The City of Jamestown is seeking applications for the position of Principal Planner. The Principal Planner will direct and implement the city’s planning efforts to benefit all residents of the City of Jamestown. Work is performed under the general direction of the Director of the Department of Development in accordance with established policies and procedures with the expectation that independent judgment will be exercised in carrying out the details of the work. This is an excellent opportunity to join a fast-paced Department of Development team in a vibrant and growing community.
The successful candidate will be forward-thinking, innovative, and detail-oriented and will possess strong interpersonal and creative problem-solving skills and a genuine desire to actively promote a diverse, thriving, and dynamic community by utilizing creative planning principles to guide land use while ensuring excellent customer service; fostering safe and sustainable development; working with the community, stakeholders, and city officials to develop and implement policies to maximize quality of life and shape the future of the City of Jamestown.
Applications must be submitted to the Department of Development. Please send a resume, cover letter, sample of writing and professional references to Crystal Surdyk at firstname.lastname@example.org or by mail to the Department of Development, 3rd Floor; Municipal Building; 200 East Third Street, Jamestown, NY 14071. Electronic submission of materials is strongly encouraged.
About the City of Jamestown
The City of Jamestown, the largest population center in Chautauqua County with a population of approximately 31,000 residents, is situated between Lake Erie and Allegheny National Forest. This vibrant community serves as the center of a greater metropolitan area of more than 70,000 residents and a market area of nearly 175,000 people. Jamestown is the industrial, commercial, financial and recreational hub of Southwestern New York and boasts a rich local history. The City was once the “Furniture Capital of the World,” with advanced woodworking and furniture craftsman contributing to a powerhouse local economy.
From its historic architecture, to its beautiful theaters, museums, and state-of-the art ice arena, Jamestown has attractions that are easily accessible within a three-hour drive radius to visitors from major metropolitan areas such as Buffalo, Toronto, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, and Rochester.
Jamestown is home to the National Comedy Center which opened in August 2018 and has since been formally designated by the U.S. Congress the United States’ “official cultural institution and museum dedicated to presenting the vital story of comedy and preserving its heritage for future generations.” The museum complex offers more than 50 interactive exhibits and features cutting-edge technology, drawing a projected 114,000 visitors annually. In addition, the National Comedy Center was named one of the “World’s Greatest Places” by TIME magazine, one “100 Reasons to Love America” by People magazine, and a “Best New Attraction” in the US by USA Today.
Some of America’s most renown cultural and iconic figures, including Supreme Court Justice, Robert H. Jackson, Lucille Ball, and Roger Tory Peterson have called Jamestown home. The City also is just a short drive to historic Chautauqua Institution, which attracts more than 100,000 visitors to their grounds annually for education and personal enrichment. The Institution is a nationally and internationally recognized center located seventeen miles northwest of the City.
In 2006, the City adopted the award-winning Urban Design Plan. The UDP was recognized by the New York Upstate Chapter of the American Planning Association and was also the recipient of a gold level National Planning Association Achievement Award for Implementation. The award recognizes the City’s successful implementation of the Urban Design Plan and its ongoing efforts to revitalize city’s downtown area, attract new business investment, generate new jobs, develop new community attractions and opportunities for recreation and improve quality of life for residents and visitors alike. The UDP 2.0 provided an update to the Urban Design Plan and was adopted in 2019.
In 2016 the City was awarded a Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI) grant of ten million dollars for a number of projects that are currently in various stages of implementation. Additional to the DRI, Jamestown has two designated Brownfield Opportunity Areas (BOA), an approved Local Waterfront Revitalization Plan (LWRP), and a federal Opportunity Zone.
Jamestown is looking to the future and the importance of its connectivity to the rest of the region. An on-going effort has begun to establish a rail corridor connecting Jamestown and the Buffalo and Niagara Falls, NY and Toronto, Ontario markets via passenger excursion trains. The City is also engaged in initiatives to expand and build upon existing multi-use trail networks locally and regionally.
A great deal of planning has been done and the city of Jamestown is truly on the cusp of a resurgence but there is still much to do. With a Comprehensive Plan that dates back to 1998 and antiquated Zoning Code that hasn’t been updated since 1999, Jamestown will look to take on two significant planning initiatives over the next several months. Additionally, resiliency planning and New York State’s clean energy goals will play an increasingly vital role in the City’s ongoing development efforts.
The 2020 Census will also be a major focus over the next several months and obtaining a complete count is imperative to ensure the City continues to receive the funding it needs as well as help businesses make data-driven decisions that will ultimately strengthen the local economy.
About the Department of Development
The Department of Development is committed to enhancing the quality of life for all residents living and working in the City of Jamestown by strengthening our neighborhoods through successful housing and commercial rehabilitation efforts; maximizing opportunities for social, cultural and economic development; and providing a safe, livable, and sustainable community for our present and future citizens. The DOD establishes and sustains an orderly and consistent approach to land use that incorporates sustainability, city design, resilience, equity, and opportunity into ongoing practice and long-range planning.
The DOD was established to oversee the development of the City’s industrial, commercial and residential sectors and to facilitate planning; zoning; code enforcement (residential and commercial); administration of Federal, State, and philanthropic grants; processing grant applications for City endeavors; coordination of neighborhood and housing rehabilitation initiatives; marketing of commercial and residential properties; and administration of the City’s revolving loan program and is inclusive of the Jamestown Local Development Corporation (JLDC) and the Jamestown Urban Renewal Agency (JURA).
