Director of Planning

Together For Akron (City of Akron)

Pay Range: $130,000 - $160,000

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The Director of Planning provides overall leadership, direction, guidance, and management of the Planning Department, which is part of the Office of Integrated Development. The Director of Planning works alongside the Director of Economic Development to lead the Office of Integrated Development, which aligns the functions of planning and economic development.

The Director of Planning provides professional and technical expertise to inform the land use decisions of public officials, residents, and the development community; engages citizens to establish and realize a long-range vision for the City of Akron’s land use and development character, and facilitates the administration and enforcement of the City’s land use/zoning code.

The ideal candidate will be an adaptable and highly capable communicator, planner, and administrator with the professional expertise and experience needed to lead and develop a team of planning professionals and support staff. They must manage staff, stress, competing deadlines, priorities, and budgetary constraints, in a fast-paced and accountable environment.

This position reports directly to the Mayor and the Chief of Staff. It is an unclassified, exempt, salaried position.


The Director of Planning is responsible for daily management, supervision, and strategic planning for the Planning Department to ensure it meets the goals established in the City Charter, within the framework of the vision of the Office of Integrated Development, and ensuring sound urban planning, land use management, and related goals for the City.

Study the future capital improvement needs of the City and annually prepare a four year capital investment program (commonly referred to as the capital budget) that prioritizes the funding of infrastructure projects and incorporates a report on which proposed projects will be pursued and deferred.

Provides professional planning and land-use advice to the Mayor, City Council, Planning Commission, City employees, and other officials integral to plans for the location of public buildings, bridges, approaches or other structures, and other related matters.

Directs and oversees functions and programs including: Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding, HOME Investments Partnerships Program (HOME) funding, residential property tax abatement, support for Community Development Corporations (CDCs), Urban Design & Historic Preservation Commission, Board of Zoning Appeals, the City Planning Commission, Complete Streets Commission (?), zoning and subdivision regulations and enforcement, and the Akron Parks Challenge.

Supervises the development and implementation of growth management, land use, economic development, utility, housing, transportation, park and open space, facilities, solid waste, or other plans and codes to meet the City's needs and any intergovernmental agreements or legal requirements.

Supervises the evaluation of land-use proposals to ensure compliance with established plans and applicable City, State or Federal laws, coordinating with the Director of Law, as needed.

Responds to local citizens inquiring about city planning and zoning regulations and ordinances.

Resolves complex disputes between planners and applicants, as required.

Ensures the maintenance of accurate and complete records of department activities and of records relating to licenses, permits, citations, maps, blueprints, overlay, and sketches pertinent to urban planning and development programs and projects.

Provides staff support attending meetings of City Council, the Board of Zoning Appeals, the Planning Commission, the Urban Design and Historic Preservation Commission, and other City boards and commissions, as needed.

Approves development permits, sign permits, subdivision plats, boundary line adjustments, minor land development proposals, and minor modifications to the development requirements in the form-based zoning overlay districts; all within scope of authority and responsibility.

Shares responsibility with Engineering to jointly evaluate environmental information (including floodplain) and recommend mitigation measures to reduce adverse impacts of development.

Provides data needed to update the City’s online Graphical Information System (GIS) or other mapping programs.

Performs the duties of the Building Official and Code Enforcement Officer, as needed.

Performs related work, as required.


Demonstrated experience to effectively support, advise, and coach/counsel a Planning Commission, Board of Zoning Appeals, or similar board or commission.

Extensive knowledge of advanced theories, principles, and practices of urban planning and community development. Familiarity with the problems and issues of mid-sized urban communities. Demonstrate respect and consideration for the needs and perspectives of the citizens the City serves.

Extensive knowledge of Federal, State, and local laws and policies applicable to community development, land use and planning.

Thorough knowledge of budgeting practices, methods, and procedures; management principles, concepts, and practices; public policy aspects of local government; and municipal government structure and processes.

Ability to deal effectively with people in difficult or controversial situations, possessing strong listening skills. Ability to communicate effectively orally and in writing with a wide variety of people and groups. Ability to establish and maintain an effective working relationship with all levels of management, City officials, vendors, court officials, members of the bar, other government agencies, other employees, and the public. Ability to thoughtfully communicate with and respectfully engage persons of diverse racial, ethnic, religious, and socioeconomic backgrounds.

Ability to conduct and supervise accurate research and to prepare reports and presentations that are clear and understandable.

Possess strategic agility. Anticipates future consequences and trends; has broad knowledge and perspective; is future oriented; can create competitive and breakthrough strategies and plans. Ability to set goals and develop strategies and schedules for meeting goals. Demonstrated ability to facilitate large scale projects that involve multiple departments, stakeholders, and/or agencies.

Possess and demonstrate good problem-solving skills and decision-making abilities.

Ability to manage vision and purpose. Communicates a compelling sense of core purpose; talks beyond today; develops and manages high-performing teams around a shared vision for producing results; talks about possibilities; is optimistic; creates mileposts and symbols to rally support behind the vision; makes the vision shareable by everyone; can inspire and motivate entire units or organizations.

Proficiency with Microsoft Office, including Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.

Ability to travel to meetings, events, and other locations as needed.


Graduation from an accredited college or university with a Master’s Degree in Urban Planning, Urban Affairs, Urban Design, or other relevant field.

A minimum of seven (7) years of experience in urban planning, including a minimum of five (5) years of progressively responsible supervisory or commensurate advanced professional experience.

CPM/Certified Public Manager, preferred.

American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) certification, preferred.


Prolonged periods of sitting at a desk and working on a computer.

Must be able to lift 15 pounds at times.

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