Deputy Director for Planning – City of Harrisburg

Deadline: August 23, 2024

Deputy Director for Planning
Department of Engineering and Development
Bureau of Planning


Responsible for directing and administering the City’s Zoning Code and the Subdivision and Land Development Ordinance. This individual is responsible for the application of specialized knowledge in the formulation, implementation, and improvement of neighborhood and topical plans for the community’s physical and social development. This official acts as technical advisor and the Executive Secretary to the Planning Commission and the Zoning Hearing Board. On matters relating to zoning, planning, and development, the Deputy Director for Planning acts as technical advisor to the Mayor, City Council, and City Officials. This position assists the Planning Director with supervision of a professional planning and support staff which gathers and evaluates social, economic, and physical environment data. From this data, the Deputy Director helps to develop and professionally defend sound planning recommendations and policies which control the direction of planning studies and research prescribed by either the Planning Commission, City Council, the Director of Planning, the City Engineer, or the Mayor. The Deputy Director will assist the City Engineer in development of planning policies. Advocates the City’s position in County and Regional planning activities. Work is performed under the direct supervision of the Director of Planning. May serve as Acting Director. This is a management, FLSA-exempt position.

Job Location/Equipment

Work is primarily performed at the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., City Government Center; attendance at off-site meetings may be required. Work involves the use of personal computer and peripheral equipment, scanning/photocopying/printing equipment, cameras, fax machine, and telephone. Software primarily includes Microsoft office, GIS, Internet applications, and records storage and organizational programs.  Duties are typically performed weekdays from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.; however, field work, evening and weekend hours and periodic travel to conferences and meetings may be required.

Essential Functions

Work involves, but is not limited to, the following: review of Land Development Plans, Variance and Special Exception applications, subdivisions and lot consolidations, street vacations, Zoning Code/Map Amendments, and zoning appeals; review of Building Permit and Mercantile Permit applications; review Zoning Code and Subdivision and Land Development regulations and recommend changes required to achieve improved overall planning and to conform to code requirements; coordinate plan review by all appropriate City officials to facilitate a comprehensive, coordinated permitting and approval process.  Advises and cooperates with municipal officials, major developers, and community organizations in connection with new or contemplated major real estate projects and coordinates construction projects with the long-range capital improvements program; negotiates and settles disputes on major planning and zoning problems.

The position is also responsible for managing development projects throughout the construction phase to ensure that projects are compliant with planning regulations and conditions agreed to during Planning Commission, Zoning Hearing Board, or City Council reviews. This position will help direct and review staff studies required by the Mayor, the City Engineer, the Planning Director, the Planning Commission, and City Council. Directly responsible for preparation of the zoning ordinance and maps including revisions. Holds public meetings and hearings as required. Facilitates citizen participation in the planning process. Represents the Planning Commission and/or the administration at Public Meetings and at conferences with other public and private groups. Maintains legal documentation of all planning actions taken by the City and fulfills the duties and obligations imposed by the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code, Act 247, as amended. This position will also assist in developing grant proposals for planning and development efforts.  

This position is expected to maintain regular, punctual, and predictable attendance.  Reports to work and remains at work in a productive condition, which includes not being under the influence or impaired by the use of alcohol and/or drugs. Establishes and maintains an effective working relationship with supervisors, co-workers, and the general public. Completes all assignments in an efficient, consistent, and timely manner.

Non-Essential Functions

Performs other related duties as necessary or required.

Required Knowledge & Abilities

  • Advanced knowledge of the philosophies, principles, practices, and techniques of planning.
  • Well-developed knowledge of planning specialization in zoning, land use, and/or community and/or economic development.
  • Strong ability to adopt the organizational structure of the department into their work product and project management.
  • Knowledge of public financing.
  • Advanced knowledge of real estate development.
  • Well-developed knowledge of GIS, especially an ESRI-based system.
  • Ability to plan, supervise, and perform technical research and analysis, and prepare policy recommendations and effective technical reports.
  • Demonstrated ability to evaluate the feasibility of plan alternatives in relation to trends, cost, social pressures, and needs. 
  • Ability to accurately and easily communicate in oral and written forms; writing ability should be above average or better.
  • Ability to develop and maintain effective working relationships with employees, officials, other agencies, other jurisdictions, community organizations, and the general public.
  • Ability to analyze and exercise sound judgment in making recommendations for action. 
  • Demonstrated ability to present technical information clearly and in an interesting manner to lay groups and the general public.
  • Thorough knowledge of the principles and practices of engineering and physical design as generally related to urban planning.
  • Demonstrated knowledge of the local community and of local government procedures and practices.
  • Knowledge of creative and detailed-oriented approaches to highly-visible/ controversial projects.
  • Knowledge of the principles and practices of personnel supervision, training, and management.


Possession of a master’s degree, preferably in Urban/Regional Planning or a related field, plus at least two years of experience in an urban planning field; or a bachelor’s degree in Urban/Regional Planning plus at least four years of experience in an urban planning field; or any combination of education and experience commensurate with the above-mentioned qualifications. Specialized knowledge in economic development and one or more planning areas such as transportation, urban design, economic development, environment, or community engagement is a plus. Previous experience in a municipal planning office is preferred. Previous supervisory experience is desirable. Membership in the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) is desirable. Valid Pennsylvania Driver’s License, Class C, or equivalent.

How to Apply