5278 Planner II

Recruitment #PBT-5278-063771


This is a Position Based Test conducted in accordance with Civil Service Rule 111A.



The San Francisco Planning Department plays a central role in guiding the growth and development in our City.  The Department works with other City agencies and the community to help achieve great planning for a great city. 


Our mission, under the direction of the Planning Commission, shapes the future of San Francisco and region by:  generating an extraordinary vision for the General Plan and in neighborhood plans; fostering exemplary design through planning controls; improving our surroundings through environmental analysis; preserving our unique heritage; encouraging a broad range of housing and a diverse job base; and enforcing the Planning Code. 


The Department serves a broad range of constituents, including the citizens of San Francisco, community organizations, elected and appointed policymakers, builders, architects, property owners, tenants, and advocacy groups.  All rely on the City's General Plan and the Planning Code to achieve the City's development goals.


This is an opportunity to work in a dynamic, inter-disciplinary, and innovative department and share in our vision to make San Francisco the worlds’ most livable urban place – environmentally, economically, socially and culturally.


Position Description

Under general supervision the 5278 Planner II, performs difficult city planning work and participates in all phases of city planning; assists in the preparation of planning, research, surveys and projects; conducts investigations, collects and analyzes data on zoning, subdivision design, urban renewal, rapid transit and other land use problems; assists in the conduct of environmental impact reviews; assists in the preparation of written and graphic reports; may supervise subordinate survey, clerical and office personnel; and performs related duties as required.


Essential duties include, but are not limited to:

  • Performs more progressively complex reviews of building permits, variances and use permit applications; reviews of discretionary review, subdivision applications and other miscellaneous permits referred from other departments and the general public by checking plans and reviewing the applications for conformity to the General Plan and the Planning Code (Zoning Ordinances); records appropriate data and prepares recommendations for department or Commission action;

  • Investigates alleged violations of the Planning Code and conditions of permit approval and follows established enforcement procedures to correct the violations;

  • Presents information orally and in writing to city agencies, commissions, property owners, developers, community organizations and the general public by answering questions, providing assistance, responding to complaints and explaining policies; presenting reports and draft plans;

  • Conducts site and field inspections of land use, economic activities, transportation systems, buildings and streets; and conducts surveys and interviews to obtain data required for planning, zoning and environmental review;

  • Prepares computer based and hard copy graphic materials: land use maps, zoning maps, drawings, diagrams, graphs, charts, photographs, video and other display materials related to analysis and reports;

  • Conducts more progressively complex research studies and assists in formulating recommendations by collecting, recording, organizing and analyzing technical physical, economic, social and statistical data;

  • Assists in the preparation, revision and performing of updates of the General Plan and Planning Code and other governmental regulatory codes;

  • Analyzes visual and quantitative data including maps, charts, models, sketches and graphs to illustrate planning, development, or environmental concepts;

  • Designs and prepares citywide and neighborhood scale plans including transportation, land use, open space, and streetscape plans using principles of urban design, transportation planning and community planning, and placemaking; communicates at various scales with maps, sketches, plans, and diagrams;

  • Provides, at the Planning Information Center (PIC), general and specific planning information in a professional and courteous manner regarding land-use designations, and Planning Code requirements, distribute documents and applications, perform intake of plans and application submittals, and approve some application and plans for over-the-counter permits.  The function also includes, but is not limited to assisting the public with the public computers, and referring them to other agencies or departments for answers, if needed;

  • Performs environmental review for project of small to moderate complexity, consistent with the requirements of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and local regulations and procedures.  Tasks and skills include application of judgment regarding potential environmental impacts, coordination with technical experts on the relevant topics of environmental review, and preparation of written environmental determinations consolidating relevant information.  Communicate with project sponsors, members of the public, and interested stakeholders regarding environmental review would be required;

  • Performs other duties as assigned.

Incumbents in this job code may be required to attend meetings or participate in work-related activities outside of normal working hours (evenings and weekends) in various community locations. Some positions may require possession of a valid driver license, or may require specialized experience in order to perform department specific planning duties. 


The eligible list resulting from this testing process may be used by other City departments with vacancies in class 5278 Planner II.

