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 PLANNING DIRECTOR - Arlington, Virginia, United States

Job information
Posted by: Arlington County 
Hiring entity type: Government 
Work authorization: Not Specified for United States
Position type: Direct Hire, Full-Time 
Compensation: US$101150 - 197163
Benefits: See below
Relocation: Not specified 
Position functions: Other
Travel: Unspecified 
Accept candidates: from anywhere 
Languages: English - Fluent
Minimum education: See below 
Minimum years experience: See below 
Resumes accepted in: English
Cover letter: No cover letter requested
Job code: 2940849 / Latpro-3767664 
Date posted: Jan-01-2021
State, Zip: Virginia, 22234



$101,150.40 - $197,163.20 Annually


Arlington *METRO-accessible*, VA

Job Type



Community Planning, Housing and Development

Job Number



1/28/2021 11:59 PM Eastern

Position Information

Arlington County's Department of  Community Planning, Housing and Development (CPHD) seeks a seasoned executive to lead its award-winning Planning Division to meet the next generation of challenges in one of the most progressive communities in the field of urban planning and development.
The Planning Division is responsible for guiding and regulating Arlington's short and long-range development by working with the community to develop plans, analyze development and rezoning requests based on those plans. The Planning Division has 28 staff and is organized into two major units: Comprehensive Planning and Current Planning.  The Division also has an Urban Design Group that supports the units.  


Immediate challenges are:

  • Redevelopment and transformation of Pentagon City and Crystal City neighborhoods of National Landing (Amazon);
  • Feasibility of missing middle residential development in the County as part Housing Arlington ;
  • Evaluating the future of neighborhood commercial areas; 
  • Continued redevelopment and revitalization of Rosslyn;
  • Developing a plan for the Lee Highway corridor;
  • Enhancing opportunities for small business development; 
  • Developing creative and exciting virtual community engagement strategies in a Covid-19 and post-Covid environment; and
  • Incorporating equitable solutions into all planning and development projects. 
Specific responsibilities include:

  • Directing the planning and implementation of multiple programs and a demanding work program within resource limitations to effectively and efficiently meet County goals including social equity;
  • Managing three supervisors and leading and inspiring a large division; 
  • Serving as the County spokesperson for planning policies and actions at the local, regional and national levels and representing the County on regional bodies;
  • Making policy recommendations to the County Manager and County Board, keeping them informed of specific issues of interest, providing guidance on development decisions, and responding appropriately to issues and trends;
  • Working collaboratively with the County Attorney on legal issues guiding the County's land use practices, policies and decisions;
  • Conducting negotiations on the most complicated development issues at the request of the County Manager or County Board;
  • Interacting effectively with citizens, neighborhood groups, developers and business community to understand needs and concerns and build support for planning efforts;
  • Monitoring legislation and keeping appropriate officials informed of issues which could affect Arlington; and
  • Ensuring that all development and permitting reviews are done in compliance with adopted County policies, ordinances, and plans.


The ideal candidate will have strong skills, attributes and a track record of achievement in:

  • Leading and managing smart growth initiatives, urban development and redevelopment;
  • Inspiring and managing a large division with multiple and complex programs, projects and priorities;
  • Engaging and building consensus with a diverse and well-educated community, volunteer and appointed boards/commissions and elected officials;
  • Building relationships with all levels in a large government organization; and
  • Addressing challenges with an entrepreneurial lens, strategically and with political astuteness. 


Arlington County, best known to visitors as home of the Pentagon, Arlington National Cemetery and Amazon's second headquarters is an attractive, well-planned community in which civically engaged residents and other stakeholders actively participate in decisions that shape the future of the community. For close to 50 years, Arlington has been in the forefront of the Smart Growth movement, focusing mixed-use development into highly concentrated areas adjacent to transit while preserving the balance of the community for single family, garden apartments, open space and neighborhood retail.
Selection Criteria

Minimum :  Bachelor's Degree in Urban Planning or related field and significant and progressively responsible managerial level experience in an urban planning environment, or any equivalent combination of experience and education.
Desirable :  Preference may be given to candidates with a Master's Degree in Urban Planning or related field and significant experience in one or more of the following:

  • Supervision of multiple level staff;
  • Working in local government;
  • Coordinating among multiple agencies and stakeholder interests;
  • Working with high density and mixed-use development and transit-oriented development; and/or
  • Background in architecture and/or urban design.

