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City of Somerville Senior Planner (PPZ) in Somerville, Massachusetts

Statement of Duties

The Senior Planner is responsible for professional and technical work in planning, including community planning, zoning by-law compliance, historic preservation, site plan review, and long-range planning. Employee participates in supporting various boards and commissions; providing technical assistance to elected and appointed individuals; development of new planning procedures; preparing written project analysis; and interfacing with state and regional agencies. Coordination with economic development, housing, transportation and infrastructure for the community is also necessary. Employee is required to perform all similar or related duties as directed by supervisor.

Essential Functions:

The essential functions or duties listed below are intended only as illustrations of the various type of work 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. (Note: not all duties are performed by all incumbents in each division).

General duties applicable to all Divisions:

  • Supervises and assists staff liaisons to the Planning Board (PB), Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA), Urban Design Commission (UDC), and/or Historic Preservation Commission (HPC), as necessary.

  • Serves as lead coordinator on various projects, including especially large and complex cases going before the Boards.

  • Reviews plans, prepares staff reports, and presents information for cases going before the PB, ZBA, and/or HPC.

  • Researches and analyzes data - particularly Somerville Zoning Ordinance (SZO), SomerVision, and historic property information – in collaboration with staff planners.

  • Assembles teams for neighborhood plans and/or updates, oversees the public process dealing with planning initiatives, and assists with urban design alternatives.

  • Collaborates on presentations for various city, regional, state and federal agencies.

  • Develops and recommends ordinance, by-law, and procedure & policy amendments.

  • Participates in efforts to increase awareness and improve the regulatory process for review of permit applications.

  • Provides information to public regarding City ordinances, state laws and regulations.

  • Provides professional and technical administrative approval on City processes and performs analyses to support various city policies, in accordance with local and state regulations.

Minimum Qualifications

Education and Experience: Bachelor’s Degree and seven (7) years’ experience; or any equivalent combination of education, training and experience which provides the required knowledge, skills and abilities to perform the essential functions of the job. Master’s degree preferred.

Knowledge, Abilities and Skill

Knowledge: Knowledge of community, action groups, politics (local), neighborhoods and business concerns; considerable knowledge of urban design, civil engineering, architecture and graphic presentation as applied to planning. Considerable knowledge of economic, sociological and environmental aspects of planning; working knowledge of personal computers and GIS applications; thorough knowledge of urban or regional planning principles and practices; thorough knowledge of zoning laws and comprehensive plans including their formation, process of adoption, and enforcement.

Abilities: Ability to organize and direct the preparation of comprehensive research studies, analyze problems, prepare technical reports and formulate recommendations; ability to communicate effectively orally and in writing with architects, contractors, developers, owners, supervisors, employees, and the public.

Skill: Skilled public speaker; excellent customer service, planning and design skills.

Work Environment

The work environment involves everyday discomforts typical of offices, with occasional exposure to outside elements. Noise or physical surroundings may be distracting, but conditions are generally not unpleasant. Employee may be required to work beyond normal business hours in response to attend evening meetings or complete work assignments.  When in the field or attending meetings, the environment can be at construction sites and outdoors.

Physical and Mental Requirements

The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the position’s essential functions.

Physical Skills

Minimal physical demands are required to perform the work. Work effort principally involves sitting to perform work tasks, with intermittent periods of stooping, walking, and standing. Work requires some agility such as moving in or about construction sites or over rough terrain. There may also be some occasional lifting of objects such as office equipment or photocopy paper (up to 30lbs).  When in the field, more physical skill may be required to accomplish the duties required.

Motor Skills

Duties are largely mental rather than physical, but the job may occasionally require minimal motor skills for activities such as moving objects, operating a telephone, personal computer and/or most other office equipment including word processing, filing and sorting of papers.

Visual Skills

Visual demands require constantly reading documents for general understanding and analytical purposes.

Hours: Full-time

Salary & Benefits:  $92,006.73 annualized, plus benefits 

Union: Non-Union

FLSA: Exempt

Date Posted: March 14, 2024


City of Somerville residents are especially encouraged to apply.

The City of Somerville is an affirmative action/equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, sex, religion, age, national origin, disability or any other protected category. Women, minorities, veterans, and persons with disabilities are encouraged to apply.

Auxiliary aids and services, written materials in alternative formats, and reasonable modifications in policies and procedures will be provided to qualified individuals with disabilities free of charge, upon request. Persons with disabilities who need auxiliary aids and services for effective communication (i.e., CART, ASL), written materials in alternative formats, or reasonable modifications in policies and procedures in order to access the programs, activities, and meetings of the City of Somerville should please contact Adrienne Pomeroy at 617-625-6600 x 2059 or

Pre-Employment Requirements for All Employees:

  • MA Criminal Offender Record Information (CORI) clearance

  • Completition of Conflict-of-Interest Law Education training for municipal employees

    Overview of Total Rewards:

  • 4 weeks annual vacation (for non-union positions) union positions vary by contract

  • Medical insurance through the Group Insurance Commission (GIC) - 80% of premium costs paid by City

  • Dental coverage low and high plans through Cigna

  • Vision care through Vision Service Plan (VSP)

  • Long term disability through Sun Life

  • Group and voluntary life insurance through Boston Mutual

  • Health Care and Dependent Care flexible spending through Benefit Strategies

  • Deferred compensation plans through a choice of three vendors

  • Free, confidential services through the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) provided by E4Health

  • Annual cancer screening & wellness release

  • Somerville Retirement Pension System

  • Tuition reimbursement

  • MBTA pass program

  • FREE Blue Bikes membership

  • Eligible employer for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program (PSLF)

Benefits listed are for benefits-eligible positions and the above information is meant to be a general overview of the benefit programs offered by the City of Somerville and not a binding contract.

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