Planner I / Assistant Planner

Entry-Level Planning Job Descriptions

The position of Planner I, also known as Assistant Planner, is the entry-level position within professional planning. A bachelor's degree or a master's degree is usually required, depending on the hiring organization. It is distinguished from the Planning Technician position because it involves professional- level duties and judgment, and fewer routine administrative tasks. This position level receives considerable immediate supervision from senior planners.

Typical Functions

  • Develops planning studies and reports in support of new and updated plans, programs and regulations
  • Reviews or assists in the review of moderately difficult development proposals and site plans for conformance with codes, plans, and regulations
  • Prepares and presents detailed reports on development proposals to government bodies
  • Collects a variety of statistical data and prepare reports and maps on topics such as census information, land use, tax base data, and occupancy rates
  • Evaluates or assists in the evaluation of rezonings, ordinance amendments, site plans, special use permits, variances and other proposals
  • Acts as liaison between community groups, government agencies, developers and elected officials in developing neighborhood plans
  • Coordinates community review of public and private development projects
  • Provides information to the public regarding development regulations
  • Assists in resolving citizen and customer issues
  • Oversees the work of consultants and interns
  • Conducts field evaluations and assessments
  • Attends substantial number of evening and weekend meetings

Typical Knowledge

  • Knowledge of the principles and practices of planning
  • Knowledge of a relevant specialization such as land use/zoning, transportation planning, environmental planning, urban design, housing, historic preservation or economic development is desired
  • Knowledge of principles and practices of research and data collection
  • Knowledge of effective writing techniques
  • Statistical, algebraic, or geometric knowledge and ability to apply such knowledge in practical situations
  • Knowledge of computer programs and applications, which may include Microsoft Office, Internet applications, and database management
  • GIS programs and applications

Typical Skills

  • Oral communication and interpersonal skills to explain rules and procedures clearly to the public
  • Creative problem-solving skills to gather relevant information to solve practical problems and address citizen inquiries and concerns
  • Ability to review plans and apply provisions of the ordinances and codes to determine compliance with such regulations and to apply regulations to field conditions
  • Ability to create graphic designs, development strategies, and render site plans via sketches and/or computer graphics highly desirable.
  • Ability to work on several projects or issues simultaneously
  • Ability to work independently or in a team environment as needed
  • Ability to attend to details while keeping big-picture goals in mind
  • Effective written and verbal communication skills
  • Ability to facilitate in-person and virtual public participation activities

Minimum Qualifications

Some Planner I or Assistant Planner positions require a bachelor's degree in urban planning, architecture, public policy, or related area of study in addition to one year of planning experience. Other positions at this level require a master's degree but, in these cases, no formal experience is usually required.

Updated May 2021