Director of Planning and Development Services

City of Boulder, CO | Full-time


The Boulder, Colorado Community

Boulder, Colorado, is located just 30 minutes northwest of Denver, where the plains meet the Rocky Mountains. Tucked into a picturesque valley below the iconic Flatirons, Boulder has a population of approximately 108,000. The City is a great place to live, work, grow, and play.

Boulder is nationally recognized for its quality of life, thriving tech, and research-based economy and booming real estate market. Boulder is also one of the most educated metropolitan areas in the country. The local public schools are excellent, with Boulder Valley School District consistently ranking among the best in the state. In addition, Boulder is a hub of entrepreneurship, particularly for businesses that value the lifestyle that is rooted in a love of the outdoors, healthy living, and access to resources.

The University of Colorado at Boulder is currently one of the premier public research institutions in the United States and sits in the heart of Boulder. The University has a strong reputation and is especially known for its engineering and science programs, particularly Earth and Space sciences. There are 17 federally funded science laboratories in Boulder, including the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). 

Enjoyment of the outdoors has always been at the forefront of life in Boulder. The community’s Open Space and Mountain Parks form a green belt around the City with over 45,000 acres of land that are preserved and protected. Boulder has over 300 miles of public hiking and biking trails, and its mountain parks and open spaces receive well over five million visitors a year. In addition, residents enjoy 1,800 acres of urban parkland and programming through numerous recreation centers and outdoor pools.

Boulder fosters an environment for artists and audiences to be innovative, experimental, creative, and expressive. The City has a large concentration of artists with more than 30 art galleries, four museums, a dozen movie and stage theaters, and a huge variety of cultural performances each year, including the Colorado Shakespeare Festival, Colorado Music Festival, and Chautauqua Summer Series.

According to Bon Appétit magazine, Boulder is America’s Foodiest City with local restaurants and chefs insistent about quality, innovation, and flavor. In addition, Boulder is consistently ranked as one of the nation’s healthiest places to live and is a mecca for natural and organic products. Farms, dairies, ranches, markets, and restaurants embrace the idea of local, seasonal, and artisanal food production and cooking. The Boulder Farmers Market is the largest outdoor market in the state, providing a venue for local agricultural producers to sell their products directly to the public. For those who love beer, wine, and spirits, there are 21 breweries, four distilleries, two wineries, and two cideries in Boulder. 

While each of the characteristics, passions, and industries that Boulder is known for today emerged organically over time, it is how they work together that makes Boulder...Boulder.

Inside the City of Boulder

The City of Boulder believes in a future with equitable access to health, prosperity, and fulfillment, where the community adapts and thrives in response to emerging and sometimes urgent, social, economic, and environmental challenges.

Boulder continuously works to provide service excellence for an inspired future. The Sustainability + Resilience Framework guides budget and planning processes by providing consistent goals necessary to achieve Boulder’s vision of a great community and the actions required to achieve them. Building on a legacy of innovation, Boulder cultivates a creative spirit in order to adapt and thrive in the changing climate.

With a focus on innovation and transformation, Boulder continues to drive strategies in five core areas:

  • Our Community as Resource: Seeking new solutions to the most pressing community challenges through new mechanisms for direct engagement with highly talented community members
  • High Performance Government: Using process-driven continuous improvement to measure and manage performance and better serve the community, as well as building and managing tools that improve transparency and accountability
  • Data-driven Decision Making: Understanding, collaborating with and leveraging information assets for effective program outcomes
  • Operational Efficiency: Mirroring innovative policies with shared, efficient, and transparent internal operations practices
  • A Culture of Innovation: Seeking value-added changes, creative thinking, and collaboration, and engaging highly talented staff in problem solving for the benefit of the entire community

Boulder Core Values

Customer Service: We are dedicated to exceeding the expectations of our community and our coworkers by demonstrating consistent and professional service with a solution-oriented approach.

Respect: We champion diversity and welcome individual perspectives, backgrounds, and opinions. We are open-minded and treat all individuals with respect and dignity.

Integrity: We are stewards of the public’s trust and are committed to service that is transparent and consistent with city regulations and policies. We are honorable, follow through on our commitments, and accept responsibility.

Collaboration: We are committed to organizational success and celebrate our shared dedication to public service. We believe community collaboration and the sum of our individual contributions leads to great results.

Innovation: We promote a forward-thinking environment that supports creativity, calculated risks, and continuous improvement. We embrace change and learn from others in order to deliver leading edge service.