The DOD also aids business owners, both small and large, with grants and low-interest loan programs and administers the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) and HOME Program funds granted by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
About the Position
The City of Jamestown is seeking a skilled urban planner with an interest in improving the livability and economic regeneration of the community. The planner will have a background in urban design, planning, and land resource management. The planner will work closely with the City Building & Zoning Code Enforcement Officer and Department of Development staff to achieve goals and objectives set forth by the Department. The planner will collaborate with other city departments as necessary to ensure development, zoning and planning activities are coordinated across all relevant disciplines and departments. The planner will provide unbiased guidance on all development activities including design, historic preservation, and environmental impact to the Department of Development, Planning Commission, Department of Public Works, and City Council.
Experience and understanding on the development side as well as the planning side would be viewed as an asset. The planner will report directly to the JURA Executive Secretary/Director of Development and will:
- Perform quality work within deadlines with or without direct supervision.
- Work effectively as a team contributor on all assignments.
- Understand the necessity to efficiently and effectively interact, communicate and coordinate workefforts with other employees and organizations in an effective manner to accomplish common task.
- Function in highly stressful circumstances.
- Maintain a high level of professionalism and to conduct business in an ethical manner at all times.
- Maintain regular and punctual attendance.
- All employees of the Department of Development in the City of Jamestown are expected to uphold and exhibit shared employee values of Knowledge, Respect, and Integrity.
Job Duties Include, but are not limited to the following, and should not be construed as exclusive or all inclusive. Other duties may be required and assigned.
- Work closely with the City’s elected and appointed leadership in setting and carrying out the City’s vision, mission and objectives for planning.
- Design review of downtown façade projects and preparation of conceptual designs for downtown improvements.
- Evaluate planning legislation and applicability to department projects.
- Author or contribute to the writing of specific plans for adoption and coordinates the approval process working closely with Zoning, Public Works Department, and coordinates public input.
- Coordinate the approval process for plan adoption.
- Coordinate with various entities to ensure the continued successful implementation of adopted plans. Provides guidance in design and makes recommendations for funding.
- Provide technical assistance and guide private developers through the regulatory process.
- Coordinate with developers, building owners, design professionals, and agencies on rehabilitation, restoration, adaptive-reuse and building expansion activities.
- Coordinate the City’s site plan review and historic preservation review process with applicants and all city, county and state governmental agencies involved.
- Provide reliable coordination and guidance of City Planning and Zoning activities such as meetings, monitoring compliance with local, state, and federal laws, and ensuring deadlines are met by developers.
- Coordinate the SEQRA and NEPA environmental review process and policy analysis and works with developers to coordinate process and deadlines.
- Evaluate all site plan review work and all drawings, making recommendations to the City of Jamestown Planning Commission and guiding them through the planning process.
- Write Requests for Proposals to hire planning consultants, architects, and development firms and works in close coordination with the chosen consultants to ensure planning process moves ahead in a timely fashion.
- Provide consult to City Council with regard to recommending changes to existing plans or clarifying the need for new plans and zoning changes or amendments.
- Contribute to the writing of specific zoning changes and amendments when necessary.
- Propose potential projects for grant applications, assists in the writing of the grant and contributes to the administration of the grant.
- Coordinate the grant application writing process with staff taking the lead on project creation, analyzing feasibility, and identifying partners.
- Prepare and generate maps and statistical data and the analysis of the data.
- Compile and prepares statistical data.
- Provide support to economic development efforts.
- Carry out updates to the Department website and use other electronic and paper-based means to improve the form and content of information provided to the public and various stakeholders.
- Assist other City Departments and/or DOD teammates with special projects as assigned.
- Special assignments as issued by the JURA Executive Secretary/Director of Development.
- Theory, principles and techniques of the planning profession and development process.
- Federal, state and local laws, ordinances and codes pertaining to a wide variety of planning topics.
- Knowledge of HUD/CDBG programs and contracts.
- Methods and techniques of research and analysis.
- Knowledge of computer applications including Microsoft Office, Adobe Creative Suite, Internet applications and GIS, as well as familiarity with emerging data-driven approaches.
- City organization, operations, policies, and procedures.
- Principles and practices of urban planning, zoning and land use.
- Principles and practices of project management.
- Excellent oral and written communication skills.
- Excellent interpersonal and public relations skills.
- Creative problem-solving skills to gather relevant information to solve less well- defined planning problems.
- Group facilitation skills.
- Ability to work on several projects or issues simultaneously.
- Ability to manage projects effectively and meet firm deadlines.
- Strong organizational skills.
- Ability to manage high-profile, sensitive, or controversial situations requiring diplomacy, fairness, firmness and sound judgment.
- Strong problem-solving and negotiation skills.
- Ability to exercise sound and independent judgment within general policy guidelines.
- Providing efficient customer service.
- Ability to understanding and apply City policies and procedures, and applicable federal and state regulations.
- Ability to read and interpret codes.
- Ability to establish and maintain cooperative working relationships with all levels within the City.
Master’s Degree in Urban Planning from an accredited university or college with demonstrated professional planning experience;
Bachelor’s Degree in Planning from an accredited university or college and at minimum three (3) years of planning experience.
Must exhibit strong written, verbal, organizational, and interpersonal skills. Demonstrated computer proficiency in Microsoft Office Suite including Word, Excel, Access, and PowerPoint; Adobe Suite including Acrobat, InDesign, Photoshop, and Illustrator; Google Earth; Arc Map, Arc View or Map Info; ArcGIS or QGIS applications a plus.
Salary ranges is $46,766-$57,353 and is commensurate with experience and qualifications. Excellent benefits package includes paid vacation and holidays, personal days, health, dental, and participation in the NY State & Local Retirement System. Fringe benefits include: American Planning Association membership dues paid, participation in professional development and continuing education, and flexible scheduling, including the ability to work remotely.
(Benefits may be modified based on collective bargaining unit terms.)
The Jamestown Urban Renewal Agency (JURA) is an Equal Opportunity Employer