boston planning & development agency


Job ID
Downtown & Neighborhood Planning
Grade Level
# of Hours
Salary Range
$72,100 - $90,100


boston planning & development agency






STATUS:       EXEMPT                                                                  GRADE:         K





The Downtown & Neighborhood Planning Department works with Boston’s communities to create long-term plans that help foster the development of attractive, safe, diverse, and economically thriving places to live, work, and play. Planning efforts engage local residents, businesses, agencies, and institutions in guiding the future character of Boston's unique neighborhoods and districts. The Downtown & Neighborhood Planning Department works at the neighborhood level to create community visions that look at current assets and opportunities for future growth to enhance quality of life. Planners explore the issues of land use, housing needs, open space, transportation and multimodal networks, and economic development with community members. The envisioned plans, informed by the community's input, guide future development scenarios and may result in urban design guidelines, master plans, zoning recommendations, and/or other policy changes. 



Under the direction of the Deputy Director for Downtown & Neighborhood Planning and in collaboration with planning team members, the Planner will conduct, manage, and lead multiple planning initiatives for specific city neighborhoods and downtown/mixed-use districts. Additionally, in concert with current planning objectives, the Planner will research and prepare recommendations for the Zoning Board of Appeal and provide a planning perspective to the BPDA Development Review Department on projects undergoing the Article 80 process. As is essential to the success of any planning effort, this Planner will engage the community, other constituencies, and public agency departments to solicit input and feedback for recommendations on the above referenced tasks. This includes maintaining community relationships and answering constituents’ planning and zoning queries.



The general duties and responsibilities of the position are included in but not limited to the information listed below.  


Planning Initiatives

  • Under the direction of the Deputy Director for Downtown & Neighborhood Planning, conduct, manage, and lead multiple planning initiatives for specific city neighborhoods and downtown/mixed-use districts. Develop or direct a team in completing existing condition studies, precedent analyses, policy options, and planning and urban design scenarios appropriate for each planning initiative.
  • Prepare or oversee the generation of draft planning recommendations and urban design guidelines per planning initiative assignment.
  • Coordinate planning initiative progress with ongoing planning work within other BPDA and City departments at appropriate intervals.
  • Establish effective working relationships with neighborhood and community groups and organizations. Maintain current knowledge of neighborhood issues, concerns, goals and opportunities. 
  • Design and develop neighborhood-specific community engagement strategies for a diverse group of internal and external stakeholders at appropriate intervals to inform each planning initiative.
  • Lead evening and daytime public meetings and guide the creation of supporting materials for specific initiatives.
  • Analyze submitted reports and planning documents by public agencies, advocacy groups, and other involved parties.
  • Manage consultant selection team and subsequent consultant work and budgets for neighborhood planning initiatives. This includes overseeing pre-planning activities such as drafting Requests for Proposals (RFPs) for consultant services.
  • Oversee consultant contract services per planning initiative.

Zoning Review

  • Research, formulate, and draft staff recommendations for the Zoning Board of Appeal regarding zoning appeal cases and zoning variances based on pertinent planning issues. Solicit information from the appellant, abutters, and other members of the community to inform recommendations. Maintain and update all relevant documentation and databases.
  • Prepare draft zoning recommendations and evaluate the impact of proposed zoning changes for consideration by the Boston Zoning Commission.
  • Provide technical advice and assistance in developing and preparing neighborhood rezoning documents to be submitted to the Zoning Commission for approval. Coordinate and create presentation material to explain zoning recommendations to the Zoning Commission.
  • Work with community advisory groups in preparation of new zoning. Assist in achieving consensus and resolving issues prior to presenting to the Boston Zoning Commission. 

Article 80 Development Review

  • Review development proposals to ensure consistency with zoning and planning studies. Contribute written feedback from a planning perspective to project proponents in the form of a scoping determination letter. As assigned, consolidate all written team feedback within the Planning Division for scoping determination letters. Teams may include BPDA Urban Designers, Transportation & Infrastructure Planners, and Climate & Resiliency Planners.
  • Communicate community priorities during discussions on project mitigation and community benefits.
  • Provide regular updates to the Deputy Director for Downtown & Neighborhood Planning and other members of Planning Division leadership on planning issues pertaining to Article 80 development review.


  • Respond to public questions, needs, or concerns promptly and accurately.
  • Prepare and participate in presentations at community meetings and neighborhood advisory groups. 
  • Support the Planning Division by attending meetings and events as assigned.
  • Provide regular updates on workflow and progress on assigned projects to the Deputy Director for Downtown & Neighborhood Planning.
  • Prepare briefings for senior Agency staff or City officials.
  • Participate in planning studies completed by other BPDA and City Departments as assigned.
  • Perform other related duties as required.



Work requires the completion of a Master’s Degree in Urban Planning or a closely related field with a minimum of 8 years of experience as a planner or equivalent related experience. Candidates holding a Bachelor’s Degree in Urban Studies or a closely related field with a minimum of 10 years of experience as a planner may also apply. Prior experience conducting and managing a planning process is required. Proficiency in drafting and reviewing development and urban design scenarios is highly desirable. Familiarity with working within both neighborhood and downtown/business district contexts is desirable. Work requires the ability to solve urban design and zoning problems, to analyze and interpret planning issues, to communicate clearly in written, verbal, and graphic form, and to operate effectively as part of an interdisciplinary team. Strong written and verbal communication and project management skills are an essential requirement; strong computer graphic skills are desired. Full command of Microsoft Office programs is required. Proficiency in Adobe Creative Suite, PowerPoint, and Geographic Informational Systems (GIS) to design and assemble graphically compelling (clear) presentations and reports is highly desirable. 



Applicants are required to submit one work sample that illustrates strong graphic and written communication skills or one graphic work sample and one written work sample. Work samples should be combined as a single PDF with the applicant's cover letter.



Normal office environment; occasional site visits.



Little or no exertion; occasional local travel.



Not applicable.





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