Workplace Culture

The City of Boulder believes that a diverse workforce adds quality and perspective to the services that are provided to the public. Therefore, the organization intentionally strives to develop and maintain a diverse workforce that values and is sensitive to the differences among employees.

An important component of the City’s culture and environment is Boulder’s Leadership Philosophy: We believe each of us is a leader. We are motivated by the opportunities to make a positive difference for our community. Our greatest results are achieved when we:

  • Create a respectful, trusting, and supportive environment
  • Rely on, invest in, and celebrate each other’s perspectives, skills, talents, and accomplishments
  • Consult and collaborate with each other to make timely and quality decisions
  • Share responsibility for and learn from the process and outcomes of a creative culture

Structure of Local Government

The City of Boulder has a council-manager form of government where the elected City Council sets policies, and the council-appointed City Manager administers them. The City Council consists of nine members, including a mayor and mayor pro tem selected by the council members. Council members are elected at large and may serve up to three terms. 

With a 2020 adopted budget of $369.7 million, the City of Boulder is served by approximately 1400 standard employees. Robust City services are provided through numerous departments and divisions.

The Planning and Development Services Department

In pursuit of operational excellence, Planning and Development Services has recently adapted from a shared services area to a defined city department. Planning and Development Services has redefined its identity and is streamlining its business processes in order to provide efficient, consistent, and predictable services for internal and external customers. The new department includes all planning functions and public works development services functions. With a 2020 budget of $14.5 million, the Planning and Development Services department employs 110 full-time staff.

Planning and Development Services provides extensive services through six divisions:

  • Comprehensive Planning: Long Range Planning, Historic Preservation, and Ecological Planning
  • Administrative Services: Development Services Operations Support, Advisory Board Administration, Office Management, and Rental Housing and Short-Term Rental Licensing
  • Development Review: Development Review and Zoning Administration
  • Building Services: Building Code Review and Administration, Building Inspection and Enforcement, Code Enforcement-Land Use, and Rental Housing Licensing Enforcement
  • Public Works Development Review: Engineering Review, Floodplain and Wetland Permits, and Utility and ROW Permits and Inspections
  • Information Resources: GIS and Web Mapping, Land Management Software, Asset Management, and Records and Research 

About the Director of Planning and Development Services Position

The Director of Planning and Development Services provides leadership and vision to enhance the integration and coordination between our planning and development related services. The Director sets the strategic direction of the department to achieve Boulder’s social, economic, and environmental goals.

The Director is a key member of the City’s leadership team and coordinates regularly with the City Manager and Deputy City Managers to strategically plan, especially with respect to high priority and high profile Council initiatives. The Director represents the department, provides technical guidance, and acts as a policy advisor to the City Manager, the Planning Board, and the City Council on a wide range of complex issues and major projects. Additionally, the Director maintains an understanding of current and proposed future projects in all work plans in order to adequately represent workload, budget, and coordination issues with City leadership and the community 

The Director of Planning and Development Services successfully leads, develops, and manages staff. They set bold performance goals, engage staff, and shape the culture of the entire department. The Director collaborates with staff to develop and implement the department’s strategic and division work plans while actively seeking input and involving staff in decision making. The Director fosters a climate of trust and credibility, continuously encouraging staff to be productive and produce high-quality work through clear standards and goals for performance.

The Director promotes and develops positive working relationships with internal and external colleagues, customers, community groups, and other stakeholders. The Director anticipates needs and develops proactive response plans providing excellent customer service, ensuring responsiveness and continuous improvement while balancing the needs of the City. The Director of Planning and Development Services supports and reinforces balance, including a creative, inclusive, and solutions-oriented response to community and customer needs while improving efficiencies and service delivery.


  • Embrace and actively engage in the department’s strategic planning process and implementation. Support the continued focus and emphasis on operational excellence through customer service, continuous improvement, and the health, safety, and well-being of our employees.
  • Understand and embrace the history of planning in Boulder to further inform our short- and long-term strategy. Identify the proper balance and determine where we put our time, energy, and investments to ensure equitable project outcomes and deliver the greatest impact on our community.
  • Encourage internal connectivity between divisions. Collaborate effectively, recognize where the work intersects, identify a common vision, and ensure the proper balance of internal and external initiatives.
  • Collaborate to drive operational excellence through stability and consistency in systems, policies, and procedures. Work to streamline processes, simplify decision-making, identify opportunities for efficiency, and drive uniformity in business endeavors all through an equitable lens.
  • Create a values-driven department. Promote an equitable culture, be a vocal advocate for staff, establish trust, and encourage collaboration to effectively prioritize and execute on goals and initiatives.
  • Be thoughtful in determining why, how, and when to drive change. Maintain employee morale, retain a great workforce, continue to build strong teams, and actively solicit input on how to make our department stronger.
  • Serve as an ambassador and active champion for our ongoing racial equity work. Through your leadership, promote respect for diversity, equity, and inclusion as a key organizational value and crucial component of the decision-making process.

