Principal Planner

Salary: $70,449–$84,552
Anticipated Work Schedule: Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m. — hybrid work schedule
Reports to: Manager, Planning Services
Full Time or Part Time: Full Time, Benefits Eligible
Regular or Temporary: Regular
Classified or Unclassified: Classified
FLSA: Exempt
Application Deadline: Apply before March 22, 2024

The Principal Planner position is a full-time, benefits eligible position. The selected candidate will enjoy a hybrid work schedule, 12 paid holidays, wellness incentives, subsidized transit passes, and more. Come join our awesome team!


The purpose of this classification is to be a project lead on municipal and regional plans and to be a lead worker to lower-level planners and interns. The Principal Planner coordinates the budget and timeline, assigns tasks to planners, completes complicated calculations and mapping, manages the project as a whole, and communicates with local and regional governmental agencies.

Distinguishing Characteristics

This is a journey-level specialist classification that serves as a lead worker and project manager for Planning Commission end-products. This classification exercises independence and judgment and receives direction from the Manager, Planning Services as new or unusual situations arise. It is distinguished from the Manager, Planning Services where the latter is the supervisor of the planning department.

Essential Job Functions

Serves as a project lead for municipal and regional plans of moderate to high complexity; develops recommended actions and timelines for projects; reviews submitted materials created by other planners; coordinates and reviews plans, studies, guidebooks, and regional initiatives; conducts and reviews research, data collection, and analysis on existing regional and local socio-economic, transportation, housing, and land use trends; prepares and reviews technical reports, plans, and recommendations for staff, clients, communities, public officials, and citizens; develops maps, 3D renderings, street sections, tables, graphs, charts, and document layout.

Develops public presentation materials, and organizes and presents to the general public, regional organizations, and local committees for input; prepares, schedules, and conducts meetings with public officials, local leaders, regional agencies, peers, citizens, and clients; gathers, analyzes, and responds to feedback from the general public and other regional groups on ideas and initiatives proposed both regionally and locally; prepares and submits County planning's work for national and regional award programs; attends professional group meetings, national and region conferences, seminars, training, and other events to keep agency abreast of new trends, innovations, and best practices.

Serves as a lead worker for the Planning Commission; assigns and coordinates the work of lower-level plans; provides instruction, mentorship, and training to lower-level planners; troubleshoots and provides guidance to lower-level planners as situations arise.

Minimum Requirements

Bachelor's degree in urban/regional planning, landscape architecture, urban design, or a related field and seven (7) years of experience in urban planning or urban design; or any equivalent combination of training and experience as defined below:

Highest degree of education attained Experience required:

  • High school diploma/GED 13 years
  • Unrelated associate degree 11 years
  • Related associate or unrelated bachelor's degree 9 years
  • Related bachelor's degree 7 years
  • Unrelated master's/doctoral degree 6 years
  • Related master's/doctoral degree 5 years

Related degree fields: city/urban/regional planning; landscape architecture; urban design; architecture; public administration; GIS; geography; urban planning and policy development; urban studies; transportation planning; design, architecture, art, and planning (DAAP) or equivalent.

Related work experience: urban planning, urban design, zoning, economic development, community development, landscape architecture, transportation planning/engineering.

Possession of an American Board of Certified Planners (AICP) certification is equivalent to two (2) years of the experience requirement.

Application Process

The is a non-competitive, classified position. The Personnel Review Commission (PRC) will check your application to make sure you meet the minimum qualifications. If you do, the PRC will put your name on an eligibility list. To fill this opening, the PRC sends the hiring department and Human Resources (HR) a certified eligibility list. HR helps the hiring department decide who from the certified list to follow up with for interviews and then a job offer.

Most of our communication with candidates is through email. Regularly check the email address you gave us in your job profile. Watch your Spam folder, just in case.

If we offer you a job, you must pass a drug screen and background check before the offer becomes final. Prior criminal convictions do not automatically disqualify you from employment; the County looks at criminal convictions on a case-by-case basis using the guidelines in Chapter 306 of the County Code.


Cuyahoga County is committed to fostering a diverse and inclusive workforce, which includes building an environment that respects the individual, promotes innovation and offers opportunities for all employees to develop to their full potential. A diverse workforce helps the County realize its full potential. The County benefits from the creativity and innovation that results when people with different experiences, perspectives, and cultural backgrounds work together.

The County is committed to providing equal employment opportunities for all individuals regardless of race, color, ancestry, national origin, language, religion, citizenship status, sex, age, marital status, sexual preference or orientation, gender identity/expression, military/veteran status, disability, genetic information, membership in a collective bargaining unit, status with regard to public assistance, or political affiliation.

If you need assistance applying or participating in any part of the candidate experience, contact Human Resources at 216-443-7190 and ask to speak with a talent acquisition team member.

For other county employment opportunities, please visit the Cuyahoga County Department of Human Resources.