Planning Manager – City of Nashua

Nashua, New Hampshire is a vibrant, thriving former mill town that was first settled in 1655 and officially declared a city in 1853.  Situated along the Merrimack and Nashua Rivers, the “Gate City” is the doorway to New Hampshire from Massachusetts, and 45 minutes from Boston.  With a population of 89,000 residents inhabiting 32 square miles, Nashua is New Hampshire’s 2nd largest city.  Surrounded by towns sporting quintessential colonial New England charm, Nashua serves as the hub of the region, offering residents and visitors a vibrant arts community that includes galleries, music and theater, an array of dining destinations guaranteed to satisfy every culinary mood, tax-free shopping at local boutiques and specialty stores or your favorite well-known retailers.  A progressive public school system, extensive parks, a creative and active Recreation department all lend to Nashua being a wonderful community in which to raise a family.

Nashua is the only city in America to be ranked #1 Best Place to Live by Money magazine twice, and was just named in the top 100 cities across the nation for 2019, including best in NH. Its traditional New Hampshire heritage, combined with progressive New England urban qualities and vitality, attracts people in every stage of life. agrees, calling Nashua America’s 7th Most Livable City. Business Week named Nashua the number one Best Place to Raise Your Kids in New Hampshire and ranked Nashua in the top 50 of all cities nationwide. Recently named the Most Diverse Place to Live in New Hampshire by HomeSnacks and WalletHub’s Best Place for Millennials in Hillsborough County, among others, Nashua welcomes everyone from its long-time citizens to new Americans.

The City

Nashua operates under a City Charter form of government lead by a Mayor and fifteen-member Board of Aldermen. The Mayor is the administrative head of the City and is elected to a four-year term. Aldermen are elected to two or four-year terms and serve as the policy-making entity of the City.

The Community Development Division

The Community Development Division (CDD) helps guide the City of Nashua, its citizens, and the private sector towards a better vision for the City’s future. The Division’s components include the departments of Planning, Building Safety, Code Enforcement, Urban Programs, Transportation, and Waterways. The Planning Manager is an essential part of the CDD leadership team, reporting directly to the Community Development Division Director.

The Planning Department

The Planning Manager supervises six professional and technical staff members, and is accountable for a FY20 budget of $700,000.  In FY19 the Department reviewed and issued 1066 Land Use Permits and 76 Sign Permits, 98 Planning Board Applications, 130 Zoning Board of Adjustment Applications, 5 Historic District Applications, and 9 Conservation Commission Applications; and provided ongoing technical, professional and training support to the Planning Board, Zoning Board of Adjustment, Historic District Commission, Conservation Commission and Capital Improvements Committee.

The Position

The Planning Manager is responsible for providing the leadership, knowledge and managerial abilities and skills necessary to effectively plan, develop, direct and manage the resources, activities and operations of the Planning Department.  These responsibilities include, but are not limited to:

  • Providing the regulatory framework and leadership to guide the City in the process and maintenance of its vision and support of respective boards and commissions
  • Overseeing and coordinating strategic planning efforts of the department, including the creation of a structure for updating existing plans, developing new plans and implementing those plans so they are broadly used as the basis for all future decision making;
  • Ensures that Planning staff members and/or the Manager facilitates well-run, legally compliant, effective Planning Board and other land use boards and commission meetings, and provides the Planning Board Chair (and other land use boards and commission chairs) effective customer service as required.
  • Represents Planning, and sometimes Community Development, before varied Boards and Commissions and other public gatherings.
  • Evaluating on an ongoing basis the department’s attainment of agreed-upon goals.
  • Aggressively pursuing opportunities consistent with the vision
  • Through community engagement, leading the City to a higher level of understanding and commitment to the City’s potential
  • Overseeing and coordinating development review, zoning administration, land use code, and current and long-range planning.
  • Assuring that the department delivers high quality service within established budget parameters.
  • Managing the department’s personnel, including:
    • Evaluating performance
    • Rewarding positive performance and re-mediating poor performance
    • Training and developing people
    • Creating and fostering a culture that values innovation and best practices
    • Creating a culture of accountability
    • Creating and promoting a culture of customer service
    • Creating a diverse and multi-culturally competent workforce
  • Assuring inter-divisional and interdepartmental cooperation and collaboration
  • Serving as Project Manager on important City initiatives under the Community Development Division as assigned by the Division Director.
  • Prepares reports and recommendations as directed by Division Director.
  • Reviews and prepares items for Board of Aldermen and subcommittees as directed by Division Director.
  • Responds to complaints and requests for service submitted by residents and businesses.
  • Preforms other duties and special projects as assigned.

