Community Development and Neighborhood Services Director

City of Fort Collins, CO | Full-time

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The Community

The City of Fort Collins sits nestled against the foothills of the Rocky Mountains alongside the banks of the Cache La Poudre River. At 5,000 feet in elevation, residents enjoy a moderate, four-season climate, with an average of 300 days of sunshine per year. With 174,800 residents, Fort Collins is Colorado’s fourth-largest city and spans 57 square miles. With the 20-year growth projection, the City of Fort Collins is expected to reach 255,000 residents.

The first people who hunted in this region arrived approximately 11,000 years ago, and Northern Colorado remains an integral part of the traditional and ancestral homelands of the Arapaho, Cheyenne, and Ute Nations. European-American trappers and traders arrived by the early 1800s but rarely established permanent settlements. Gold and silver discoveries in the Colorado mountains in the mid-1800s and the prospect of land for farming and ranching attracted people from eastern cities and across the globe to the Colorado Territory, including what would become the town of Fort Collins; an agricultural colony that emerged from its founding days as a military fort. The expansion included the sugar beet industry's growth, which brought new residents whose descendants still live here today, including Mexican-American families from southern Colorado, New Mexico, and northern Mexico, as well as Germans from Russia.

Since 1879, Fort Collins has been the home of the state’s land grant institution, Colorado State University, which currently enrolls 34,000 students. Along with the university, the city’s major high-tech and manufacturing companies and breweries attract new residents from all over the country and world. The community’s overall social diversity continues to grow.

There are abundant outdoor recreation opportunities available to the many residents who enjoy healthy lifestyles. The nearby Horsetooth Reservoir is a key attraction, as is the Cache La Poudre-North Park Scenic Byway. The Downtown district provides many venues for live music, shopping, dining, and nightlife within the city. Fort Collins is widely considered the Craft Beer Capital of Colorado. The City has a strong appreciation for arts, culture, and entertainment. Various national organizations and magazines recognize Fort Collins as one of the best places to live in the nation.

The Organization

The City of Fort Collins is a home rule city with a Council-Manager form of government. The City Council is comprised of six District Councilmembers who are elected for four-year terms and a Mayor who is elected at-large for a two-year term. All elected officials are non-partisan. The City Council appoints the City Manager, City Attorney, and the Chief Judge. The City Manager has overall responsibility for all other City employees. The City of Fort Collins directly provides a full slate of municipal services including operating its own electric, water, wastewater, and stormwater utilities. The City of Fort Collins, at the direction of City Council and voters, is moving forward with building and implementing high-speed next-generation broadband to the entire community with an expected completion in 2021. Fire protection is provided by the Poudre Fire Authority (PFA). The City of Fort Collins operates with a biennial budget and provides funding for municipal operations, including approximately 2,500 employees.

The City of Fort Collins aspires to provide world-class services to the community while cultivating an outstanding organizational culture for its employees. In order to achieve its vision, both internal and external services are data-informed and implemented according to organizational values. The City develops resiliency and sustainability through organization-wide systems and processes that ensure consistent employee work practices and alignment across service areas. The City places a high value on public input and strives to include community members as fellow problem solvers whenever possible. Residents can expect to receive exceptional service, have the opportunity to engage with decision-makers, provide input regarding the allocation of City resources, and have access to government information in a timely and transparent manner.

Community Development and Neighborhood Services

The City of Fort Collins Planning, Development, and Transportation (PDT) Service Area teams up to successfully shape growth and mobility in our community in a manner that reflects our core values of:

  • Livability: A safe and thriving quality of life
  • Community: A diverse and inclusive community where all have equitable access to opportunities
  • Sustainability: A resilient and forward-thinking community

Within PDT, Community Development and Neighborhood Services (CDNS) is essential to advancing our vision and core values. CDNS is an integrated, cooperative, and creative work team providing excellent services to our community through collaboration, innovation, and proactive problem solving. A "one-stop shop" for all development, building, and neighborhood needs, CDNS is known for being highly efficient and results oriented.

With a FY2021 budget of $8.5M and over 80 employees, the team provides predictable processes and speaks as a unified group with clear and consistent messaging while taking pride in our work and continually striving for improvement. Through our actions CDNS fosters a culture of integrated and inclusive problem solving while having fun and creating a unique sense of place.

