Chief Preservation Planner

Company Details

City of Newton (City of Newton)

Job Description

Senior level management position within the Department to provide technical expertise and policy guidance on all historic preservation matters. Responsible for administering Newton’s preservation program including staffing historical commissions; performing comprehensive preservation planning and preservation project planning; managing and overseeing preservation program; conducting proposal, needs assessment and eligibility reviews; preparing studies and reports; tracking preservation budget; liaison to constituent groups; and design work on historically significant structures.

Management Responsibilities

  • Part of Department’s Senior Management team
  • Provides management and supervision of Senior Preservation Planner.
  • Reports to Chief Planner, Deputy Director and Director of Planning and Development.

Essential Elements

  • Reviews and analyzes development proposals. Conducts site visits and communicates with applicants in order to provide initial analysis and review of applications for Commission members. Ensures that all applications are complete and accurate.
  • Provides technical staff support and recommendations to Newton Historical Commission including, but not limited to, project analysis, studies, reports, and research. Oversees scheduling meetings, preparing agendas, and meeting legal requirements for notification.
  • Trains and supervises other Planning Department members providing staff support to historic district commissions.
  • Provides technical assistance to general public and other City Departments on behalf of historical commission(s). Evaluates proposals, identifies significant elements, suggests possible alternative approaches, and acts as resource on preservation issues.
  • Oversees preservation records and files and establishes systems for monitoring program. Ensures that applications and certificates are properly recorded in timely fashion. Maintains official records in accordance with Massachusetts’s statutes and City Ordinances. Creates databases for the Newton Historical Commission to track applications, decisions, and certificates on yearly basis.
  • Responds to public, other City Departments, and media inquiries regarding preservation issues. Writes press releases and attends press conferences on local preservation projects and accomplishments.
  • Educates individuals, neighborhood groups, and institutions in understanding preservation regulations (for example, local historic districts) and their architectural, administrative, and legal requirements.
  • Develops marketing programs and educational materials such as brochures, forums, reports, etc.
  • Acts as a resource for the Executive Department and City Council regarding preservation in relation to land use and zoning policy, and regulations. Provides technical assistance in reviewing plans; prepares preliminary analytical research reports and guidelines; and makes recommendations regarding future projects, policy, regulation, and ordinance changes. Conducts necessary development proposal and project analyses and studies.
  • Works in close consultation with Law Department and Inspectional Services to insure that all City preservation ordinances are accurately applied and enforced. Directly responsible for interpreting and applying City preservation ordinances on a daily basis.
  • Act as Local Project Coordinator for preservation grants. Duties include researching grants, developing projects, writing grant proposals, and administering approved grants. Develops scope of work, monitors contracts and budgets, prepares RFP and RFQs, and works with consultants as needed. Monitors budget and ensures project completion, and supplies all necessary materials to the funding agency. Oversees support staff assisting in project implementation.
  • Monitors City’s Historic Preservation budget. Evaluates spending throughout the year, forecasts future needs, and creates yearly budget proposal.
  • Oversees City’s Local Landmark Program. Evaluates prospective historic properties, researches and writes landmark reports, facilitates public hearings, and deals with enforcement issues. Educates property owners about the process and its implications and ensures that all legal requirements are met.
  • Initiates preservation plans and projects as well as land use and other strategies relating to preservation issues. Contributes historic preservation elements to long term and comprehensive planning initiatives. Facilitates development of a Citywide Preservation Plan.
  • Collaborates with other planning staff to plan and implement planning and community development services, which meet the needs of the community.
  • Ensures that City meets its requirements as a certified local government (CLG). Completes yearly reports, tracks Commission applications and reviews, completes Requests for Eligibility and nominations to the National Register of Historic Places.
  • Advises on preservation issues concerning public buildings and City owned properties; reviews plans for alterations, restoration, and rehabilitation work.

Secondary Elements

  • Attends and participates in staff, Department or other meetings. Serves on assigned committees, task forces, etc. Coordinates and participates in special events. Maintains required contacts to keep abreast of developments within field or areas of interest; liaison with community or other groups.
  • Liaison to state historic preservation office. Completes reviews of telecommunications installations to historic properties, state funded projects to National Register properties, and additional projects as needed.
  • Ensures all federally funded projects are reviewed in compliance with Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act.
  • Answers development-related questions and inquiries regarding historic properties from the public, City Departments, and the City Council.
  • Coordinates with Executive Department on Commission nominations and appointments.
  • Coordinates with IT Department to update and expand on the preservation information available on the City website and GIS system.
  • Completes neighborhood surveys and state inventory forms as needed.
  • Performs other related duties as required or directed.

Oversees staff working on grant proposals/projects and/or providing staff to historic district commissions. Part time supervisory relationship with professional staff performing the same or related work and with clerical support staff.

QUALIFICATIONS: To perform this job successfully, an individual must be able to perform each essential duty satisfactorily. The requirements listed below are representative of the knowledge, skill, and/or ability required. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential function.

