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Assistant Planner

City of Olympia

Olympia,  Washington

The Olympia Community Planning & Development Department seeks a dependable, team-oriented individual to join the Department as an Assistant Planner. This position will perform a variety of professional and technical duties to support both the Department’s current planning/development review and GIS functions. The selected individual may also be responsible for coordinating the City’s neighborhood programs.

Ideal Candidate Profile

  • Administer land use regulations and similar codes and requirements.
  • Prepare staff reports and other documents that clearly and accurately convey complex information to the public, hearing examiner, city advisory commissions and city council.
  • Conduct meaningful and extensive public outreach processes.
  • Respond to and resolve potentially confrontational situations.  
  • One-three years professional experience producing map products and performing associated data analysis using GIS.
  • Perform moderate to complex geoprocessing and analysis using GIS applications to create, edit, and maintain GIS data layers.
  • Assist other employees with scoping GIS project needs, identifying data limitations, and developing data visualization tools to reach a variety audience.
  • Develop and maintain documentation and metadata for geospatial data. Present technical information in an accurate, competent, efficient and professional manner, responding to each individual in accordance with the customer's level of technical sophistication.
  • Build strong working relationships with other agencies and city staff.
  • Work independently in successfully managing long-term projects.
  • Be technically minded and detail oriented.
  • Thrive in a busy, fast-paced environment.
  • Manage time and prioritize responsibilities to perform the duties of the position with the resources available.
  • Act in a responsible and respectful manner toward all members of the community.

To Apply

  • This recruitment is a continuous recruitment. To be considered for the first round of interviews submit your application by 5 p.m. on March 5, 2021.  
  • Only electronic applications are accepted. Please apply on-line at:

Contact Information
If you have questions about the position and/or requirements, contact Tim Smith, Planning and Engineering Manager at 360.570.3915 or via email at

The essential functions of this position include but are not limited to:

  • Responsible for completing a variety of activities relating to the City's planning functions.
  • Provide general planning information to the public.
  • Review applications and site plans for compliance with local and state regulations.
  • Prepare staff reports and recommendations to the Site Plan Review Committee, Hearing Examiner, City Council and advisory groups and commissions.
  • Prepare moderate to complex analysis and maps for planning projects, public meetings and hearings.
  • Develop and maintain data quality, cartographic standards and best practices for GIS.
  • Punctual, regular and reliable attendance is essential for successful job performance.


  • Knowledge of planning principles, practices, regulations, and techniques as related to land use, transportation and environmental impact.
  • Knowledge of local government and political decision-making processes related to planning issues.
  • Specific demonstrated skills editing data using ArcGIS.
  • Demonstrated skills creating production-quality maps integrating multiple data sets
  • Experience creating high-quality charts and graphs in Microsoft Excel for a layperson audience.
  • Skill in working with various stakeholders to achieve a solution to a project or proposal.
  • Skill in formulating and presenting appropriate planning options to various audiences.
  • Skill in preparing support documentation which clearly, precisely, and concisely presents planning recommendations.
  • Skill in working in a team discipline.
  • Ability to develop and write plans based on an analysis of data and on-going citizen and staff input.
  • Ability to communicate effectively with individuals and groups regarding complex or controversial planning policies or regulations.
  • Ability to direct or coordinate the work of planning and agency staff members.
  • Ability to establish and maintain effective working relations with elected and appointed officials, staff of other agencies, Planning staff, and the community.

Educational Experience:

  • Bachelor of Arts or Science degree in Planning or closely related field required.
  • Additional related experience may be substituted for the degree on a year for year basis.

Special Requirements:

Valid Washington State Driver's License required.



  • Planners have significant daily contact with the public for the purpose of information-sharing and problem resolution.
  • Due to the subject matter some contacts may be confrontational, requiring the Planner to explain City policies and procedures in a professional, concise, and respectful manner.
  • Planners also have daily contact with other City staff for the purpose of information sharing, work coordination, and problem resolution.
  • Additional contacts with public officials are for the purpose of information gathering and project definition.
  • Contacts with public officials are usually held in a public meeting forum and may be stressful and/or confrontational due to the subject matter.


  • May serve as Project Lead.
  • May assist in the training and/or supervision of less experienced staff members.


  • Planners are accountable for completing all assigned work in a timely, professional manner.

Working Conditions:

  • Planners generally work in an office with a significant portion of time spent performing duties out-of-doors completing site investigations.
  • Investigations require working on construction sites, rough terrain, in wetlands, and being in the proximity of heavy equipment.
  • Frequent travel and attendance at meetings and conferences, both during regular working hours and in the evening, are required.

The City of Olympia is an Equal Opportunity Employer, committed to a diverse workforce. Women, minorities, and people with disabilities are encouraged to apply.

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