Director of Planning and Zoning

Town of Leesburg, VA | Full-time

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The Position

The Town of Leesburg is seeking a professional, collaborative leader to lead its Planning and Zoning Department. The next Director of Planning and Zoning has the opportunity to work in a thriving, historic town that is well-managed and provides excellent services to the community.

The Director of Planning and Zoning provides leadership and direction to an integrated team of professionals in the Department of Planning and Zoning with responsibility for a full range of services through four major operating functions: Administration, Application Review, Comprehensive Planning, and Zoning. The Director has five direct reports, which include the Deputy Director, the Senior Planning Project Manager, the Preservation Planner, the Planning and Zoning Analyst, and the Executive Associate.

The Director is responsible for working collaboratively with local, regional, and state agencies, as needed. The Director works very closely with the Town Manager on developing and reviewing all work activities to ensure efficient and safe operations and conformance with established state and federal laws, regulations, and policies. The Planning and Zoning Department is responsible for all updates to the Town Plan, administration of the Town's Zoning Ordinance, the issuance of zoning permits, the review of land-use applications, including rezoning and special exceptions, and the review and approval of changes in the Old and Historic District including Certificates of Appropriateness. The Director advises on strategies to implement the Town Plan and Zoning Ordinance. This includes close work with Economic Development and the Town Manager to help with business development and retention and the enhancement of residential neighborhoods. The Director works within the Department to create work plans, set administrative policies, goals and objectives, and manage priorities.

The Director of Planning and Zoning reports directly to the Town Manager and works closely with the Planning Commission, Board of Architectural Review, Board of Zoning Appeals, Environmental Advisory Commission, and Town Council.

Priorities

  • Complete the Town Plan (Comprehensive Plan) approval process and begin implementation of the approved plan
  • Update the Zoning Ordinance to reflect the priorities of the Town Plan
  • Work with IT and other staff on the implementation of a new land management information system (LMIS)

The Successful Candidate

The next Planning and Zoning Director is an approachable, highly competent leader who is collaborative and fosters learning and leadership at all levels. The ideal candidate will understand the complexities of local government as it pertains to the Town’s comprehensive planning and complex development review efforts. The ideal candidate also must have a passion for preserving the historical identity of the Town.

The next Director will be fully committed to progressive and strategic management practices, can manage multiple projects at the same time, and will help staff prioritize to achieve both day-to-day and long-term objectives. The Director will understand the importance of developing a talented staff, providing development and cross-training opportunities, and be able to lead in a hybrid environment, where employees are both in the office and working remotely.

The successful candidate has advanced knowledge of theories, principles, and practices of urban planning, zoning, and community development, as well as the applicable federal, state, and local laws related to such planning, zoning, and community development. Experience with the creation of affordable housing would be an advantage in coordination with the Loudoun County.

The next Director will be firm with thick skin, able to withstand criticism, and find consensus in contentious issues. The Director will have high integrity and flexibility when needed. The successful candidate will have demonstrated exceptional customer service and be comfortable and confident in a community with well-educated residents, businesses, and applicants who have high expectations.

The ideal Planning and Zoning Director will delegate work appropriately, continuously assess the performance of department staff, and work with all staff to create goals and professional development plans that support the Town’s overall goals. The Director will strive to continuously improve its service through technology and other process changes.

Qualifications

Minimum requirements include any combination of education and experience equivalent to a bachelor’s degree in planning or a closely related field in addition to ten (10) years of progressively responsible land use and management experience.

Preferred qualifications include experience with historic districts, revising zoning codes, redevelopment in a high-growth environment, and knowledge of Virginia’s unique land-use laws and proffer system. A master’s degree, AICP certification, and bilingual skills (English and Spanish) are also preferred.

Inside The Department of Planning and Zoning

The Department of Planning and Zoning aims to facilitate the development of a high quality of life for all Leesburg residents through continual community development, stewardship of the natural environment, and preservation of historic resources. The Department provides both current and long-term planning and zoning services. Building inspections are performed by Loudoun County, and the two entities work closely together.

