Senior Research Planner (11502, Grade 24)

Montgomery County Planning Department

Wheaton, MD United States


Are you passionate about data analysis and using data to develop strategic, equitable, and sustainable land use policies? If so, the Montgomery County Planning Department is where you want to be! We are currently seeking an experienced Senior Research Planner for our Research and Strategic Projects (R&SP) Division. The focus will be on housing research, but the person will also have an opportunity to work on other research topics, including demographics and land use.

Montgomery Planning is part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC). For over 95 years, M-NCPPC has had a national reputation for excellence in planning, and today serves a culturally diverse population of over one million people on the border of Washington, D.C. in Montgomery County. We provide county-wide planning functions including long range planning, as well as reviews of development applications in diverse built environments of downtown urban districts, suburban communities, and agricultural areas. We have pioneered nationally modeled programs in agricultural preservation, inclusionary housing, and transit-oriented design. To learn more about who we are and what we do, we encourage you to watch this brief video here and visit our website at

The Research and Strategic Projects (R&SP) Division serves as a “think tank” on a broad range of issues affecting land use and the built environment. Our mission is to foster stewardship of Montgomery County’s natural and built environment and its communities by understanding the past, examining current conditions, and anticipating the future. We do this by providing insightful, understandable and data-driven analysis and policy-relevant research on land use, demographics, economic indicators, real estate and other markets, employment and housing to Planning Department leadership and staff, County officials, businesses and residents, to increase their understanding of our community and inform decisions.  Our work helps promote evidence-based, informed and transparent decisions and policies that enhance all aspects of life in Montgomery County.
You will be responsible for collecting, cleaning, and examining data from a variety of sources, including using ArcGIS to assess parcel-level data to document and describe housing conditions in the county. You will contribute to master plans and other special studies by producing research on local demographic and housing market conditions. You will also be expected to summarize research findings in a variety of formats, including written reports, Storymaps, PowerPoint presentations, etc., and present the results of studies to the Planning Board, County Council, and other stakeholders. This position is an exciting opportunity to serve as a subject matter expert and produce original research on pressing housing issues at a dynamic public planning agency.

The salary range listed above represents the earning potential for this position. Salary is commensurate with experience. This position is eligible for a sign-on bonus (external candidates only).

Examples of Important Duties

As the Senior Research Planner, you will be expected to perform the following activities:

  • Develop research methodologies and conduct studies on complex housing issues.  Collect and analyzes housing data from Census, Maryland Assessment Data, Montgomery County Department of Housing and Community Affairs rental housing survey data, and other sources, using GIS, Excel, and statistical packages when applicable, to inform master plan development and other policy initiatives; Produce reports and briefs that shed light on housing needs and trends in the County. 
  • Create and maintain an accurate count of the number and types of housing units in the county using the parcel file and other data sources.
  • Support master plans and other special studies by providing research on existing conditions for demographic and housing market indicators. Concisely communicate findings from research in written reports, blog posts, ArcGIS Storymaps, etc., that include clearly illustrated maps and charts.
  • Maintain familiarity with internal and external planning information resources and be able to make referrals to other staff members as appropriate.
  • Coordinate work on housing research with staff in other divisions, particularly the housing policy planner in the Countywide Planning and Policy Division.
  • Present findings to the Planning Board, outside groups, and other partner organizations as requested.  Demonstrate understanding of presentation objectives and use this knowledge to create effective presentations that help Board members and other stakeholders understand key issues.


  • Advanced knowledge of GIS to manipulate large, complex parcel-level datasets.
  • Knowledge of federal, state, and local housing research data sources. 
  • Ability to communicate effectively, both orally and in writing, on policy issues based on data analysis.


Minimum Qualifications


  1. Bachelor’s Degree in Planning, Geography, Architecture, Parks and Recreation, Transportation, Urban Design, Engineering, Environmental Science, Public Policy, Economics or any related field.
  2. Two (2) years of progressively responsible professional level planning experience or specific area of assignment such as transportation planning, environmental planning or urban planning.
  3. An equivalent combination of education and experience may be substituted, which together total six (6) years.
  4. Valid driver's license (depending on area of assignment) in accordance with both State and Commission rules and regulations.  Driver’s license must be unencumbered by restrictions, revocations, suspensions, or points that could limit the employee’s ability to drive Commission vehicles or perform driving duties required by the position of assignment.


Supplemental Information

Classification Specification: Planner II (2243)

 The M-NCPPC offers competitive salaries, excellent benefits, generous leave plans, an employee pension plan, and a deferred compensation plan. Positions may qualify for public service student loan forgiveness. Montgomery Planning is conveniently located minutes from Washington, DC in downtown Wheaton, MD next to the Wheaton Metro Station, several bus lines, and bikeshare. A commuter stipend is available. Telework opportunities (up to two days a week) and tuition assistance are also available. We work in one of the first LEED Platinum-certified government-owned office buildings in Maryland. Check it out here

Experience Level
Mid II (4-8 years)
AICP Level
Land Use and Development Regulation and Zoning
Salary Range
$61,730.00 - $109,325.00 Annually