Special Requirements

Please note:   A comp lete application will include a letter of int erest and resume.   Please use the space provided in the Supplemental Questions section  of the application for your letter of interest or you may attach your letter and resume to your application.   Please submit your letter of interest highlighting your experience and education and how this makes you the best candidate for this position by addressing both the minimum and desirables, including for your most significant and related position.  Your letter of interest should also include details of your experience and accomplishments in the following areas:

  • Leading and managing smart growth initiatives, urban development and redevelopment;
  • Inspiring and managing a large division with multiple and complex programs, projects and priorities; and
  • Engaging and building consensus with a diverse and well-educated community, volunteer and appointed boards/commissions and elected officials.
A pre-hire background check will be made on all candidates who are selected for employment. It may include checks of the following: criminal record, driving record, education, professional licensure, and credit history. You may be required to sign a release authorizing the County to obtain your background information.

Applicant must possess, or obtain by time of appointment, a valid driver license, or willingness to use alternative modes of transportation. The applicant must authorize Arlington County to obtain, or the applicant must provide a copy of the applicant's official state/district driving record.  An offer of employment may be contingent upon a favorable review of the applicant's driving record.

Completion of the Commonwealth of Virginia Statement of Economic Interest form will be required of the successful candidate upon hire and annually thereafter.  
Additional Information

Work Hours : Monday through Friday, 8:00am - 5:00pm, with some evening hours on occasion and teleworking.

The official title of this position is Planning Division Chief.

This position is in the Arlington County Government's Senior Program Management Accountability Program (SMAP), in which Senior Program Managers are eligible for a negotiated salary/benefits package and are evaluated and compensated on the basis of a performance agreement linked to the County Management Plan, and results achieved. SMAP is a flexible total rewards/compensation system directly linked to performance and the market.

As an Employer of Choice, Arlington County offers a generous benefit package. For additional benefits information click here. 

Arlington County Government employee benefits depend on whether a position is permanent, the number of hours worked, and the number of months the position is scheduled.

Specific information on benefits and conditions of employment can be found on the Arlington County Human Resources Department website: (see application details)

Permanent, Full-Time Appointments
All jobs are permanent, full-time appointments unless otherwise stated in the announcement. The following benefits are available:

Paid Leave : Vacation leave is earned at the rate of four hours biweekly. Leave accrual increases every three years until eight hours of leave are earned biweekly for twelve or more years of service. Sick leave is earned at the rate of four hours biweekly. There are eleven paid holidays each year.

Health and Dental Insurance : Three group health insurance plans are offered - a network open access plan, a point-of-service plan, and a health maintenance organization. A group dental insurance plan is also offered. The County pays a significant portion of the premium for these plans for employees and their dependents. A discount vision plan is provided for eye care needs.

Life Insurance : A group term policy of basic life insurance is provided at no cost to employees. The benefit is one times annual salary. Additional life insurance is available with rates based on the employee's age and smoker/non-smoker status.

Retirement : The County offers three vehicles to help you prepare for retirement:  a defined benefit plan, a defined contribution plan (401(a)), and a deferred compensation plan (457).  The defined benefit plan provides a monthly retirement benefit based on your final average salary and years of service with the County.  You contribute a portion of your salary on a pre-tax basis to this plan.  General employees contribute 4% of pay; uniformed public safety employees contribute 7.5% of pay. Employees become vested in the plan at five years of service. The County also contributes to this plan. 

For general employees, the County also contributes 4.2% of pay to a defined contribution plan (401(a)) . The County also matches your 457 contribution, up to $20 per pay period, in this plan.  The 457 deferred compensation plan allows you to set aside money on either a pre-tax (457b) or post-tax (457 Roth) basis up to the IRS annual limit.  New employees are automatically enrolled with a pre-tax contribution equal to 2% of your base pay.

Other Benefits: The County also offers health, dependent care, and parking flexible spending accounts; long-term care insurance; tuition assistance; transit and walk/bike to work subsidies; a college savings plan; wellness programs; training opportunities; and a variety of other employee benefits.

Permanent, Part-Time Appointments:
Part time employees who work ten or more hours per week receive paid leave and benefits in proportion to the number of hours worked per week.

Limited Term Appointments:
Benefits are the same as permanent appointments except that the employees do not achieve permanent status.

Temporary Regular Appointments:
Temporary regular employees who work 30 hours or more per week are eligible for health, dental, and basic life insurance as described above.  They are also eligible for vacation, sick leave, and paid holidays. 

Temporary Seasonal and Occasional Appointments: 
Temporary employees who work on a seasonal basis or variable hours receive sick leave, but do not normally receive other paid leave or benefits. Exceptions are noted in individual announcements.


See job description


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