The Department of Planning and Zoning has 14 full-time staff members, and the Department’s Fiscal Year 2022 total adopted expenditure budget is $2.1 Million. The Department works closely with an appointed Planning Commission, Board of Architectural Review, the Board of Zoning Appeals, and the Environmental Advisory Commission.

The Community

The Town of Leesburg is the County seat for Loudoun County and is located at the crossroads of U.S. Route 15 and U.S. Route 7. The Town borders the Potomac River to the northeast and the Catoctin Mountain to the west. Washington D.C. is just 35 miles east and is easily accessed via the Dulles Greenway and Route 7. With a robust regional economy drawing in new businesses, government jobs, and residents alike, Leesburg hosts a diverse, flourishing community that prides itself on its historic downtown, community-based policing program, award-winning parks and recreation facilities, special events, arts and entertainment venues, history and genealogical library, and a commitment to customer service that makes this Town an ideal home for families, young professionals, retirees, and anyone in between. By combining nature and a peaceful, small-town life with big-city access, there is never a shortage of things to do.

Leesburg was established in 1758, and its history provides a unique sense of identity and community among its residents. Many of the Town’s original structures and homes are still standing, along with the downtown street grid laid out in 1758. The Old and Historic District forms the basis of Leesburg’s authentic character and identity. Many businesses in the thriving downtown have adaptively reused older structures to serve as restaurants, breweries, and boutique shops.

This sense of Town identity is furthered by the accessibility of Leesburg’s scenic natural surroundings. The W&OD Trail, a 45-mile multi-use converted railbed, runs through the heart of Leesburg, attracting a variety of hikers, joggers, cyclists, and horseback riders. Ball’s Bluff Regional Park is located within the town limits, providing access to the Potomac River, and the Blue Ridge Mountains and Shenandoah Valley are just to the west. The natural environment and outdoor recreation are essential to the Town’s exceptional quality of life.

There is a strong residential component to the Town, as well, following the mid-century planning model of the suburban environment. In recent years, there has been a shift in this building model, with a renewed interest in higher density, more urban style infill development projects in the historic downtown. These projects have been highly successful, and more are anticipated. With greenfield land in short supply, the development community has shifted its focus to the redevelopment of existing sites that will add new vibrancy and density to the Town.

Leesburg is served by the highly ranked Loudoun County Public Schools, with three high schools, three middle schools, and eight elementary schools located within town limits. The County’s location in the Washington, D.C. Metro Area also places it in close proximity to a variety of higher education institutions, including Georgetown University, George Washington University, George Mason University, and Howard University.

Washington Dulles International Airport is just 15 miles from Leesburg. The town-owned and operated Leesburg Executive Airport is the second busiest general aviation airport in Virginia and provides private business jets with a less congested alternative to Dulles Airport, including customs clearance for international flights. Public transit is provided for the community by Loudoun County, which operates fixed-route local bus service within Leesburg and a commuter bus service from park & ride lots in Loudoun County (including the Leesburg Park & Ride on Sycolin Road) to West Falls Church, Rosslyn, the Pentagon, and Washington D.C.

Quick Facts

  • Population: 48,250 (2020 U.S. Census)
  • Median Household Income: $114,444 (2019 American Community Survey Five-Year Estimates)
  • Median Home Value: $454,020 (Loudoun County Assessor’s Office, 2021)
  • Median Age: 35.2 (2019 American Community Survey Five-Year Estimates)

Compensation and Benefits

The expected hiring range is $150,000 – $180,000, depending on qualifications, with an excellent benefits package.

How to Apply

Applications will be accepted electronically by Raftelis. Applicants complete a brief online form and are prompted to provide a cover letter and resume. Applications will be accepted through February 14, 2021.

Questions

Please direct questions to Catherine Tuck Parrish at ctuckparrish@raftelis.com and Kelsey Batt at kbatt@raftelis.com.

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