Senior Regional Planner

  • San Diego Association of Governments - SANDAG
  • San Diego, CA, USA
Full Time Transportation OTHER

Job Description

Improving Sustainability for the San Diego Region

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. SANDAG developed a Sustainable Communities Strategy (SCS) as part of the 2050 Regional Transportation Plan (RTP) and was the first Metropolitan Planning Organization to adopt an RTP that meets specific statutory requirements. This strategy focuses on reducing greenhouse gas emissions and guiding the growth of the region in a sustainable way by developing innovative planning practices that promote the integration of land use, housing, and transportation to create walkable, transit-oriented, and compact communities.

The Transit Planning and Land Use Coordination section is responsible for activities that support the framework for growth and development in the San Diego region and focuses on the principles of smart growth and sustainability. Key work efforts include updating The Regional Plan Transit Network and Sustainable Communities Strategy;  collaborating with member agencies, the military, tribal governments, and other stakeholders to implement transit projects and sustainable development programs called for in San Diego Forward: The Regional Plan; preparing the Regional Housing Needs Assessment (RHNA) Plan and facilitating its implementation; managing the Specialized Transportation, Smart Growth Incentive, and Active Transportation grant programs; maintaining the  Smart Growth tool kit and implementing the Regional Transit Oriented Development Strategy; ensuring public health, housing, climate change, and social equity are considered in the planning process; and monitoring The Regional Plan implementation.

Senior Regional Planner Role

The Senior Regional Planner supports the implementation of San Diego Forward: The Regional Plan and the Sustainable Communities Strategy, and collaborates with local, regional, statewide, and transit agencies for the development, implementation, and monitoring of land use, transportation, and sustainable development programs and projects.

Job Responsibilities

This position is ideal for a planning professional with a strong interest in furthering their expertise in land use, transportation, and sustainable development planning. 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:

  • Coordinate programs, projects, and studies and develop policies and plans that address the regional impacts of various projects in the areas of land use, transportation, smart growth, sustainable development, public health, social equity, and/or TOD.
  • Foster collaborative working relationships with local, regional, and statewide agencies/organizations to advance planning and implementation of projects; facilitate dialogue among diverse stakeholders and work strategically to resolve complex issues.
  • Participate in monitoring and reporting functions for the TransNet Smart Growth Incentive and Active Transportation grant programs.
  • Conduct policy analysis, technical research, planning studies, and cost-benefit analyses used to evaluate the feasibility of new and existing regional planning programs, projects, and activities.
  • Analyze the effects of new legislation on planning programs, projects, and plans; assist with the review and development of proposed state and federal legislation in support of SANDAG programs, objectives, priorities, and plans.
  • Supervise, mentor, train, and provide career development opportunities for professional staff with expertise in planning, program implementation, and grants administration.
  • Develop project plans, Requests for Proposals, scopes of work, project deliverables, budgets, and schedules; administer contracts and ensure projects progress on schedule, within the approved budget, and at a consistently high level of quality; ensure projects are completed in adherence to funding agency requirements.
  • Provide staff support for policy advisory committees or stakeholder working groups; responsibilities include agenda setting, preparation of agendas, reports, and meeting summaries; participate in the development of staff recommendations to the committees/working groups.
  • Prepare and present written, oral, and visual reports and recommendations to the Board of Directors, Independent Taxpayers Oversight Committee (ITOC), policy and stakeholder committees, technical working groups, member agencies, community groups, private organizations, and members of the public.

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 project management skills, oral and written communication skills, the ability to work collaboratively and build   consensus with community groups, 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 urban, regional, or transportation planning, geography, or a related field, and five years of recent, progressive career experience in land use, transportation, or smart growth planning including some lead or supervisory experience. Local government work experience is desirable.

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

  • Demonstrated experience applying the principles and practices of comprehensive local or regional planning, particularly in the areas of land use, transportation, smart growth, sustainable development, social equity, and/or TOD; familiarity with the goals and objectives of The Regional Plan is desirable.
  • Knowledge of federal, state, and local laws, regulations, and requirements pertaining to planning policies, programs, and plans; familiarity with the functions and practices of local government organizations.
  • Experience developing or maintaining projects or programs that incorporate smart growth and sustainability is desirable.
  • Demonstrated knowledge of the principles and practices of  grants or contract administration, preferably in a government or public agency setting; ability to understand, interpret, and apply complex rules, regulations, and provisions related to grants, contracts, and government funding.
  • Demonstrated experience conducting technical research and planning studies; experience preparing and presenting project reports, evaluating alternatives, and developing policy recommendations for decision makers.
  • Demonstrated ability to establish and maintain effective working relationships with those contacted in the course of work including local, state, and federal agencies, other government officials, community groups, and the public, ability to gain cooperation and consensus through discussion and persuasion.
  • 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, Policy Advisory Committees, technical working groups, community groups, members of the public, and other audiences.
  • Experience staffing committees and/or working groups, including the preparation of agendas, reports, and meeting summaries.
  • Successful project management experience including preparing budgets and schedules; RFPs, scopes of work, and contracts; experience evaluating proposals and selecting and managing consultants.
  • Excellent organizational skills and the ability to manage several concurrent projects at various stages of completion; ability to establish and maintain priorities and work independently.
  • Demonstrated computer software proficiency using various programs from the Microsoft Office Suite and other PC-based applications.
  • The selected candidate also 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 Senior Regional Planner position has an annual salary range of $71,689 to $114,703 per year; the starting salary will depend on the qualifications and experience of the selected candidate.

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

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.

This recruitment will remain open until filled. The first review of applications will begin on Friday, February 8, 2019.

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 two 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. Describe your experience managing a planning project or study and specify the roles and responsibilities assigned to you. Describe any challenges you faced while managing this project and how you approached solving these issues.
  2. Identify some of the challenges local jurisdictions may face when implementing projects that support smart growth or transit-oriented development policies or initiatives, and what you, as a SANDAG staff member, could do to help overcome these challenges.

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 program.

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


City Planning

Education Requirements

Bachelor's Degree


$71,689 to $114,703 per year