Minimum Qualifications

Possession of a baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university AND two (2) years (4,000 hours) verifiable full-time-equivalent experience in city, regional, urban or transportation planning, urban design, historic preservation, architectural or environmental review or other related field;




Possession of a baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university in City, Regional, or Urban Planning, or a closely related field such as Architecture, Landscape Architecture, Geography, Urban Studies, Public Administration, Physical Sciences, Historic Preservation, or Environmental Studies AND one (1) year (2,000 hours) verifiable full-time-equivalent experience in city, regional, urban or transportation planning, urban design, historic preservation, architectural or environmental review or other related field;




Possession of a Master's degree from an accredited college or university in City, Regional, or Urban Planning, or a closely related field such as Architecture, Landscape Architecture, Geography, Urban Studies, or Environmental Studies.

How To Apply

Applications for City and County of San Francisco jobs are being accepted through an online process.


  • Click on "Apply" below.

  • Follow instructions given on the screen.


Computer kiosks are available for the public (from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday) to file online applications in the lobby of the Dept. of Human Resources at 1 South Van Ness Avenue, 4th Floor, San Francisco.


Applicants may be contacted by email about this announcement and, therefore, it is their responsibility to ensure that their registered email address is accurate and kept up-to-date. Also, applicants must ensure that email from CCSF is not blocked on their computer by a spam filter. To prevent blocking, applicants should set up their email to accept CCSF mail from the following addresses (@sfgov.org, @sfdpw.org, @sfport.com, @flysfo.com, @sfwater.org, @sfdph.org, @asianart.org, @sfmta.com).


Applicants will receive a confirmation email that their online application has been received in response to every announcement for which they file. Applicants should retain this confirmation email for their records. Failure to receive this email means that the online application was not submitted or received.


All work experience, education, training and other information substantiating how you meet the minimum qualifications must be included on your application by the filing deadline. Information submitted after the filing deadline will not be considered in determining whether you meet the minimum qualifications.


Applications completed improperly may be cause for ineligibility, disqualification or may lead to lower scores.


If you have any questions regarding this recruitment or application process, please contact the exam analyst, Michael Eng, by telephone at (415) 575-9143 or by email at Michael.Eng@sfgov.org.


Resumes may be attached to the application; however, resumes will not be accepted in lieu of a completed City and County of San Francisco application.



Applicants may be required to submit verification of qualifying education and experience at any point in the application, examination and/or departmental selection process.  If education verification is required, information on how to verify education requirements, including verifying foreign education credits or degree equivalency, can be found at http://sfdhr.org/index.aspx?page=456.  Failure to provide the required verification when requested may result in rejection of application and/or removal from eligibility for referral and appointment in this class.  Verification may be waived if impossible to obtain. The applicant must submit a signed statement explaining why verification cannot be obtained. Waiver requests will be considered on a case-by-case basis.


Note: Falsifying one’s education, training, or work experience or attempted deception on the application may result in disqualification for this and future job opportunities with the City and County of San Francisco.

Selection Procedures

In order to be ranked on the eligible list, candidates must achieve a passing score on both the Written Multiple-Choice Examination and the Supplemental Questionnaire Evaluation.


Written Multiple-Choice Exam: (Weight = 50%)

Candidates who meet the minimum qualifications will be invited to participate in a written multiple-choice examination, designed to measure their relative knowledge, skills and abilities in job-related areas. The multiple-choice examination component may include, but is not be limited to:  knowledge of the objectives, principles, practices, procedures and trends of land use, zoning, municipal regulation, environmental review and community development associated with the preparation, interpretation and implementation of an urban planning program; includes knowledge of federal, state and local laws as they relate to urban planning; knowledge of graphic presentation methods and systems and techniques required for preparation of maps, charts, illustrations and other graphics; ability to comprehend and understand information; ability to exercise good judgment when making a decision; ability to evaluate information and analyze data; ability to establish and maintain cooperative and effective working relationships.


The written multiple-choice examination is a standardized examination. In accordance with Civil Service Rule 111.11.4, inspection privileges do not apply to the questions and answers in this examination.


Supplemental Questionnaire: (Weight = 50%)

Candidates who attain a minimum passing score on the written examination will be invited to complete a supplemental questionnaire.   The Supplemental Questionnaire is designed to measure knowledge, skills and/or abilities in job-related areas which may include but not be limited to: basic planning principles including land use, zoning, municipal regulation, environmental review and community development, transportation and public utility systems as they relate to planning programs.


Qualified applicants will be notified by email of the exact time, date, and location of the examinations.