The Successful Candidate

The Director of Planning and Development Services embraces operational excellence and is excited to lead the redefined and still evolving Planning and Development Services department. They will quickly understand the values of Boulder and embrace working in a community accustomed to high-quality services.

With empathy, compassion, and courage, the Director of Planning and Development Services sets the tone for the department and brings a sense of calm and stability while still allowing for flexibility and adaptability. A person of exceptional character, the ideal candidate is confident, yet humble with a willingness to push back as needed. The successful candidate brings a fresh, yet experienced voice and perspective to Boulder. The Director understands the big picture and can clearly articulate the vision while remaining grounded and realistic in what is possible.

A natural convener and collaborator, the Director of Planning and Development Services recognizes the importance of relationships and partnerships at all levels. With strong emotional intelligence, the successful candidate values diversity of thought and believes in fostering mutual respect at all levels. The ability to navigate political relationships with ease while hearing, balancing, and respecting a variety of views during the decision-making process will be key. The successful candidate is an effective communicator, values transparency, and proactively keeps others well informed.

The Director of Planning and Development Services brings forward strong executive leadership skills necessary for managing a complex, changing environment while still driving sound business operations. A proven track-record in coordinating and managing multifaceted projects involving competing interests and objectives is essential. The Director of Planning and Development Services monitors best practices, trends, and current thinking in the field of urban planning, environmental sustainability, economic vitality, and social sustainability to evaluate alternative approaches and present informed solutions. The ideal candidate embraces technology and uses data to inform decision-making. The Director also has a reputation for implementing numerous process and system improvements that result in greater efficiencies, enhanced capacities, and improved service delivery.

The Director of Planning and Development Services genuinely encourages and supports collaboration and employs a leadership style that invites participation and gathers input, but at the end of the day is decisive and results oriented. The successful candidate leads and empowers staff, while promoting a forward-thinking culture that embraces change for the better. The Director actively nurtures an open and welcoming environment that continues to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion while maintaining a commitment to innovation and service excellence.


At least ten years of demonstrated progressively responsible leadership and management experience in a combination of community planning, engineering, and development services related fields, including significant experience with an active, mature, and highly engaged community. A combination of both public and private sector experience is ideal.

Knowledge of best practices in both planning, engineering, and construction is highly desired. Proven business savvy, political understanding, and sensitivity with the ability to think ahead, anticipate issues, and proactively develop response plans are essential. Specific knowledge of and experience in land use planning, development review, public infrastructure, and housing is required, as is experience with in-fill, redevelopment, and transit-oriented development. Significant experience with community sustainability efforts involving economic, social, and environmental sustainability policy development and implementation is also desired.

A master’s degree or equivalent combination of education and experience in a relevant field such as urban planning, engineering, architecture, public administration, or business is required with American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) or Professional Engineer (PE) certification desired 


The hiring range for the Director of Planning and Development Services is $170,000 to $180,000 and will depend on the qualifications of the successful candidate. The City of Boulder is a progressive organization that values employee engagement and well-being. The City recognizes the importance of providing an encompassing health and life benefits program to employees, including Telework, Flex Schedules, Telehealth and Wellness Incentives, Infants and Dogs at Work Program, and an Employee Discount Program on good and services throughout the Boulder Community. Additional information can be viewed here.

To Be Considered

Respect is one of Boulder’s five City Values , and they are committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion. The City celebrates and supports differences across all spectrums, including but not limited to ethnicity, gender, age, disability, and sexuality. Through the City’s focus on racial equity, employee benefits , and the many program resources offered to employees, Boulder continually strives to weave respect for one another into the fabric of their organization. 

Add your voice and talents to the City of Boulder and help them grow in service excellence for an inspired future.

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 July 26, 2020.


Please direct questions to Heather Gantz at or 513-221-0500.

Download Recruitment Brochure