Portland has hired the chairman of the city’s Planning Board to be the Planning Division director.

As director, Stuart “Tuck” O’Brien will be responsible for the division that manages and reviews the planning process and develops other regulatory programs, the city said in a news release. He will report directly to Planning and Urban Development Director Jeff Levine and oversee a staff of 11 people.

“I’m pleased to welcome Tuck as our new Planning Division director,” Levine said in a written statement. “He understands planning and the role it can play in shaping Portland’s future, and has a deep respect for the public process. We were particularly impressed with his experience in large-scale urban redevelopment projects.”

O’Brien comes to the position as the city is handling an influx of market-rate housing projects, some of which have faced stiff resistance from residents who criticize the city for not listening to their concerns and, in some cases, who try to block unpopular decisions either at the ballot box or in a courtroom.

The city is in the process of getting its comprehensive plan recertified by the state. That certification accidentally expired in February, prompting the city to delay a controversial rezoning of a 10-acre waterfront parcel in April. The plan is used to guide land-use planning and zoning decisions.

The Planning Division director is tasked with making sure the comprehensive planning and growth management program adheres to state law. The director also follows the vision of the city council and city manager, facilitates public engagement and protects the vitality of the city.

In addition to protecting the city’s historic assets, he also helps build the public art collection, plan additions and improvements to community facilities and infrastructure, and addresses planning issues related to urban design.

“I am really looking forward to working with the excellent staff in the Planning Department and all of the passionate folks who participate in the City’s planning process from this different capacity,” said O’Brien, who lives in Deering Neighborhood with his wife and two young children. “This is obviously a very interesting time in Portland’s history and I can’t wait to get started with this new role.”

O’Brien, who has a professional certificate in planning from Tufts University and a law degree from Boston College, is the staff attorney for the Maine Public Utilities Commission. He was previously the director of transportation and long-range planning for Somerville, Massachusetts. He has served on the Portland Planning Board for the last five years.

He will replace longtime Planning Division Director Alex Jaegerman, who became the town of Yarmouth’s planning director in July after working at Portland City Hall for 34 years.

O’Brien will earn $85,000 a year, according to the city, and will begin his new job in mid-October.