CDNS provides extensive services through six divisions:

Building Services: Serves as a central location for all building permit and inspection needs including managing, implementing and enforcing City and State codes related to the construction, remodeling, alteration, repair, and demolition of building and structures in order to safeguard life, health, and community safety.

Development Review: Coordinates and facilitates the review, implementation, and long-term monitoring of all development projects. From start to finish, Development Review offers pre-submittal meetings and direct customer service; coordination, routing and review of all development projects; management of neighborhood meetings, hearings, and community outreach related to development; processing amendments to previously approved plans; zoning review of all building permits; issuance of sign permits and home occupation licenses; short-term rental monitoring and enforcement; and ensuring that development continues to comply with plan approvals and current Land Use Code requirements over time.

Long-Range Planning: Prepares and manages City Plan, Fort Collins' comprehensive plan, including its related subarea and corridor plans, and leads other special projects involving growth management, land use and urban design. Long-Range Planning also collects and analyzes a variety of land use, demographic, and housing data for use in monitoring plan progress and policy making. This division includes an Environmental Planning work group focused on protecting and enhancing natural features through plans, policies and the development review process.

Administrative Services: Provides all customer, administrative, human resource (HR Liaison), and financial assistance to all divisions within CDNS, as well as a high level of collaboration with other divisions and departments throughout the City. This division is also responsible for records management, open records requests, Boards and Commissions administrative duties, and administration of Building Services’ contracting licensing program.

Historic Preservation Services: Supports historic preservation efforts and acts as an essential component of the City's overall approach to protecting community character and creating quality, livable neighborhoods while promoting economic vitality and environmental sustainability.

Neighborhood Services: Provides outreach and education programs for neighborhoods, including neighborhood administration, neighborhood and development review outreach, community liaison programming, mediation services, and code compliance that promote friendly, safe, and sustainable neighborhoods.

The Opportunity

The Community Development and Neighborhood Services Director leads a collaborative, diverse, and innovative team influencing the planning, design, and growth of our community. The Director sets the tone for the team’s productive interactions with residents and stakeholders throughout the community and fosters a culture of integrated and inclusive problem solving, while creating a sense of belonging and connection within the team. 

The CDNS Director reports to the Planning, Development, and Transportation Director and has six direct reports: Chief Building Official, Development Review Manager, Long-Range Planning Manager, Administrative Services Manager, Historic Preservation Manager, and Neighborhood Services Manager. The Director promotes a positive and collaborative working environment where employees thrive, are treated with respect, and recognized for their accomplishments.

The Director leads this team through strategic planning, preparation of the biennial budget, formulating and administering operational policies, and determining and monitoring relevant performance metrics. The CDNS Director focuses on developing and nurturing durable partnerships such as with City Council, City leadership, Colorado State University, economic development stakeholders, community leaders, and residents. The Director serves as the final decision-maker on certain development review projects and code interpretations, and frequently represents planning and development items at City Council. The Director also provides ongoing support to the various boards and commissions, including staff support to the Planning & Zoning Board, Landmark Preservation Commission, Building Review Board, and the Zoning Board of Appeals.

The Successful Candidate

Visionary and Authentic Leadership

The Community Development and Neighborhood Services Director possesses strong leadership skills necessary for managing a complex environment. With empathy, compassion, and courage, the CDNS Director sets the tone for the service area and brings a sense of calm and stability while still allowing for flexibility and adaptability. The Director actively nurtures an open and welcoming environment that continues to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion while maintaining a commitment to innovation, continuous improvement, and service excellence.

The CDNS Director is a highly effective leader who creates a solid organizational foundation by developing strategy, setting goals, and providing clear expectations. The Director 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 promotes effective team communication, ensures transparency, supports two-way communication, and identifies opportunities to intentionally share information throughout the Community Development and Neighborhood Services divisions. Importantly, the director leads and empowers staff, while promoting a forward-thinking culture that embraces change for the better.

Organizational Strategy

The Director understands the big picture and can clearly articulate the vision while remaining grounded and realistic in what is possible. The ideal candidate maintains an understanding of the issues affecting the Fort Collins community and leverages that knowledge to drive decisions. The Director monitors best practices, trends, and current thinking in the fields of planning, zoning, building, development, land use, historic preservation, and neighborhood support. Additionally, the CDNS Director works to streamline processes, simplify decision-making, identify opportunities for efficiency, and drive uniformity in business endeavors all through an equitable lens.

