Planner III

Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District

Los Altos, California

Job Type Permanent
Salary Details Annual: 116,130-$145,229
Required Experience 2 - 6 years

Do you have a passion for outdoor recreation and open space? Do you seek an opportunity to work on planning projects that focus on land use, public access improvements and staff facilities?  Midpen has an excellent opportunity for a skilled Planner III who will manage complex planning projects supporting public access and outdoor recreation in Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties.  The ideal candidate will be an organized, creative, and energetic self-starter with excellent communication and project management skills, who enjoys working within a collaborative team dynamic. Top-level candidates are familiar with feasibility studies, public outreach and engagement, design project management, environmental review processes, and local, state, and federal land use laws and permitting processes, including the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), National Historic Preservation Act (NHP), etc.

About Midpen: Midpen helps plants, animals and people thrive throughout the greater Santa Cruz Mountains region by preserving a greenbelt of more than 70,000 acres of public open space with over 250 miles of trails in 27 extraordinary preserves, permanently protected for natural resource conservation and ecologically sensitive public enjoyment and education. Midpen is a public agency with a focused mission that guides our work, and where every employee makes an impact.  If you are looking for an outstanding opportunity to contribute to the legacy of open space protection, natural resource restoration and outdoor recreation, working with an incredible team of like-minded colleagues, we invite you to apply for this position!  Check out the Working for Midpen video on our Employment Opportunities page.

About the Position:  Midpen’s Board approved the addition of two new Planner III positions to the Planning Department.  The Planner III focuses on a wide variety of planning and capital improvement projects that include long-range planning; land use planning; and conceptual site design to increase public access, outdoor recreation, and enjoyment of Midpen’s lands. The Planner III is tasked with performing complex professional level planning, analysis, and design; developing and administering project scopes, schedules and budgets; directing the feasibility and conceptual design phase of capital improvement projects such as trails, staging areas and staff facilities; developing recommendations for land use policies; preparing long-range master plans to guide the use and management of Midpen lands; conducting or overseeing studies to identify and evaluate environmental issues related to public access and natural and cultural resources; conducting public outreach and engagement; preparing requests for proposals; assisting in development of grant applications; preparing and/or assisting in the preparation of environmental review documents; and obtaining planning permits and initial approvals for projects. The Planner III also provides project presentations to senior management, the Board of Directors, and Committees, and at public meetings, that may be held in the evenings and weekends.

The ideal candidate is a self-starter who works independently with some supervision; communicates well and collaborates closely with internal team members from other departments to complete project requirements; works with local jurisdictional agencies to coordinate planning and permitting efforts; directs multidisciplinary teams of consultants; prepares and presents clear and concise oral and written communications to senior staff and management, the Board of Directors and public; keeps projects on schedule and on budget while remaining flexible to adjust priorities as needed; maintains well-organized and complete project documentation; and builds trust with peers, community members, stakeholders, and Midpen leadership. Beneficial skills for this position would include experience using computer-based and/or other systems such as GIS for management and analysis of data regarding Midpen lands, facilities, natural and cultural resources, as well as experience in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and tribal relations.

For additional information about the position, see the Job Description page on Midpen’s website. The position receives direct supervision from a Senior Planner.

A Few Reasons Why You May Love This Job

  • Collaborative work that directly supports Midpen’s mission to protect and restore the natural environment and contributes to providing nature’s benefits to everyone
  • You’ll be part of a talented and dynamic team of bright, energetic, and motivated professionals with a passion for the outdoors, trails, and preserving open space
  • Excellent employee benefits, including medical, dental, vision, tuition reimbursement, and a retirement pension through California Public Employees Retirement System (CalPERS)

Work Environment:  This position is part of the Planning Department at the District’s offices in Los Altos, California.  Planner III project presentations may be held in the evenings and weekends. In addition to working in the office, the Planner III will sometimes work in the field and hike through steep terrain and wildland areas.  Field work will require driving in remote areas on dirt roads, working in temperatures ranging from cold and blustery to hot and dry. Ideal candidates will be comfortable working in these types of field conditions, as well as in an office environment. Midpen offers a hybrid office/telecommute work schedule for this position, which includes a 9/80 schedule.

Education and Experience:  Any combination of training and experience that would provide the required knowledge, skills, and abilities is qualifying. A typical way to obtain the required qualifications would be:  Equivalent to graduation from an accredited four-year college or university with major coursework in urban or regional planning, environmental planning or design, environmental sciences, landscape architecture or a related field, and at least three (3) years of increasingly responsible experience with five (5) years desired in project management (design, planning or environmental review projects), preferably in parks, open space or related field, including at least one (1) year of direct supervisory and administrative responsibility (which can include management of consultant team). 

Licenses & Certifications Required:   Possession of a valid California Driver’s License.

Benefits:   Midpen provides an excellent benefits package including health, life & disability insurance as well as CalPERS pension. Please see the Benefits page on Midpen’s website for details.

How to Apply: apply online at CalOpps.org.

(To avoid missing email communication regarding your status in this recruitment, please add mpropenspace@calopps.org to your contacts or list of safe senders)

This recruitment is open until filled. The first review of applications is March 25, 2024 at 8:00 a.m.  Applicants with the most relevant experience and qualifications suitable for the position will be contacted for an interview.

The following application items are required to be considered*:

  • Fully completed CalOpps employment application
  • Cover letter
  • Resume
  • Supplemental question responses

*Incomplete CalOpps employment applications, or applications without the required application items listed here, will not be considered for the position.

Interview Schedule:   (dates are subject to change)

First Interview (virtual): April 11, 2024

Written Exercise (virtual): April 22, 2024

Second Interview (in person): April 23, 2024

A note to applicants who currently live outside of the San Francisco Bay Area: before committing to the application process, and if you haven’t done so already, we suggest evaluating the feasibility of relocation. We recommend researching the cost of living in the San Francisco Bay Area, the cost to relocate, and typical commute times to Los Altos from outlying areas.

Midpen reserves the right to limit or deny off-duty employment or business ownership which creates a conflict of interest or an incompatibility with District employment. Information can be found in the Personnel Policies and Procedures Manual Section 4.13 Off-Duty Employment and Business Ownership.

At Midpen, we believe open space is for all. Our public lands are shared spaces provided for the community by the community. All people, regardless of background, deserve respect, dignity, safety, and a sense of belonging. Midpen welcomes all people to enjoy the public open space preserves we hold in trust, supporting the mental, physical, and social well-being of our region.

Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District is an Equal Opportunity Employer

Applicants with disabilities may request reasonable accommodation

by contacting the Human Resources department at 650-691-1200.   

Put your passion for Open Space to work!


Apply online at CalOpps.org.

When you apply, please indicate that you are responding to the posting on Conservation Job Board.

Category General / Stewardship
Tags GIS , Permitting , Outreach , Environmental Planning