Minimum Qualifications:

Graduation from a four-year college or university with a major in an appropriate area supplemented by a master’s degree in Urban Planning, Community Development, or a related field preferred; or any equivalent combination of experience and training which provides the following knowledge, skills, and abilities:

  • Minimum of eight (8) years of progressively more responsible work experience in the areas of municipal planning or community development, or other closely related field, including at least three (3) years in a senior management role.
  • Extensive knowledge of the principles and practices of city planning and urban development, especially in redeveloping older cities.
  • Experience developing and implementing strategic planning objectives.
  • Thorough knowledge of the basic principles of organization, operations analysis, and human resources with demonstrated financial acumen and financial management and analysis experience.
  • Thorough knowledge of national and state land use law and regulations.
  • Considerable knowledge of the various ordinances, codes and regulations pertaining to planning, zoning, subdivision, public works, land use/development, and urban renewal.
  • Strong technology skills in excel and ArcGIS.
  • Ability to direct and coordinate the work of staff and to make full utilization of staff resources, particularly setting clear expectations and implementing ongoing evaluative processes.
  • Proven ability to present facts and express ideas effectively, both orally and in writing.
  • Excellent problem-solving, facilitation and conflict resolution skills.
  • Previous experience in working with labor unions preferred.
  • Ability to establish and maintain effective working relationships with Division Directors, Department Mangers, departmental personnel, volunteer board members, community and business organizations, labor unions, the general public, and representatives of other levels of government.
  • Ability to work effectively with a diverse population.
  • Excellent organizational and communication skills, with strong computer skills.

The Ideal Candidate:

The ideal candidate will be someone seeking a meaningful career who is excited to lead the continued growth and development of a thriving community. The Planning Manager must be professional, responsive, innovative, and dedicated to the mission of the City, Division, and Department, and have a strategic vision for the future. The City is looking for someone who:

  • Possesses thorough knowledge of modern developments in the field of planning and urban development.
  • Would be eager to support the City’s efforts on the first full Master Planning effort in almost twenty years, followed by a rewriting of the City’s Land Use Code.
  • Thrives on challenges. Shows enthusiasm and a positive attitude toward the community they serve.
  • Is a comfortable public speaker and routinely attends 3 – 5 night meetings per month.
  • Brings a high degree of professionalism, proven leadership abilities, and can motivate and manage people and projects with limited resources.
  • Is well experienced in change management, with an emphasis on process development and evaluation as it relates to customer service.
  • Works as part of an interactive team with other city departments and seeks collaboration with others to achieve group goals.
  • Has ability to manage all aspects of municipal budgets and seek additional resources.
  • Is skilled in mentoring and developing staff.
  • Holds self and others accountable for actions.
  • Is able to negotiate with a wide variety of people both within and outside the organization to achieve consensus on a proposed action.
  • Is able to establish and maintain personal and professional relationships while building confidence and trust with others.
  • Listens attentively with an open mind to ideas expressed by others.
  • Possess the highest degree of integrity, honesty, and fairness.
  • Remains calm when questioned or criticized; handles stressful situations effectively.
  • Is an effective and articulate communicator, both internal with coworkers and staff as well as with the public.
  • Critically evaluates information to support a proposed course of action and resolves conflict.
  • Makes commitments and follows through, deals openly, honestly and directly with others in a constructive manner.

Compensation & Benefits:

The City of Nashua offers a competitive salary and excellent employee benefits.  This position is an Unaffiliated Employees Grade 19 with a salary range of $87,000 to $114,000.  Participation in the New Hampshire Retirement System is mandatory. 


Submit cover letter, resume, application and three professional references at:

EQUAL OPPORTUNITY EMPLOYER – Recruiting practices shall be consistent with State and Federal Law (09/30/2019)