The Urban Designer is a member of the Community Development team and assists the Community Development Director in all areas of planning and urban design for the City of Chaska. This position has a strong focus on long range planning, special project planning and design, site area design, and public engagement processes and methods. This position demonstrates curiosity about the built environment, collaborates with interdisciplinary teams, and demonstrates a passion for the role the physical environment plays in the life of a community. The position provides staff support to the City Council, Planning Commission, and Heritage Preservation Commission as needed. This position also provides backup to the City Planner for development application processing and review.
1. Apply urban design skills and knowledge of the fundamentals of city planning and town design to help advance and advocate for well-designed projects that may be led by the City, private developers, or partner agencies.
2. Responsible for coordinating, preparing, and administering the City’s Comprehensive Plan. Researches, drafts, and implements comprehensive plan updates and amendments.
3. Assists the public in person, in meetings, on the phone, and through email and other written correspondence and reports related to long-range planning, area studies, development and other related matters.
4. Coordinates with the Community Development Director and Planner on development and redevelopment projects and other initiatives with Community Development, Engineering, Administration and other Departments to advance City goals and priorities.
5. Plans and facilitates engagement and workshops with the public, other departments, public advisory committees, and other entities in development of master plans through group facilitation, public meetings, work sessions, and design charettes.
6. Conducts research and analysis to develop recommendations and supporting information relative to advancing long-range planning, site design approaches, area plans, and policy and ordinance development.
7. Develops and maintains GIS and demographic data and applications necessary to support department and organizational functions.
8. Assists in the preparation of grant applications and implements programs that are generated by grants.
9. In a support role to the City Planner, guides applicants through the planning, land-use and zoning application process; reviews and evaluates planning and zoning applications for compliance with the zoning ordinance, city code and comprehensive plan; reviews, evaluates, and approves building development plans for compliance with conditions of approval and ordinance requirements.
10. Provides staff support to the cross-department development review committee to advise the application of urban design principles and concepts to apply to development proposals.
11. Supervises, trains and coaches summer intern; participates in and recommends actions associated with employee hiring, termination, corrective actions, and performance appraisals.
12. Performs all other related duties as requested or assigned.
Education and Experience
- Bachelor’s degree in Urban Design, Landscape Architecture, Architecture, Planning, or related field and three years of relevant experience, OR
- Master’s degree in Urban Design, Landscape Architecture, Architecture, Planning, or related field and one year of relevant experience
- American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) certification or willingness to obtain.
Other Required Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities
- Knowledge of state and federal laws relating to planning and community development
- Knowledge of City ordinances, policies, and procedures as they relate to land use planning and development regulations
- Advanced knowledge of principles, practices and techniques of urban planning and design
- Ability to communicate graphically through digital and traditional pen and ink media
- Interpersonal skills for facilitating relationships with elected/appointed officials or other decision-makers
- Group facilitation skills for use with community workshops and public engagement
- Knowledge of public participation principles to promote inclusion of diverse populations
- Knowledge of negotiation principles with the public, developers, and other partners
- Knowledge and experience in construction process
- Strong attention to detail
- Proven analytical skills
- Microsoft Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint; GIS; Adobe Creative Suite, Sketchup, and other applicable software
- Solid verbal and written communication skills; ability to speak a second language, in addition to English that has a recognized presence in the community (Spanish, Somali) (Preferred)
Equipment, Mental & Physical Demands
- Computer, office machines
- Significant contact with the public
- Coordination of development review process with various City departments and public entities
- Interpretation of complex legal concepts
- Ability to synthesize multiple sources of information
- Ability to navigate competing interests
- High level of creative thinking and problem solving
- Sitting/standing at office desk for much of the workday
- Visiting construction sites and undeveloped properties with uneven terrain
- Office environment
- Driving to and from project sites; occasional out of town travel
- Exposure to construction zones and undeveloped properties with uneven terrain