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Senior Planner II - Allston/Brighton

Boston Planning and Development Agency
Boston, MA
  • Posted: over a month ago
  • $90,000 to $108,000 Yearly
  • Full-Time
Job Description

boston planning & development agency

**BOSTON RESIDENCY IS A CONDITION OF EMPLOYMENT WITHIN 6 MONTHS OF START DATE**


TITLE: SENIOR PLANNER II FOR ALLSTON/BRIGHTON

STATUS: EXEMPT

GRADE: K

DEPARTMENT/DIVISION:    PLANNING/DOWNTOWN & NEIGHBORHOOD PLANNING (PLN/DNP)

The Downtown & Neighborhood Planning Department works with Boston’s communities to create long-term plans that help foster the development of attractive, safe, diverse, and economically thriving places to live, work, and play. Planning efforts engage local residents, businesses, agencies, and institutions in guiding the future character of Boston's unique neighborhoods and districts. Planners explore the issues of land use, housing needs, open space, transportation and multimodal networks, and economic development with community members. The envisioned plans, informed by the community's input, guide future development scenarios and may result in urban design guidelines, master plans, zoning recommendations, and/or other policy changes. 

SUMMARY OF RESPONSIBILITIES:

Under the direction of the Deputy Director for Downtown & Neighborhood Planning and in collaboration with planning team members, the Planner will conduct, manage, and lead multiple planning initiatives in Allston/Brighton and other neighborhood districts. Allston/Brighton is one of Boston’s most dynamic areas, with strong private development interest, higher-education and health care institutions, and forthcoming major investments in transportation infrastructure.

The Planner’s immediate assignment will include a series of planning efforts in Allston-Brighton. In 2023 the Planning Division will launch a needs assessment for Allston/Brighton that will inform a broader planning initiative for both neighborhoods. This process will include substantial community engagement and also include smaller focus area plans in places like the Harvard Enterprise Research Campus to establish a predictable, clear framework for planning staff to review future development.

As is essential to the success of any planning effort, the Planner will engage the community, other constituencies, and public agency departments to solicit input and feedback for planning recommendations. This includes maintaining community relationships and answering constituents’ planning and zoning queries. Additionally, in concert with current planning objectives, the Planner will provide a planning perspective to the BPDA Development Review Department on projects undergoing the Article 80 process.

GENERAL DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES:

The general duties and responsibilities of the position are included in but not limited to the information listed below.  The Planner will receive multiple planning assignments based on their workload.

Planning Initiatives

The Senior Planner II’s primary responsibility will be to oversee and lead multiple planning initiatives for the Allston/Brighton neighborhoods under the direction of the Deputy Director for Downtown & Neighborhood Planning. The Planner’s immediate assignment will include overseeing a comprehensive neighborhood plan for Allston/Brighton.

Allston/Brighton has experienced a high concentration of both development pressure and planning efforts over the past 15 years. Studies such as the Guest Street Planning Study, the North Allston Strategic Plan, and the ongoing Western Avenue Corridor Study and Rezoning looked at specific areas of Allston at a high level of detail to guide future development. The Planning Division will now look holistically at Allston/Brighton to determine what planning outcomes should drive the future of the neighborhood. In 2023 the Planning Division will launch a needs assessment for Allston/Brighton that will inform a broader planning initiative for the neighborhoods. This process will include substantial community engagement and also include smaller focus area plans in places like the Harvard Enterprise Research Campus so that there is a predictable, expected framework for planning staff to review future development.

Job responsibilities for this and future planning initiatives include:

  • Conduct, manage, and develop or direct a team in completing existing condition studies, precedent analyses, policy options, and planning and urban design scenarios appropriate for each planning initiative.
  • Prepare or oversee the generation of draft planning recommendations and urban design guidelines per planning initiative assignment.
  • Coordinate planning initiative progress with ongoing planning work within other BPDA and City departments at appropriate intervals.
  • Establish effective working relationships with neighborhood and community groups and organizations. Maintain current knowledge of neighborhood issues, concerns, goals and opportunities. 
  • Design and develop neighborhood-specific community engagement strategies for a diverse group of internal and external stakeholders at appropriate intervals to inform each planning initiative.
  • Lead evening and daytime public meetings and guide the creation of supporting materials for specific initiatives.
  • Analyze submitted reports and planning documents by public agencies, advocacy groups, and other involved parties.
  • Manage consultant selection team and subsequent consultant work and budgets for neighborhood planning initiatives. This includes overseeing pre-planning activities such as drafting Requests for Proposals (RFPs) for consultant services.
  • Oversee consultant contract services per planning initiative.
  • Prepare draft zoning recommendations and evaluate the impact of proposed zoning changes for consideration by the Boston Zoning Commission.

