Planning Manager/Planner IV

We are looking for a team member to help us continue to design and deliver innovative, 21st Century housing choices in communities across the country. The Planning Manager will help make an impact by leading planning and urban design projects, as a code expert. The job entails participation and leadership on planning and urban design projects, from initial diagnosis through the final deliverables. This position is for someone with urban design and planning experience who is eager to help refine and raise Opticos’ level of impact for equitable development and zoning reform using Form-Based Codes as the primary tool.

When assigned as a project manager, the Planning Manager is responsible for directing the project and for the overall design and development of the project deliverables, designs and documentation sets, creative urban design strategies, and presentations. In addition, they are responsible for day-to-day project management, including developing and adhering to the project schedule and budget, communication with the client and subconsultants, and project document management. They work with and direct other team members and call in fellow Associates and Principals when appropriate or necessary.

Urban Planning Responsibilities 

  • Lead and manage mid-size to large Urban Planning projects, including Master Plans, Comprehensive Plans, Specific Plans, Form-Based Codes, Community Engagement, and our signature Missing Middle Housing Scans + Deep DivesTM
  • Learn, then develop and advance best practices of Form-Based Codes and planning documents using and improving Opticos’ templates and meeting Opticos’ quality standards
  • Provide outstanding service and responsiveness to clients
  • Lead Quality Assurance / Quality Control for planning projects

Project Management 

  • Plan, organize, direct, and control small- to mid-scale projects, from initial scope, schedule and budget development through project delivery, for well-designed, timely, and profitable results
  • Establish and maintain good relationships and communication with the full project team, including clients, subconsultants, and the internal team
  • Manage internal staff and allocate project tasks
  • Provide mentorship, support and direction to diverse staff
  • Work with Finance & Risk Manager to bill clients and manage subconsultant contracts, if any
  • Maintain accurate timesheets with daily record of time spent by project

Business Development and Marketing

  • Procure new projects through new and existing client relationships
  • Provide marketing with project content to submit proposals, update the Opticos portfolio, and develop digital media

Tactical Leadership

  • Help lead overall Opticos operations as part of the Tactical Leadership Team, which works to
    • Procure, assign, and manage project staffing and their workloads
    • Oversee and enhance office work environment and logistics
    • Develop and implement tactical solutions to Opticos strategic plans
    • Support and advise Principals on the development of strategic plans
    • Mentor design team members
  • Lead or assist with research and development projects

Qualifications and Experience

  • Professional-level degree in Urban Design, Planning, or Architecture and 10+ years’ related experience
  • Intermediate to advanced knowledge of Adobe InDesign, Photoshop, Illustrator, SketchUp, Microsoft Word and Excel
  • Strong urban planning skills
  • Solid problem solving, design, and time management skills. Able to interpret and apply complex policies and procedures in a timely fashion
  • Experience in document writing and editing
  • Solid interpersonal, written, and verbal communication skills; articulate and professional, yet service-oriented and approachable
  • Self-motivated with stellar work ethic and a demonstrated penchant for ownership and leadership getting the job done
  • Great attitude and sense of humor

Benefits and Perks

  • Environmentally and socially conscious organization
  • Engaging and supportive staff culture
  • Convenient location in downtown Berkeley close to public transportation
  • Full benefits and paid company holidays
  • Dog friendly
  • Hybrid remote/in-office

How to apply

Please send your cover letter, resume, and portfolio to

About Us

Opticos Design, Inc. is an award-winning urban design and architecture firm in Downtown Berkeley, CA. Our team of thought leaders in Missing Middle Housing and zoning reform is celebrating over 20 years of finding solutions to the most challenging housing and community issues of our time. We authored the definitive resource Form-Based Codes: A Guide for Planners, Urban Designers, Municipalities, and Developers and set precedents for zoning reform—from writing the first hybrid code in California to multi-jurisdictional objective design and development standards. Our people and work have been featured in many high-profile publications such as the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Curbed, and Fast Company. As creatives, we think big to have the greatest impact on the built environment—all while having fun. Together, we have regular desk crits, all staff shares, book clubs, game nights, and picnics. We are a founding B Corporation, which means we have pledged to run our firm with a focus on social, environmental, and economic responsibility.

Opticos is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

At Opticos, we hire great people from a wide variety of backgrounds, not only because we value diversity, but also because we know that it makes us stronger. In recruiting for our team, we welcome the unique contributions that you can bring. Research shows that women and people from underrepresented groups often only apply to jobs if they meet all the qualifications. However, no one ever meets 100% of the qualifications. Opticos encourages you to break that statistic and to apply. We look forward to your application.