Planner/Conservation Agent


The Planner/Conservation Agent’s duties consist of a mix of planning and project management activities. The position provides support, coordination, and technical assistance to the Conservation Commission (CC) in carrying out its mandate and mission to protect the community’s natural resources, which includes 14 miles of coastline, three rivers, extensive flood zones, and a diversity of other inland and coastal ecosystems. The City updated its Wetlands Protection and Conservation Ordinance in 2022 to enable consideration of climate change in the Commission’s project review,
establish setbacks, and enhance protection of coastal flood zones and vernal pools.

Role provides professional supervision for the CC’s work and projects, using professional expertise, critical thinking and interpersonal skills that require considerable judgment and initiative to determine courses of action not clearly defined by precedent, statute, or established guidelines. Supports CC’s stewardship of 130 acres of protected open space. Responsibilities include planning initiatives; preparing grant applications and managing grant programs; managing construction projects; supporting city’s climate resiliency work; working with residents and neighborhood groups; and
other planning and community development projects as assigned by the Director.

The ideal candidate has strong written and verbal communication skills; project management skills; analytical and interpersonal skills; familiarity with the Wetlands Protection Act, land use and zoning; and an ability to interpret development plans. Work schedule is largely during business hours with regular evening meetings, some early morning, evening, and/or weekend field work and site visits. Attendance at relevant training sessions and professional meetings is expected.

• Assists the CC in the administration and enforcement of the Massachusetts Wetlands Protection Act and the City of Salem Wetlands Ordinance. Assures legal requirements are met; schedules and attends meetings/hearings;
processes and distributes/submits forms.
• Reviews Notices of Intent/other filings and associated documents for accuracy, completeness and compliance with the law and regulations. Assures or conducts review of field delineations, sensitive areas, presence of rare species etc. Engages technical expertise/consultants with CC approval, as needed.
• Prepares reports, correspondence, presentations, and other written material for CC review. Submits recommendations to the CC; prepares decisions and Orders of Conditions. Monitors construction to ensure
compliance with permits. Responds to complaints, investigates potential violations and takes/recommends appropriate action/remediation.
• Serves as an information resource, researches issues, and provides data to other city boards and residents on issues related to wetlands, conservation and environmental matters.
• Supports the CC’s stewardship of the Forest River Conservation Area and its trail infrastructure.
• Collaborates with local environmental groups.
• Assists the CC and city with other open space and resource protection issues. Assists with coordinating preparation and updating of the city’s Open Space and Recreation Plan to meet criteria for approval.
• Researches, pursues and coordinates grant and other funding opportunities; writes proposals and manages grants; liaises with the Sustainability and Resiliency Department to support the city’s climate resiliency work.
• Provides technical assistance in the review of development plans before other boards, as appropriate.
• Undertakes planning and community development initiatives. Responsible for research and analysis, studies, reports and presentations. Manages construction projects. Undertakes neighborhood and planning initiatives and works with residents and neighborhood groups.
• Represents the city at public, agency, and neighborhood meetings, as required.
• Performs duties independently under established policies and performs other duties as assigned by the Director.

Bachelor’s degree in planning, environmental science, or related field and a minimum of two years of experience in wetlands protection, land conservation, environmental management, planning, or related field; or master’s degree in planning, environmental management, or related field. AICP preferred.

Understanding of planning principles and practice. Project management experience and ability. Knowledge of Wetlands Protection Act. Familiarity with land use and zoning. Ability to read and interpret development plans and specifications. Ability to research and analyze complex issues and develop relevant and realistic plans, programs and recommendations. Ability to communicate effectively both orally and in writing; to establish positive public relations for the city; and to interact effectively with a wide variety of individuals and groups, including but not limited to: the public, business and non-profit community, boards and committees, consultants, and co-workers.
Demonstrated ability to work both independently and cooperatively as part of a team, to assume responsibility, to prioritize and resolve problems, to work under pressure in a fast paced work atmosphere and to coordinate and
manage complex projects. Computer skills pertaining to the operations of the department. GIS skills a plus.

Valid Massachusetts driver’s license (if using city vehicle) or own transportation to get to and from project sites within the City and the Commonwealth during the workday.

While performing the duties of this job, the employee is frequently required be mobile, communicate and use computer equipment. Duties may require employee to navigate and be mobile in wooded areas, hilly terrain, wetlands and construction sites. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform essential functions.

Duties involve a combination of activities in normal office setting as well as outdoor field and site work. Outdoor field and site work is performed under a variety of weather conditions, including inclement weather. There can be
exposure to potential health hazards, such as Lyme disease, airborne particles, plant irritants such as poison ivy, and the hazards associated with site work and construction such as noise and heavy equipment.

The noise level in the work environment is usually moderate. However, noise level may increase during outside site visits. Attendance at evening meetings and occasional travel to meetings and other communities. A shared city vehicle is available to travel to meetings and site visits, and city employees receive a discount on Bluebikes.

After 90 full days of employment, employee can apply for remote work and a flexible work schedule.

Interested individuals are encouraged to apply using this email address: Position open until filled.

City of Salem Human Resources; 98 Washington Street; Salem, Massachusetts 01970; Lisa B. Cammarata, Director

Beth Forrestal

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