Community Development Director

Aspen, CO Full-time

The Position

Are you ready to defy ordinary? Aspen, Colorado, is looking for its next Community Development Director. The Community Development Director is responsible for administering Aspen’s land use and building codes and advocating for sustainable development in the community. The Director advises City leadership and provides policy guidance and recommendations regarding planning and land use issues. Aspen has long been recognized as a trailblazer for its land use policies and focus on environmental stewardship, and the City continues to foster and encourage innovation and creativity.

Recognized as one of the most beautiful places on the planet, residents choose to live here because they can connect with those who share similar values. Aspen residents are passionate, highly educated, engaged in their community, and embrace the mountain culture year-round.

The Director provides overall direction and supervision to both the Community Development Department and the Environmental Health and Sustainability Department. The Community Development Director currently has six direct reports, including the Operations Manager, Chief Building Official, Principal Long-Range Planner, Historic Preservation Officer, Deputy Planning Director, and Environmental Health and Sustainability Director.

The Organization

The City operates under a council‐manager form of government whereby the City Council constitutes the City’s legislative and governing body. The Council is composed of four members and a Mayor, all elected at large. Council members are elected to four‐year, staggered terms with the Mayor elected for a two‐year term.

In FY2019, the City’s operating budget was $150.7 million, and the organization had approximately 326 FTEs. The City is a “full-service city,” providing a wide range of municipal services to its residents. Services include public safety, street maintenance, water, electric, culture, recreation, public improvements, general administrative services, a public golf course, and rental and “for sale” affordable housing.

City leaders are committed to reducing Aspen’s carbon footprint and have taken the first steps to what will eventually lead to mandating building owners to track and reduce their energy use. The City’s new initiative, called “Building IQ,” is an effort to reduce Aspen’s greenhouse gas emissions by 30% by next year and 80% by 2050. The initiative is designed to help commercial and multi-family buildings save energy and water in a community-wide effort to keep Aspen and the planet healthy and thriving. Through energy and water benchmarking and improvements, building owners will increase profitability, tenants will see lower utility bills, and the City will make more informed, data-driven decisions.

The Community Development and Environmental Health and Sustainability Departments

The Director oversees 27 staff members in the Community Development Department and nine staff members in the Environmental Health and Sustainability Department.

The Community Development Department strives to ensure that Aspen remains vibrant, safe, and livable. Staff is tasked with preserving the community’s history and unique culture while remaining environmentally sustainable. The Department is responsible for implementing the Aspen Area Community Plan and enforcing all building and land use codes.

The Community Development Department consists of the Planning and Zoning, Historic Preservation, and Building divisions. Planning and Zoning is responsible for current and long-range planning, special projects, and land use code compliance. Historic Preservation reviews projects that involve historic properties and districts. The Building Division reviews construction plans and performs construction inspections to ensure compliance with building code and other official City ordinances. Community Development staff coordinate the development review process and provide customers with a high level of customer service.

The Environmental Health and Sustainability Department is responsible for consumer protection, air quality, waste and recycling and climate action and resiliency. The consumer protection program provides restaurant inspection, food safety and public health services. The air quality program deals with both indoor and outdoor air quality issues including EPA required air quality action. The waste and recycling program works with community waste diversion programs and has oversight of the local recycling center. The climate action office promotes environmental stewardship and leads climate action efforts through the Roaring Fork Valley and across the state of Colorado.

The Ideal Candidate

The City of Aspen is seeking an experienced and seasoned leader who instills trust and confidence. The Community Development Director is a team player and provides leadership with thoughtful, accurate, and timely information and recommendations regarding the City’s building, health, and land use policies.

The Community Development Director is a problem-solver who sees the big picture, identifies creative solutions, and demonstrates sound judgment and decision-making skills. The Director manages multiple projects and deadlines, is detail-oriented, technically savvy, and can manage the department budget.

The Director fully appreciates Aspen’s rich history and has a vision for moving the organization and department forward. This individual understands the importance of preserving the community’s culture and identity. The Director recognizes the importance of balancing Aspen’s economic and land use policies to protect the community’s natural resources and environmental vitality.

The successful candidate is an experienced manager who leads a team of accomplished professionals and is fully invested in their continued success and development. The Director encourages creative thinking and provides staff with support, direction, and feedback. The ideal candidate cares about the staff, is collaborative in nature, and builds strong working relationships.

