Land Use Division Director


Date Posted



Urban Planning July 10, 2018 City of Seattle Seattle, WA, USA

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Position Description

The Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections (SDCI) is seeking an experienced leader and director for its Land Use Division. The Land Use Division Director is an integral part of the six-member SDCI Executive team, reports to the SDCI Director, and provides leadership, collaborative intelligence, and strategic direction to approximately 90 employees in the Land Use Division.

As more people move to Seattle and new buildings are being constructed to keep pace with our economic and population growth, our City faces a range of new challenges, requirements, and responsibilities.  SDCI’s Land Use Division strives to improve and protect the quality of life for residents, employees, and visitors by implementing the city’s growth policies and regulations through the development permitting processes.

The Division’s key responsibilities include Master Use Permit and land use plan review, and coaching for compliance with:  Seattle’s Land Use Code, Environmental Review (SEPA), Design Review, Administrative and Council Conditional Uses, Variances, Platting Actions, Contract Rezones, and Green Permitting (Incentive programs to encourage Sustainable Design in new development).  The Division also works with SDCI’s Code Development team to review and develop new and updated land use and environmental codes.

The Division Director promotes an equitable work environment that allows employees to thrive by understanding how racial outcomes impact the individual employee and the community members we serve.

It is essential that the Division Director has a solid understanding of the delicate balance between development principles and essential community involvement; finding common ground and avenues to move projects forward through excellent customer service.

Strong analytical skills, good judgment, and adaptability are must haves for leading this division as well as a thorough knowledge of land use regulations with a desire to encourage, mentor, and teach others. Given the volume and pace of the work, delegating work strategically, eliminating barriers, and finding innovative ways and tools to support staff efficiency and teamwork are essential focuses for the Division Director, as is actively listening to staff expertise when determining and communicating priorities.  Accountability, a positive work ethic, respect and customer focus are behaviors this leader is expected to model.
Job Responsibilities

  • Center the Race and Social Justice Initiative (RSJI) principles into the work performed by the Division
  • Represent the Department and the city in public venues to explain the work of the land use division or the Department, as requested and appropriate
  • Develop and update a Division workplan to ensure that citywide and departmental initiatives are implemented
  • Encourage, support, and sponsor process improvements that are needed to ensure an effective system for performing the daily work of the Division/Department
  • Oversee an annual Division budget of approximately $20 million, and participate in development and refinement of the annual Department budget
  • Ensure that new codes and regulations are being reviewed and developed to create consistent code language that can be reasonably implemented
  • Respond to inquiries and complaints from applicants or the public, regarding development permitting
  • Ensure that training is developed and delivered to staff in a consistent and timely way
  • Select and hire Land Use Division managers, and advise managers and supervisors on hiring goals and practices
  • Ensure that managers and supervisors have adequate reporting to monitor workstreams to confirm that work is being performed consistent with expectations
  • Work collaboratively with the other SDCI Divisions (Administration, Inspection Services, Code Compliance, Director’s Office, Engineering Services)


Desired Qualifications:

  • A nimble and collaborative systems-thinker
  • 15 years in a regulatory agency focused on development permitting
  • 10 years in a regulatory agency reviewing projects and developing, implementing, and/or enforcing regulations that apply to land use and the construction of buildings.
  • Experience directing with a racial equity framework including an awareness of how racial bias impacts staff of color
  • Experience in long range planning valued
  • Experience working with Design Review
  • Ability to navigate the relationships between Seattle’s complex codes, the public, design professionals, builders and developers, attorneys, and city staff
  • Leadership experience such as supervising staff, project management, facilitating interdisciplinary teams, representing groups or teams in complex negotiations
  • Experience/interest in developing and refining land use regulations
  • Deep understanding of the interaction between long range planning, building, land use, and zoning codes

Additional Information

The Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections is a proud participant in the Race and Social Justice Initiative, a citywide effort to realize the vision of racial equity.

We require a strong commitment to customer service and a demonstrated ability to work effectively with individuals from diverse communities and cultures.  The City of Seattle values diverse perspectives and life experiences; people of color, women, LGBTQ, people with disabilities, and veterans are encouraged to apply.