Assistant Planner

FILING DATE: July 27, 2018


The City of Laguna Hills, California, is located in the heart of the Saddleback Valley in south Orange County and is bordered by Interstate 5 on the east, State Route 73 on the south, adjacent communities on the west, and the City of Irvine on the north. Incorporated in 1991, the City operates under the contract model utilizing core staff as supplemented by contract support services and enjoys a stable budget. The City uses a modified 9/80 work schedule.

The City is seeking to fill an Assistant Planner position within the Community Development Department. This position reports to the Senior Planner and will perform professional-level work in current and advanced planning; provide information and assistance to developers, the business community and the public on planning, housing, zoning and development related matters. In the immediate future the Community Development Department expects its priorities to include implementation of new permit processing software, completion of a comprehensive update to the zoning code, as well as the buildout of approved, high profile, in-fill development projects.

The person best suited for this position will have some planning experience, have a good working knowledge of CEQA, be flexible, a problem solver, have excellent customer service skills, and work well in a small organizational setting. A person with experience in a contract-model City will be able to quickly adapt to this fast-paced environment and enjoy being exposed to a wide variety of responsibilities.


Under general supervision, the Assistant Planner will perform work in current and advanced planning. The primary responsibilities of the Assistant Planner will be to manage the public counter, process routine zoning permits, perform plan checks for commercial and residential building plans, and provide effective assistance and excellent customer service to residents, the business community, and developers. The Assistant Planner is expected to become increasingly knowledgeable with processes and procedures, and carry out assignments with increasing independence.


The duties assigned include, but are not limited to, the following:

• Provide information and assistance to the public regarding the City’s General Plan and Zoning Code, development standards, application processes, and planning projects.

• Process zoning verifications, various ministerial permits (i.e. temporary use permits, sign permits, etc.), home occupation certificates; receive/intake planning applications.

• Perform plan check functions for various projects; review building permit applications for compliance with applicable zoning standards, regulations, policies, approved development plans, and conditions of approval.

• Serve or assist as the project coordinator for development projects (i.e. site development permits, use permits, variances, zone text amendments, zone changes, general plan amendments, and general municipal code amendments), which includes application and plan review, coordination with other City departments and/or outside agencies, background research, ensuring compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), and monitoring of project implementation to verify substantial conformance with approved plans, conditions of approval, and mitigation measures.

• Prepare or assist with the preparation of technical planning staff reports, ordinances/resolutions, legal notices, CEQA documents, and presentations.

• Participate in public hearings and presentations; prepare and present written and oral reports to community groups, Planning Agency, and City Council; develop recommendations and resolutions of determination; serve as staff support and liaison to the Planning Agency; occasionally attend evening and weekend meetings.

• Conduct research independently on various land use and planning issues.

• Assist in resolving resident and customer issues; investigate complaints and recommend corrective action as necessary to resolve complaints.

• Conduct field evaluations and assessments to ensure projects comply with zoning codes, design regulations, and approved plans.

• Update and distribute public information handouts, maps, and project status lists.

• Perform related duties as required.


Knowledge of:

• Principles and practices pertaining to urban planning and development.

• Applicable local, state and federal laws and regulations affecting land use.

• Site planning and architectural/engineering techniques and terminology.

• Current literature and research methods in the field of urban planning.

• General Geographic Information Systems concepts, data structure, and design.

• Basic statistics, algebra, and geometry.

• Methods of effective report preparation and presentation.

Ability to:

• Interpret planning and zoning information to the general public.

• Perform basic plan checking activities (i.e. site plans, floor plans, building elevations, construction details, surveys, topographic, and grading plans), and apply provisions of ordinances and codes to determine compliance with such regulations.

• Enforce codes and ordinances, and respond to inquiries, complaints, and requests for service in a fair, tactful, and impartial manner.

• Advise and provide consistent/fair interpretation to others in regard to applying policies, procedures, and standards to specific situations.

• Analyze problems, identify alternative solutions, project consequences of proposed actions, and implement recommendations in support of goals.

• Understand GIS and assist with basic operations of GIS technology/applications, as well as create, maintain, classify, tabulate, categorize, and manipulate data in a non-digital or digital format.

• Establish and maintain comprehensive spreadsheets and databases; prepare comprehensive reports.

• Utilize a variety of computer software programs such as Microsoft Word, Excel, Access, PowerPoint, and Outlook, as well as permit processing software.

• Operate a telephone, computer and modern office equipment.

• Utilize a variety of advisory data and information such as budgets, plans, ordinances, environmental guidelines, maps, technical operating manuals, statutes, procedures, guidelines, and non-routine correspondence.

• Understand and carry out written and oral directions and work on several projects or issues simultaneously.

• Maintain work effectiveness with frequent changes in workload and priority of assignments, and under pressure of meeting deadlines.

• Work independently in the absence of regular supervision or in a team environment.

• Establish and maintain cooperative working relationships with those contacted in the course of work.

• Communicate clearly and effectively in English, orally and in writing.

Education and Experience:

Equivalent to a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university with major coursework in urban/regional planning, environmental science, geography, architecture, public administration, or a closely related field.

One year of planning experience is desirable.

Licenses Required:

Must possess and maintain a valid California Driver’s License and Proof of Insurance.

Physical Demands and Working Conditions:

Light Work:

While performing the duties of this job, the employee is frequently required to communicate with others, use a telephone, and work on a personal computer. The employee is required to travel within the county and surrounding environs, attend potentially lengthy meetings, and incur stressful situations; is occasionally required to handle or feel objects, tools, or controls; and reach with hands and arms. This position may occasionally lift or move objects up to 25 pounds. Specific vision abilities required by this job include close vision, depth perception, color vision, and the ability to adjust focus.

Working Conditions:

The employee works under typical office conditions where the noise level is relatively busy, with periods of quiet time; and works in the field when conducting site investigations which may require stepping over debris and construction materials.

Tools and Equipment:

Motorized vehicles, cellular and regular telephone, calculator, noise meter, light intensity meter, computer, copy and fax machines, and other modern office equipment as necessary.


A formal City application, rating of education and experience, oral interview, and references shall be required. Job-related tests may also be required.

The duties listed above are intended only as illustrations of the various tasks that may be performed. The omission of specific statements of duties does not exclude them from the position if the work is similar, related, or a logical assignment to the position.


Application forms may be obtained from the City of Laguna Hills, or by calling (949) 707-2600. Applications must be filled out completely and must show that the minimum qualifications are met. Resumes will not, nor will references to a resume, be accepted in lieu of a completed City application. Completed applications must be received by the City no later than 5:00 p.m. on the filing deadline. Based upon information presented on the applications, those applicants possessing the most suitable qualifications will be requested to continue in the recruitment process. All applicants will be notified by mail of the results of the selection process.


The City of Laguna Hills recruits and hires without regard to race, color, religious creed, physical or medical condition or handicap, sex, age, marital status, or national origin except in those specific instances whereby a bona fide occupational qualification demands otherwise.


The Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 requires that you must be a U.S. citizen or an alien lawfully authorized to work in the United States to be eligible for hire.

This job bulletin does not constitute an expressed or implied contract and provisions contained herein may be modified or revoked at any time without prior notice or agreement.