Director of Planning and Neighborhood Services

City of Yuma, AZ | Full-time

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The Position

Under the direction of the City Administrator, the Director of Planning and Neighborhood Services plans, organizes, and directs the City of Yuma’s newly formed Department of Planning and Neighborhood Services. The Director oversees operations, projects, and programs, including community planning, long-range planning, case review, historic preservation, plan review, and neighborhood revitalization. The Director serves as the principal advisor and provides leadership, direction, and guidance in the future development of the City, including implementation of the General Plan. The Director promotes the City’s goals and priorities, vision, values, and the “Yuma Way.”

The Director establishes and maintains relationships with the City Council, City Leadership, Planning and Zoning Commission, developers, government agencies, community organizations, and the general public. The Director evaluates and analyzes complex and sensitive projects and encourages new ideas and collaborative approaches. This position exercises independent judgment within broad policy guidelines and identifies solutions to effectively deliver the highest quality products and services. The Director also develops and oversees the department budget and manages the collection, analysis, and reporting of department financial data.

The Director of Planning and Neighborhood Services provides leadership, direction, and management of staff and has three direct reports, including two Assistant Directors and an Administrative Support Manager.

Priorities

  • Develop strong working relationships with City leadership, department directors, Planning and Neighborhood Services staff, and other key staff members.
  • Establish a culture of teamwork and trust; identify ways to unify the team, empower employees, and encourage collaboration between team members.
  • Identify training opportunities and encourage employee growth and development.
  • Actively support the General Plan Update. Collaborate with staff to prepare for the public hearings in the fall of 2021 and work towards taking the Plan to the voters for approval in 2022.
  • Identify and prioritize Planning and Neighborhood Service projects and activities to ensure alignment with the City’s Strategic Plan.
  • Continue to plan for thoughtful growth and development. Consider the proper timing, funding, and needs of the community related to housing, infill, and downtown and neighborhood revitalization.
  • Continue the process of reviewing, updating, and rewriting Yuma’s codes to allow for adaptability and flexibility in meeting the needs of the community.
  • Take the necessary time to learn and understand the Yuma community. Develop and maintain positive relationships and effectively partner, educate, and collaborate with the community while protecting Yuma’s identity and interests.

The Successful Candidate

The City’s Director of Planning and Neighborhood Services is a seasoned local government planning professional with a proven track record of success. This individual is forward-thinking and excited to lead this newly established department. The successful candidate embraces innovation, continuous improvement, and customer service excellence. With strong emotional intelligence, the successful candidate values the diversity of thought and believes in fostering mutual respect at all levels.

A natural collaborator, the Director of Planning and Neighborhood Services recognizes the importance of developing strong working relationships and partnerships. The ideal candidate is politically astute and navigates political relationships with ease. This individual is a consensus builder who values public engagement and helps find balance and compromise between stakeholders.

The Director is an exceptional communicator who can explain complicated issues in an easy-to-understand manner. The successful candidate values transparency and proactively keeps others well informed. This individual is solutions-oriented, understands the big picture, and can clearly articulate the vision while remaining grounded.

An approachable and highly effective leader, the successful candidate fosters a culture of teamwork, flexibility, and continuous improvement. The Director sets the tone for the department and brings a sense of calm, consistency, and stability while allowing for flexibility and innovation. This individual is an experienced supervisor who mentors and coaches employees and supports their professional development. The Director develops and aligns the department’s work plan and goals to the City’s Strategic Plan while providing clear expectations and holding staff accountable.

The successful candidate exercises sound judgment and demonstrates a high level of integrity and ethics. This individual is analytical, organized, and detail-oriented. The Director is decisive, embraces technology, and uses data to inform decision-making.

The Director of Planning and Neighborhood Services brings a fresh yet experienced voice to Yuma and routinely monitors best practices and trends. The ideal candidate has a reputation for implementing process and system improvements which result in greater efficiencies and improved service delivery.

Qualifications

A master’s degree in urban planning, business administration, or public administration; and at least six (6) years of progressively responsible experience leading community development and/or urban planning programs, including supervisory experience, is required. A valid Arizona State Driver’s License or the ability to obtain one is also required.

Advanced knowledge of the principles of land use, zoning regulations, and affordable housing is essential. Prior experience developing and managing a budget, HUD, CDBG, and HOME performance standards and procedures is beneficial.

Professional certification through the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) and revitalization experience in large communities similar in size to Yuma is preferred.

