Planning Director - Town of Chapel Hill, NC

Town of Chapel Hill, NC

Are you a change agent? Do you believe that planning and community go hand in hand? Chapel Hill is seeking a unique individual who is interested in creating win-win solutions for community goals, changing the narrative of stereotypes about how municipal planning, communities and developers work together, and doing so by leveraging, mentoring, and motivating a young and talented staff.

The Town of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, seeks a proactive and creative collaborator to be our next Planning Director. The Director will lead a team of competent and dedicated staff in responding to the community vision around growing a connected community. With an organizational culture of collaboration and teams, the Town of Chapel Hill is committed to community engagement and the Planning department plays a critical role in working with a diverse and participatory community, regional partners, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and the Town Council to achieve strategic goals.

About the Department and Position:
With a budget over $2M and 15.5 FTE employees, the Planning Department is committed to collaborative leadership to create and implement policies, plans, and programs that reflect Chapel Hill values as an equitable, livable, and sustainable town today and in the future. With three divisions: Current Development, Long Range Planning, and Transportation Planning, the Department is responsible for promoting a strong community and vital public realm, preserving, and enhancing Chapel Hill’s diverse neighborhoods, fostering quality environments, involving stakeholders in planning for the Town’s future, and helping the Town’s government administer its programs and operations consistent with the community’s vision for a sustainable future.

Reporting to the Town Manager, the Planning Director oversees and directs long-range planning, transportation planning, historic preservation, and current development functions for the Town. This is an advanced professional, administrative and leadership position. The position is responsible for leading and directing the Planning staff in coordination with other Town Departments. The Planning Director, who appears before the Town Council, advisory boards and commissions, and public groups, represents the Manager’s interests and assists the Manager in fulfilling the mission of the department.

The next Planning Director will join a town that is passionate about planning and development as evidenced by various exciting initiatives including:
• Complete Community Framework: The Town is collaborating with an internationally known consultant to build consensus around a new approach to housing that clarifies where and how we build to be inclusive, sustainable, and an economically competitive community. The new Planning Director will work closely with the Economic Development team, the consultant, the Council, and the community as we implement this framework.
• Charting our Future – Land Use Management Ordinance Rewrite Project: After adoption of a new Future Land Use Map in December 2020, we have embarked on the next phase of this project: to update our Transit Oriented Development (TOD) plan and Land Use Management Ordinance. Our Planning staff is working in partnership with other Town Departments including Transit, Economic Development, and Affordable Housing and Community Connections, and internationally renowned consultants to achieve the project goals of creating vibrant, walkable places within identified growth areas across Chapel Hill. These areas will provide homes, services, jobs, attract riders to transit, link to surrounding neighborhoods, and connect public and private sectors to achieve a sustained implementation of our Complete Community framework.
• Housing Choices for a Complete Community Text Amendments: Affordable Housing has been a priority of the Town for decades. Our next Planning Director will lead the team as they develop key amendments to our Land Use Management Ordinance to improve housing access in the community. Developed in partnership with the Town’s Affordable Housing and Community Connections team, the amendments will shorten the approval time for affordable housing projects and hope to encourage gentle density by allowing small-scale residential developments up to four units in most zoning districts.
Among key priorities, the next Planning Director will prioritize realigning the Current Development function in line with the Complete Community Strategy currently under development while also sustaining success. Additionally, the Planning Director will scale-up the Transportation Planning function and support the continued start-up of the Long-Range Planning function.

Qualified candidates will have any combination of education and experience equivalent to graduation from an accredited college or university with a Master’s degree in urban planning, architecture, public administration, business administration or closely related field; at least 3 years of supervisory experience; extensive progressive responsibility with managerial experience in urban planning; or any equivalent combination of acceptable education and experience which provides applicable knowledge, abilities, and skills.

Salary and Benefits: The hiring range is $126,000 - $145,000. Base salary and compensation are negotiable based on experience and qualifications. The Town’s excellent benefits package can be viewed here.

To apply, please visit and click on the Planning Director – Town of Chapel Hill, NC title. To learn more about the selection process, visit, select “Client Openings” and scroll down to “Important Information for Applicants.” All applications must be submitted online via the Developmental Associates application portal – NOT the Town Employment Application portal, nor any other external website; it is not sufficient to send only a resume. Resumes and cover letters must be uploaded with the application. Applicants are encouraged to apply by December 11, 2022. Successful semi-finalists will be invited to participate in virtual interviews and skill evaluation on January 5 - 6, 2022. Candidates are encouraged to reserve these dates for virtual meetings should they be invited to participate. All inquiries should be emailed to The Town of Chapel Hill is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

The recruitment and selection process are being managed by Developmental Associates, LLC.

How to Apply

Job Details

Job Function
Planning Director

Town of Chapel Hill


405 Martin Luther King Jr Blvd
Chapel Hill, NC 27514-5705
United States

Form of Government


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