Assistant/Associate Environmental Planner

Employer: Cowlitz County
Job Title: Assistant/Associate Environmental Planner
Job Type: Full Time
Location: Kelso, WA
Opening Date: 08/02/2019
Closing Date: 09/01/2019

Job Description:

This position processes applications for land use permits and performs or assists in a wide variety of technical and administrative tasks in the administration of the current and established environmental land use planning regulations and procedures. Review land use proposals and administer land management plans as they relate to critical areas, environmental impacts and protection under local, state and federal law and regulations. Apply applicable laws and ordinances including, but not limited to, Shoreline Management Act, State Environmental Policy Act, Critical Areas Ordinance, Floodplain Management Ordinance, Special Use Ordinance and other environmental regulations.


Cowlitz County offers a generous benefits package which includes:

  • Medical/Dental/Vision (includes dependent coverage)
  • VEBA/Health Retirement Account for those who qualify
  • Retirement through Washington State Public Employees Retirement System •Life Insurance
  • Deferred Compensation plans available (457b)
  • Vacation, Bonus and Leave Days Paid
  • 10 Paid Holidays
  • Reasonable work hours

Cowlitz County is a great place to live and work. Located along the Columbia River less than an hour from the Cascade Mountains and the Pacific Ocean, Cowlitz County provides an abundance of outdoor recreational opportunities and easy access to the Arts. The I-5 corridor runs right through Cowlitz County providing quick access to the Vancouver, Washington and Portland, Oregon metropolitan areas.

Job Duties:

  1. Perform customer service duties at the planning counter as needed. Meet and assist applicants, identify and explain applicable procedures and regulations, and assist them with the proper completion of permit applications. Process applications, including public reviews. Maintain records.
  2. Perform field inspections prior to preparing final reports to determine pre-project site conditions and perform post-permit issuance inspections to monitor compliance with the conditions of approval. 
  3. Respond to complaints, investigate reports of violations and recommend appropriate action. 
  4. Provides consultation to other departments, public and private agencies, attorneys, builders, engineers, community interest groups, and the general public regarding environmental policies, standards and regulations, or refer them to the appropriate local, state or federal agencies with regulatory control or expertise. 
  5. Assist with preparation of public educational materials and forms regarding environmental regulations and permit processes and procedures. 
  6. Prepare and present staff reports and make recommendations on land use applications to the Director, Planning Division Manager, the Planning Commission, Hearing Examiner, and Board of County Commissioners.
  7. Assist in updating or developing new environmental ordinances, codes and regulations, programs and procedures, and coordinate their implementation.
  8. Participate in staff meetings. Provide input and recommendations to improve own work processes and the general operation, performance and services provided by the Building and Planning Department. 
  9. Prepare and update maps, drawings, visual aids and other graphic materials for the Planning Division. 
  10. Attend training and stay current with ordinances, codes, and legal changes pertaining to the trade and related subjects. 
  11. Perform other duties or projects as assigned by the Planning Division Manager or Director.



  1. Bachelor's degree in environmental science, environmental planning, natural resource planning or related environmental field.
  2. Possess and maintain a valid driver's license.


  1. Bachelor's degree in environmental science, environmental planning, natural resource planning or related environmental field plus two (2) years of experience in the administration of environmental land use regulations, or a combination of graduate school course work in planning and experience in administration of environmental land use regulations equaling two (2) years.
  2. Possess and maintain a valid driver's license.

Supplemental Information:

  1. Knowledge of environmental planning and regulations. Familiarity with principles and practices of land use planning, zoning administration, and subdivision design and development.
  2. Excellent interpersonal and customer service skills to courteously deal with the public and others requiring services. Clearly and effectively interpret and explain processes, codes, and ordinances to the public or those unfamiliar with planning issues. 
  3. Excellent oral and written communication skills, in a professional business-like manner. Able to prepare or assist prepare group and single-person audience presentations. 
  4. Work in a cooperative, collaborative atmosphere. Ability to handle a diverse workload and multiple deadlines in an ever-changing political and legal environment. Perform work in a multi-task work environment. Prioritize and organize projects to achieve excellent outcomes. 
  5. Work under strict deadline requirements, and handle applicant pressure or disgruntled public. 
  6. Able to analyze and interpret topographic maps, aerial photographs, plan drawings and specifications. Produce clear and legible presentation drawing, charts, and graphs.
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