Candidates will be placed on the eligible list in rank order according to their final score.


Candidate scores on this exam may also be applied to other announcements involving other job titles, when directed by the Human Resources Director.



The certification rule for the eligible list resulting from this examination will be Rule of Seven (7) Scores. Additional selection processes may be conducted by the hiring department prior to making final hiring decisions.


Eligible List:

The eligible list resulting from this examination is subject to change after adoption (e.g., as a result of appeals), as directed by the Human Resources Director or the Civil Service Commission.


The duration of the eligible list resulting from this examination process will be of six (6) months, and may be extended with the approval of the Human Resources Director.


Upon approval of the Human Resource Director (see Civil Service Rule 111A.26.5), the eligible list resulting from this announcement may be used by other departments that also use this classification or a similar classification. To find other Departments which use this classification, please see http://www.sfdhr.org/Modules/ShowDocument.aspx?documentID=21246.  Search that document by title or job code to see which departments use the classification. 


Applicants meeting the minimum qualifications are not guaranteed advancement through all of the steps in the selection process.

Conviction History

As part of the selection process an image of your fingerprints will be captured and sent to the California Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). The resulting report of your conviction history (if any) will be used to determine whether the nature of your conviction (or arrest, in limited circumstances) history will disqualify you as a candidate based on the specific requirements of the position to which you are applying. If selected for fingerprinting, the hiring department will contact you to schedule an appointment.

Candidates applying for positions with the Unified School District and the Community College District may be disqualified from consideration should their conviction history not meet the standards established under the California Education Code.

Candidates applying for positions with the Recreation and Park Department may be disqualified from consideration should their conviction history not meet the standards established under California Public Resources Code 5164.

Disaster Service Workers

All City and County of San Francisco employees are designated Disaster Service Workers through state and local law (California Government Code Section 3100-3109). Employment with the City requires the affirmation of a loyalty oath to this effect. Employees are required to complete all Disaster Service Worker-related training as assigned, and to return to work as ordered in the event of an emergency.


Reasonable Accommodation Request:

Applicants with disabilities requiring reasonable accommodation for this examination can find information on requesting a reasonable accommodation at http://www.sfdhr.org/index.aspx?page=20#applicantswithdisabilities


Veterans Preference:

Information regarding requests for Veterans Preference can be found at:



Seniority Credit in Promotional Exams:

Information regarding seniority credit can be found at:



General Information concerning City and County of San Francisco Employment Policies and Procedures:

Important Employment Information for the City and County of San Francisco can be obtained at http://www.sfdhr.org/index.aspx?page=20 or hard copy at 1 South Van Ness Avenue, 4th Floor.


Copies of Application Documents:

Applicants should keep copies of all documents submitted, as these will not be returned.


Right to Work:

All persons entering the City and County of San Francisco workforce are required to provide verification of authorization to work in the United States.


Terms of Announcement:

Applicants must be guided solely by the provisions of this announcement, including requirements, time periods and other particulars, except when superseded by federal, state or local laws, rules or regulations. Clerical errors may be corrected by the posting the correction on the Department of Human Resources website at www.jobaps.com/sf.


The terms of this announcement may be appealed under Civil Service Rule 111A.35.1. The standard for the review of such appeals is ‘abuse of discretion’ or ‘no rational basis’ for establishing the position description, the minimum qualifications and/or the certification rule. Appeals must include a written statement of the item(s) being contested and the specific reason(s) why the cited item(s) constitute(s) abuse of discretion by the Human Resources Director. Appeals must be submitted directly to the Executive Officer of the Civil Service Commission within five business days of the announcement issuance date.


Additional Information:

General Information concerning City and County of San Francisco Employment Policies and Procedures may be found online at: http://www.sfdhr.org/index.aspx?page=20.


Exam Type: CPE

Issued:  March 17, 2015


Micki Callahan

Human Resources Director

Department of Human Resources

Recruitment ID Number: PBT-5278-063771



All employees hired on or after January 10, 2009 will be required (pursuant to San Francisco Charter Section A8.432) to contribute 2% of pre-tax compensation to fund retiree healthcare. In addition, most employees are required to make a member contribution towards retirement, ranging from 7.5%-13.25% of compensation. For more information on these provisions, please contact the personnel office of the hiring agency.

For more information about benefits, please click here.

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