An equivalent combination of experience and education that enable success as the Director of Planning and Neighborhood Services will be considered.

Inside the City of Yuma

The City of Yuma is a full-service council-manager local government and is governed by a charter, Arizona state statutes, and an adopted Strategic Plan. The City Administrator is appointed by the City Council and is responsible for all city operations.

The City employs 1,200 full-time, part-time, and seasonal employees and has 14 departments committed to providing outstanding services to the community. Yuma’s FY 2022 annual budget is $522.4 Million (all funds).

Inside the Department of Planning and Neighborhood Services

In pursuit of operational excellence, the City recently created the Planning and Neighborhood Services Department, previously a division within the Community Development Department. In FY 2022, the Community Development Department was split into two distinct departments – Building Safety and Planning and Neighborhood Services.

The Department of Planning and Neighborhood Services is in the process of redefining its identity, elevating its presence, and streamlining business processes to provide efficient, consistent, and predictable services for internal and external customers.

With a budget of $2 Million and a talented and dedicated staff of 22, the Department of Planning and Neighborhood Services plans for growth, development, and prosperity and actively promotes a culture where staff and customers work in partnership to create and sustain a better quality of life and environment in which to live, work, and play. The Department has three divisions, including Administration, Community Planning, and Neighborhood Services.

The Administration Division provides oversight, direction, and leadership to the entire Department. This division coordinates Pre-Development Meetings, which provide an opportunity for staff and customers (property owners, developers, and business owners) to review proposed development projects and provide invaluable feedback at the onset of the process. In addition, this division provides an online application and permitting support to assist customers with electronic plan submittal, review, and permitting.

The Community Planning Division provides comprehensive planning services to the community on issues related to land use, physical design, historic preservation, and community facilitations. The division includes both community planning and long-range planning functions. Community planning administers the zoning code. Long-range planning staff prepares updates to the General Plan, develops new and revised policies to guide the City’s growth, and adds land area to the City’s jurisdiction through annexations.

The Neighborhood Services Division strives to create healthy neighborhoods by improving the quality of life for residents, particularly those with low and moderate incomes. This division distributes Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). It serves as the lead entity for the Yuma County HOME Consortium, providing administrative oversight for HOME funding to preserve and create affordable housing throughout Yuma County.

The Community

Yuma is located in beautiful and sunny Southwestern Arizona, where Arizona, California, and Mexico converge. Nestled between San Diego and Phoenix along I-8, Yuma has a rich culture and heritage rooted in centuries of history. Yumans enjoy a climate that mixes pure desert sunshine with the cool waters of the Colorado and Gila Rivers. Yuma is the 11<sup>th</sup> largest city in Arizona, with an estimated population of 108,000, which nearly doubles during the unparalleled winter months. Yuma is also the county seat for Yuma County, home to approximately 235,000 people.

Yuma is the perfect destination for outdoor enthusiasts and adventurers who bask in its nearly perfect weather with 310 sunny days a year! Yuma’s enviable setting allows residents to take advantage of outdoor activities year-round, from hiking, biking, golfing, and off-roading to boating, fishing, kayaking, and water skiing. Exciting annual events, festivals, concerts, and world-class cuisine can be found in Yuma year-round. For more information on all that Yuma has to offer, please visit visityuma.com.

Agriculture, military installations, and tourism are the base of Yuma’s economy, with agribusiness contributing over $3.1 Billion to Yuma’s economy each year. The area is one of the most productive agricultural centers in the United States and supplies 90% of its winter and leafy vegetables.

Yuma is home to two of the largest military installations in the United States. The U.S. Army Yuma Proving Ground is the nation’s premier ground and weapons testing facility. Marine Corps Air Station-Yuma is the country’s foremost Marine Air Base with over 10,000 active-duty personnel, including pilots, aviation technicians, and aeronautic mechanics.

Quick Facts

  • Population: 108,000
  • Median Household Income: $50,446
  • Labor Force: 43,848
  • Median Home Value: $153,300
  • Median Age: 31.8

Compensation and Benefits

The salary range for the Director of Planning and Neighborhood Services position is $109,245 – $152,944. Salary will depend on qualifications and includes a robust benefits package and relocation assistance. Residency within City of Yuma limits is required within eighteen months of appointment.

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. The position is open until filled, with a first review date of August 16, 2021.

Questions

Please direct questions to Heather Gantz at hgantz@thenovakconsultinggroup.com or 513-221-0500.

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