
  • Demonstrated experience preparing budgets and schedules; RFPs, scopes of work, and contracts; experience evaluating proposals and selecting and managing consultants.
  • Experience supervising and evaluating the work of professional and technical personnel; experience providing administrative and professional leadership and direction for assigned programs.
  • Strong writing skills and the ability to communicate effectively, both orally and in writing; ability to prepare and deliver public presentations and recommendations regarding various program elements to Boards, Working Groups, Policy Advisory Committees, community groups, and other audiences.
  • Effective time management and organizational skills and the ability to prioritize multiple tasks in a fast-paced environment; ability to establish and maintain priorities and work independently.
  • Demonstrated ability to establish and maintain effective working relationships with those contacted during work including representatives from local, state, and federal agencies, other government officials, community leaders, and the public; ability to gain cooperation and consensus through discussion and persuasion.
  • Demonstrated computer software proficiency using various programs from the Microsoft Office Suite and other PC-based applications.
  • The selected candidate can anticipate a driving record check upon hire, and approximately annually thereafter. The results of the check may determine whether the selected candidate will be permitted to drive for SANDAG business.

Salary and Benefits

SANDAG rewards the efforts of its employees with a comprehensive compensation package. Competitive salaries are supplemented with a flexible offering of health, financial security, and time-off benefits to meet the work and life needs of employees and their families.

The annual salary range for the Senior Environmental Planner position is $67,580 to $112,454 per year.

Our benefits include traditional health, dental, and vision insurance as well as employee assistance, wellness, and work/life balance programs. Retirement and financial security benefits are provided through a pension plan and deferred compensation program. To support the need to rest and rejuvenate, employees are provided with a bank of paid time off in addition to paid holidays.

How to Apply

We encourage all interested candidates to apply for this position by completing a SANDAG Employment Application form. Resumes, cover letters, and work samples may be submitted in addition to the Employment Application but are not a substitute for this document.

The Employment Application can be downloaded in PDF format from the SANDAG website. Alternatively, a copy can be requested by calling (619) 699-1900 or emailing Completed applications and related materials can be submitted via email, fax, regular mail, courier, or delivered by hand. See our Careers / How to Apply webpage for additional information.

Applications for the Senior Environmental Planner position will be accepted until 5 p.m. on Friday, February 2, 2018.

In compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), SANDAG will accommodate persons who require assistance in order to apply for a position at SANDAG. Applicants requiring an accommodation due to a disability during any stage of the recruitment and selection process, including requesting this document and related application materials in an alternative format, should make their needs known by contacting Human Resources at (619) 699-1900, (619) 699-1904 (TTY), fax (619) 699-6905, or

Application Supplement

To help us further evaluate the skills and experience of individuals interested in this position, applicants are asked to respond to the Supplemental Questions below. The information can be up to 500 words per question and should be submitted with the Employment Application. This is considered a required component of the application; applications received without a response will be screened out of the selection process.

Supplemental Questions

1. SANDAG implements a multibillion dollar, multimodal transportation improvement program. What challenges and opportunities do you see in providing environmental support for projects in this program?

2. Describe your experience with implementation of CEQA and NEPA, obtaining regulatory permits, and tracking environmental compliance before, during and after construction of infrastructure projects?

Candidate Selection and Notification

Following the close date for applications, all candidates will receive written confirmation that their application was received. The hiring manager will begin reviewing and evaluating applications within a few days of the close date. The best qualified candidates will be invited to continue in the selection process. All candidates will receive written notification as to the final outcome of their application.

Further Information

The SANDAG website contains a wealth of information about our various project and program areas. The Careers section of the site lists all of our current Job Openings as well as information on how to apply for positions and Frequently Asked Questions about our recruitment process.

In compliance with the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, applicants hired by SANDAG must show acceptable proof of identity and evidence of authorization to work in the United States.

SANDAG is an Equal Opportunity Employer.


Geological Engineering

Education Requirements

Bachelor's Degree


$67,580 to $112,454 per year