The model candidate is a strong communicator who can engage successfully with different audiences and is resilient and calm in the face of controversy. This individual has a background in community outreach and civic engagement and understands the importance of not only providing the public with accurate and timely information, but in being accessible, responsive, and transparent. The next Community Development Director is an effective mediator and has a strong political acumen.

Experience and Education

This position requires a bachelor’s degree in Land Use Planning, Urban Design, Landscape Architecture, Historic Preservation, or a related field and five (5) years of experience working in municipal planning, two (2) years of which should be at the supervisory level. An American Institute for Certified Planners (AICP) certification, or the ability to obtain such certification within one year of hire, is also required.

Preferred qualifications include a master’s degree in a related field and the management or supervision of planning, community development, or building safety functions in a municipal or local government setting. Additional preferred qualifications include a background in small town design, master plan development, code enforcement, historic preservation, environmental health, updating and writing technical and land use codes, budget management, and community engagement.

The Community

Aspen, Colorado is a small, upscale resort community located in a remote area of the Rocky Mountains in the heart of the White River National Forest. Unparalleled outdoor recreation opportunities, breathtaking landscapes, and an abundance of arts and cultural amenities have solidified the City’s status as an international tourist destination and an ideal community to call home. Embodying the “Aspen Idea,” which describes the importance of the integration of mind, body, and spirit, the City of Aspen’s unique offerings make the community one of the nation’s most desirable.

Since the development of Aspen Mountain in 1946, Aspen Snowmass has become a premier winter resort area that is consistently ranked among the top ski resorts in the world. The four ski areas attract thousands of tourists from around the world each year, and Buttermilk Ski Area has famously been host to the Winter X-Games since 2002.

While outdoor recreation is a predominant aspect of Aspen’s culture, the community also boasts a full calendar of arts and cultural events. The Aspen Music Festival and School is the nation’s leading classical music festival, presenting more than 400 musical events during its eight-week summer season and attracting 100,000 audience members annually. Jazz Aspen Snowmass (JAS) puts on several musical festivals throughout the year, including the JAS Labor Day Experience and JAS June Experience. The annual Food and Wine Classic in Aspen consists of three days of cooking demonstrations, wine tastings, and panel discussions led by world-class chefs and wine experts.

Downtown Aspen has transformed into a luxury shopping district, offering dozens of high-end retailers, restaurants, salons, and boutiques. Aspen’s legendary après ski – or after skiing – scene has been recognized by Conde Nast Traveler magazine as the best in North America, illustrating the small community’s dynamic nightlife and entertainment scene. Locally sourced produce and artisan products can be found at Aspen’s Farmer’s Market from mid-June through mid-October.

Aspen School District was recently named the second-best district in the State of Colorado by, highlighting the district’s academic prowess and high-quality teachers and facilities. Over 63% of Aspen’s adult population has obtained a bachelor’s degree or higher, which is nearly double the national average. Colorado Mountain College operates a campus in Aspen, offering a range of degree programs and certifications for traditional and non-traditional students alike.

The Roaring Fork Transportation Authority (RFTA) provides bus service to Aspen and surrounding communities and is the largest rural transit system in the United States. Aspen/Pitkin County Airport serves the City, and State Highway 82 is the only major road that provides access to Aspen.


  • Population: 7,365
  • Per Capita Personal Income: $143,812
  • Median Age: 43 years
  • Total Area: 3.87 square miles
  • Elevation: 7,908 feet above sea level


The salary range for this position is $115,154 - $161,791, depending on qualifications. The City provides an exceptional benefits package including but not limited to medical, dental, and vision plans; a wellness program; homeowners assistance program; employer contributions into a 401(a) retirement; paid time off (PTO); up to eight EAP visits annually; and a tuition reimbursement program.

Employees also receive discounts and passes to City parks, the Aspen Recreation Center and Red Brick, music festivals, and community events.

Employees who live outside of Aspen receive free bus passes or zone passes to use the bus system as a means of transportation for commuting to and from work.

Internal City of Aspen Housing may be available for this position to rent or purchase. The City of Aspen may provide relocation assistance based on negotiations.

There is no residency requirement.

The City of Aspen is an equal opportunity employer.

How to Apply

Applications will be accepted electronically by The Novak Consulting Group. Applicants complete a brief online form and are prompted to provide a cover letter and resume. Open until filled with the first review of applications on November 1, 2019.


Please direct questions to Jenn Reichelt at or 513-221-0500.

Download Recruitment Brochure