Environmental Planner

  • San Diego Association of Governments - SANDAG
  • San Diego, CA, United States
Full Time Transportation

Job Description

Environmental Planning 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, and envisions a more sustainable future that includes new investment in the region’s transportation system, preservation of more open space areas to preserve natural habitat, reliance on renewable energy, and planning for and adapting to a changing climate in the San Diego Region.

The Environmental Planning team provides expertise to the agency by leading the environmental review, permitting, and regulatory compliance activities for the SANDAG Capital Improvement Program, as well as conducting the environmental review for agency planning programs, the most notable of which is San Diego Forward: The Regional Plan. The 2019 Regional Plan is currently underway and The Plan and the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) are scheduled for final consideration by the SANDAG Board of Directors in October 2019.

Environmental Planner Role

The Environmental Planner will support preparation of an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) for San Diego Forward: The Regional Plan. This position will coordinate with other SANDAG departments and divisions to gather and relay information needed for preparation of EIR, prepare certain sections of the EIR, and support the review of consultant work products.

This is a Limited-Term position and is expected to be funded through December 31, 2019. Limited-Term employees are considered to be “at-will” and receive many of the benefits of Regular employees.

Job Responsibilities

This position is ideal for a planning professional with a strong interest in furthering their expertise in CEQA review for a high-profile, long-range regional plan. 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:

  • Participate in the research, development, writing, analysis, and review of all facets of the EIR; apply knowledge of CEQA and other relevant federal, state, and local laws, policies, regulations, and programs to develop the document.
  • Assist with management and oversight of the EIR consultant; provide detailed, thorough review and comments on consultant work products, and ensure that work products are produced on schedule, within the approved budget, and at a consistent high level of quality.
  • Participate in the development and review of technical studies, analyses, and modeling efforts related to air quality, local air pollution exposure, EIR alternatives, agricultural lands, and biological resources.
  • Coordinate frequently with other SANDAG staff, legal counsel, EIR consultant staff, and other public agencies to gather and relay relevant data, analyses, figures, comments, input, and other information; ensure deliverables are received within the required timeframes.
  • Coordinate the development and filing of public notices and newspaper ads; provide support for document reproduction, distribution, and online posting.
  • Assist with the collection, organization, and review of public comments; participate in writing and reviewing responses to these comments.
  • Research, collect, and compile data from a variety of sources; analyze data to identify trends; prepare tables, graphs, and charts to display information for written reports and presentations.
  • Assist with preparing the contents of the CEQA Administrative Record in accordance with legal requirements and direction from legal counsel.

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 with 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 one to four years of recent experience in the field of environmental planning, preferably with exposure to program-level CEQA review. A Master’s degree is desirable. 

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

  • Familiarity with the principles, current trends, and issues related to comprehensive regional planning, particularly in the area of environmental planning; knowledge of various environmental rules and regulations, for federal, state, and local governments including the principles, practices, case law, and current trends regarding CEQA; familiarity with rules and regulations regarding NEPA is desirable.
  • Experience participating in the development of Environmental Impact Reports, Environmental Impact Statements, Negative Declarations, Environmental Assessments, or other environmental compliance documents; familiarity with program-level EIRs for large-scale plans is desirable.
  • Experience collecting data from a variety of sources for use in planning programs and projects; experience participating in or supporting technical studies, analyses, or modeling related to environmental topics addressed in CEQA, such as air quality, local air pollution exposure, traffic and circulation, EIR alternatives, agricultural lands, or biological resources.
  • Experience or familiarity reviewing plans and environmental documents for consistency with planning policies and objectives.
  • Experience participating in the planning and delivery of projects and tracking the progress of deliverables, schedules, and budgets; experience or ability to monitor consultants, review invoices, and participate in various contract administration functions.
  • Demonstrated ability to establish, maintain, and foster cooperative working relationships with those contacted in the course of work including co-workers, staff from other departments, consultants, and staff from public agencies; ability to demonstrate the high-level of initiative needed to gather and verify information in the timeframes required to meet project milestones.
  • Strong writing skills, attention to detail, and the ability to communicate technical information effectively, both orally and in writing; ability to prepare clear and concise reports that present research results and recommendations, including the interpretation of data, trends, maps, charts, and tables.
  • Effective time management and organizational skills and the ability to prioritize multiple tasks in a fast-paced environment; ability to exercise good judgment and work independently.
  • 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 Limited-Term Environmental Planner position will be filled the Planner I, II, or Associate level depending on the qualifications and experience of the selected candidate. Positions at the Analyst I and II level are considered entry-level with job duties primarily related to learning and supporting planning activities. At the Associate level, employees are expected to independently coordinate more complex planning functions.

The annual salary ranges are: Planner I - $45,741 to $76,113 per year; Planner II - $50,429 to $83,915 per year; Associate Planner - $55,598 to $92,516 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. And 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 hr@sandag.org. 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 Environmental Planner position will be accepted until 5 p.m. on Friday, February 16, 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 hr@sandag.org.

Application Supplement

To help us further evaluate the skills and experience of individuals interested in this position, applicants are asked to respond to the three Supplemental Questions below. The information can be up to 500 words 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. Describe an environmental planning or review project you have been involved in. What was your role in the project and what actions did you take to contribute to the success of the project?

2. How would you explain the purpose of CEQA and its role in the planning process to someone who is unfamiliar with this environmental law?

Candidate Selection and Notification

All candidates will receive written confirmation that their application has been received. The hiring manager will begin reviewing and evaluating applications within a few days of the close date. Based on this evaluation, 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.

Education Requirements

Bachelor's Degree