EDUCATION and/or EXPERIENCE: Master’s degree from an accredited graduate school in historic preservation, architecture, architectural history, or related field; plus three to five years related experience. General knowledge of planning, public administration, the use of office equipment such as the personal computer and computer software, including GIS (geographic information systems), specific knowledge of architectural styles and periods, and an ability to read and interpret architectural and site plans.

LANGUAGE SKILLS: Ability to read and understand construction plans, analyze, and interpret scientific data, demographics, and schedules, technical journals, financial reports, and legal documents. Ability to respond to common inquiries or complaints from customers, regulatory agencies, or residents or members of the business community in a timely manner. Ability to present information, which may be controversial in nature, in writing or orally that conforms to prescribed style and format. Ability to effectively present information to public groups, clients, and employees of the organization.

MATHEMATICAL SKILLS: Ability to calculate figures and amounts such as discounts, interest, proportions, percentages, area, circumference, and volume. Ability to apply concepts of basic algebra and geometry.

REASONING ABILITY: Ability to interpret an extensive variety of technical information in mathematical or diagram form and make related decisions within the limits of established policies.

PHYSICAL DEMANDS: The physical demands described here represent those requirements that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job including conducting field work and site visits in a variety of environments. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

WORK ENVIRONMENT: The work environment characteristics described here are representative of those an employee encounters while performing the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

Company Description

  • To prospective applicants, please note the City of Newton has implemented a Vaccine Policy which requires, as a condition of employment, that all employees be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, or have an approved medical or religious exemption on file with the Human Resources Department. Please be prepared at the time of employment to either indicate your vaccination status or intent to request an exemption. You may review the City’s policy by visiting this link.


The City of Newton is a wonderful place to live and work. Newton has safe and attractive neighborhoods, an excellent public school system, an active community life, multiple transportation systems, proximity to Boston and a well-managed and financially strong City government. The City of Newton has a population of approximately 88,900, with 32,600 housing units and occupies a land area of 18.3 square miles. Newton is principally suburban-residential in character. Unlike many other communities that are established around a single Main Street or downtown, Newton is comprised of thirteen distinctive villages. Newton has a diversified economic base with approximately 4,700 establishments employing approximately 79,500 people. Newton is special in many ways. It is home to a variety of private secondary and post-secondary schools including a portion of Boston College, Lasell University, William James College, Hebrew College, and the UMass Amherst – Mount Ida Campus. The longest stretch of the Boston Marathon runs through the City, including the well-known Heartbreak Hill. Newton-Wellesley Hospital, part of the Mass General Brigham health care system, serves as an important partner to the City. In September 2018, Newton was again ranked #1 in Massachusetts as the best place to live and #12 in the U.S.


Newton has what is known as a “strong Mayor” form of government with the Mayor having the executive and administrative powers of the City. The legislative branch is comprised of 24 City Councilors. Mayor Ruthanne Fuller was sworn in on January 1, 2018 after serving on the City Council. She ran on a platform of providing Newton’s children with a top-notch education in an inclusive environment where empty nesters, seniors, young families, and people of diverse incomes can live together in vibrant villages and neighborhoods. Mayor Fuller is committed to keeping Newton safe, improving the city’s infrastructure, addressing climate change, providing excellent and responsive city services, and fostering art, culture and community life. The first female Mayor of Newton, she is a tireless advocate for all the city’s residents and is committed to making sure the city is welcoming, inclusive and diverse. The City of Newton was evaluated by Moody’s Investors Services in February 2020 and assigned its highest rating of AAA. Newton was thus well-positioned to weather the pandemic and economic downturn.


The City of Newton believes that its employees are its greatest asset. To that end, we are committed to supporting our employees by providing competitive wages and growth, a comprehensive benefits package which includes a defined municipal pension plan, quality health and dental insurance plans, generous paid leave benefits, paid holidays, and access to supplemental benefits such as deferred compensation, short term disability plans, flexible spending accounts, and other employee benefits. We also provide access to an Employee Assistance Program and access to employee training and professional development opportunities. We continuously work to review and expand upon our benefit offerings. We encourage you to visit our Human Resources Department website to learn more about our organization and benefits which are available to our employees. And as always, you are encouraged to reach out to our dynamic HR Team by emailing [email protected]

Human Resources Diversity Statement

We recognize our workforce is a source of strength that is vital to our ability to effectively serve the City of Newton’s diverse community. We will:

  • Actively recruit, develop, and retain a diverse and talented workforce.
  • Proactively address discrimination through education and in partnership with other departments and leaders.
  • Serve as a role model to celebrate and nurture diversity.
  • Foster inclusion by staying curious and clarifying assumptions.
  • Evaluate and develop policies and practices that reflect the diverse nature of our workforce.
  • Build and strengthen accountability at all levels to support diversity efforts.


  • Health insurance
  • Dental insurance
  • Tuition Reimbursement
  • Flexible Spending Accounts
  • 457 Deferred Compensation plans
  • Metro Credit Union
  • Verizon Wireless discount
  • Employee Assistance Program
  • Generous paid leave time benefits and paid holidays.
  • City Retirement (Mandatory)
  • Direct Deposit
  • Opportunity to serve the public and join a dynamic team of dedicated employees

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