A visionary leader, the successful candidate brings a fresh, yet experienced voice and perspective to Community Development and Neighborhood Services with the ability to think ahead, anticipate issues, and proactively develop solutions. With a continued focus on our economic, environmental, and social triple bottom line, the Director provides strategic guidance to further define and prioritize projects and initiatives. Remaining centered in equity and leading with race, the successful candidate considers the proper timing, resources, and community support to bring reality to our initiatives. It is essential that the Director thoughtfully identify opportunities and implement changes that support an organizational culture built on trust and mutual respect, encourages stronger collaboration and integration, effectively leverages the talents of the team, and ensures the City continues to meet the needs of the community.

Collaboration and Shared Purpose

A natural convener and collaborator, the successful candidate routinely identifies opportunities for cross-divisional collaboration and leverages the knowledge and power of others to bring greater impact to initiatives in support of our triple bottom line. The Director serves as an ambassador and active champion for our ongoing equity work and promotes respect for diversity, equity, and inclusion as a key organizational value and crucial component of the decision-making process.

The CDNS Director encourages internal connectivity between City departments and brings a proven track-record in coordinating and managing complex, multifaceted projects involving multiple stakeholders. The Director effectively builds and maintains relationships with leaders in other service areas and supports a high level of partnership between CDNS work groups and staff in other departments. With a holistic, strategic perspective, the successful candidate effectively collaborates, recognizes where the work intersects, and identifies intentional integration opportunities that continue to support our community’s sense of place.

Internal and External Engagement

The CDNS Director recognizes the importance of relationships and partnerships at all levels and believes in equitable public engagement. With strong emotional intelligence, the successful candidate navigates political relationships with ease, values diversity of thought, and believes in fostering mutual respect at all levels. A person of exceptional character, the ideal candidate is confident, yet humble with a willingness to push back as needed.

The Director is considered an excellent communicator and is well known for being open, honest, and transparent in all interactions. The successful candidate works to broaden Community Development and Neighborhood Services’ reach into the community and actively collaborates with staff to identify innovative approaches to expand and evolve programs that continue to strengthen our community.

Total Compensation

City of Fort Collins offers a competitive comprehensive benefits package, which includes a market competitive salary of $130,000 – $145,000. Other benefits include medical, dental, vision, wellness program, life, and short- and long-term disability insurance. Additionally, the City of Fort Collins offers other benefits, including 401(a) and a 457 deferred compensation plan with an employer contribution, optional Health Savings Account, Flexible Spending Accounts, and relocation assistance for the successful out of area finalist.

Residency

City department heads may live outside the Urban Growth Area during their tenure in office, but only if their places of residence are within five miles of the city limits, as measured by a straight line connecting the parcel of property upon which the residence is situated to the nearest boundary line of the city.

Qualifications

At least eight years of progressively responsible experience in professional planning and administration, with at least five years of management and leadership responsibility. Advanced knowledge of current principles and practices of community planning, including long-range land use planning, development review, zoning, and neighborhood planning is essential. Prior experience developing and managing a budget is required, as is prior experience with strategic planning.

Building and construction fundamentals and code enforcement knowledge are beneficial, along with the ability to analyze and revise current ordinances and codes. Development industry processes and public development review systems knowledge is ideal. A degree in Urban Planning or related field is highly encouraged. A master’s degree and American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) certification is beneficial. An equivalent combination of experience and education that enable success as the CDNS Director will be considered.

Studies have shown that women and people of color are less likely to apply for jobs unless they believe they are able to perform every task in the job description. We are most interested in finding the best candidate for the job, and that candidate may be one who comes from a less traditional background. The City will consider any equivalent combination of knowledge, skills, education and experience to meet minimum qualifications. If you are interested in applying, we encourage you to think broadly about your background and skill set for the role.

How to Apply

The City of Fort Collins is deeply committed to high-quality public service and cultivating an outstanding culture for its employees. As a high-performing government, Fort Collins attracts and employs diverse and competitive talent, retains its workforce through development and growth opportunities, and promotes intelligent risk-taking to address increasingly complex challenges.

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. Please apply no later than April 25, 2021.

Questions

Heather Gantz | Manager, Executive Search | hgantz@thenovakconsultinggroup.com

The City of Fort Collins is an Equal Opportunity Employer and values diversity at all levels of its workforce. Applicants selected as finalists for this position will be subject to a criminal history/credit/ driver’s license check prior to the interview. Under the Colorado Open Records Act, information from your application or resume may be subject to public disclosure.

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