Zoning Amendment

As a followup to ongoing planning initiatives:

  • Provide technical assistance in developing and preparing neighborhood rezoning documents to be submitted to the Zoning Commission for approval.
  • Coordinate and create presentation material to explain zoning recommendations to the Zoning Commission.
  • Work with community advisory groups in preparation of new zoning. Assist in achieving consensus and resolving issues prior to presenting to the Boston Zoning Commission. 

Article 80 Development Review

Review development proposals to ensure consistency with zoning and planning studies.

  • Contribute written feedback from a planning perspective to project proponents in the form of a scoping determination letter. As assigned, consolidate all written team feedback within the Planning Division for scoping determination letters. Teams may include BPDA Urban Designers, Transportation & Infrastructure Planners, and Climate & Resiliency Planners.
  • Communicate community priorities during discussions on project mitigation and community benefits.
  • Provide regular updates to the Deputy Director for Downtown & Neighborhood Planning and other members of Planning Division leadership on planning issues pertaining to Article 80 development review.

General

  • Respond to public questions, needs, or concerns promptly and accurately.
  • Prepare and participate in presentations at community meetings and neighborhood advisory groups. 
  • Research, formulate, and draft staff recommendations for the Zoning Board of Appeal regarding zoning appeal cases and zoning variances based on pertinent planning issues. Solicit information from the appellant, abutters, and other members of the community to inform recommendations. Maintain and update all relevant documentation and databases.
  • Support the Planning Division by attending meetings and events as assigned.
  • Provide regular updates on workflow and progress on assigned projects to the Deputy Director for Downtown & Neighborhood Planning.
  • Prepare briefings for senior Agency staff or City officials.
  • Participate in planning studies completed by other BPDA and City Departments as assigned.
  • Neighborhood assignments periodically change over time based on workload, staff member’s professional development interests, and staffing changes.
  • Perform other related duties as required.

QUALIFICATIONS:

Work requires the completion of a Master’s Degree in Urban Planning or a closely related field with a minimum of 8 years of experience as a planner or equivalent related experience. Candidates holding a Bachelor’s Degree in Urban Studies or a closely related field with a minimum of 10 years of experience as a planner may also apply. Prior experience conducting and managing a planning process is required. Proficiency in drafting and reviewing development and urban design scenarios is highly desirable. Familiarity with working within both neighborhood and downtown/business district contexts is desirable. Work requires the ability to solve urban design and zoning problems, to analyze and interpret planning issues, to communicate clearly in written, verbal, and graphic form, and to operate effectively as part of an interdisciplinary team. Strong written and verbal communication and project management skills are an essential requirement; strong computer graphic skills are desired. Full command of Microsoft Office programs is required. Proficiency in Adobe Creative Suite, PowerPoint, and Geographic Informational Systems (GIS) to design and assemble graphically compelling (clear) presentations and reports is highly desirable. 

APPLICATION REQUIREMENTS:

All planners receive multiple planning assignments based on their workload. The Downtown & Neighborhood Planning Department has multiple planning assignments advertised through other job postings. Applicants applying to one advertised position can be considered for multiple vacant planning assignments based on their professional interests and qualifications.

Applicants are required to submit one work sample that illustrates strong graphic and written communication skills or one graphic work sample and one written work sample. Work samples should be combined as a single PDF with the applicant's cover letter.

WORK ENVIRONMENT: Normal office environment; occasional site visits.

PHYSICAL REQUIREMENTS: Little or no exertion; occasional local travel.

SCOPE: Not applicable.

**BOSTON RESIDENCY IS A CONDITION OF EMPLOYMENT WITHIN 6 MONTHS OF START DATE**

Boston Planning and Development Agency

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Boston, MA
02201 USA

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Manufacturing

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