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Planning Commisioners/Officials Training

The Pennsylvania Chapter of the American Planning Association has identified several sources of training for planning commission members, zoning hearing board members, and other volunteer public officials in PA.  Sponsoring organizations are noted below, with links to the appropriate website for the most current information. 


Produced by the PA Chapter of APA in association with Penn State Cooperative Extension

This video provides planning commissioners with an overview of what planning commissions do and where they fit in their city, borough, township or county government. The basic tools of comprehensive planning, subdivision and land development regulation, and zoning are described so commissioners can learn how they can effectively contribute to the quality of life in their municipalities.  See more>>

Center for Excellence in Local Government, Albright College

The Center provides training programs for elected and appointed municipal officials on a variety of land use and other topics. In cooperation with PMPEI, the Center and the Berks County Planning Commission (BCPC) sponsor the Master Planner Certification Program which requires the completion of three core land use courses. The Center and BCPC also have recently developed an Advanced Master Planner Certificate Program. The Center also hosts the PA Land Use Institute with the Governor’s Center and the Local Government Training Partnership.  Additional information can be obtained at http://www.albright.edu/localgov/index.html.

Governor’s Center for Local Government Services

This organization oversees the PA Local Government Training Partnership.  The Partnership includes:  County Commissioners Association of PA, PA League of Cities and Municipalities, PA Municipal Authorities Association, PA State Association of Boroughs, PA State Association of Township Commissioners, and PA State Association of Township Supervisors.  Their programs and schedule can be found at:  www.palocalgovtraining.org.  The Center for Local Government Services also has several training publications that may be of benefit to public officials, available at:  http://www.newpa.com/get-local-gov-support/publications/index.aspx.

PA Municipal Planning Education Institute (PMPEI)

This organization is the educational collaboration of the Penn State Cooperative Extension and the PA Chapter of APA.  Their programs and schedule can be found at:  http://cax.aers.psu.edu/pmpei

**Both the Local Government Training Partnership and PMPEI seek local sponsors for their courses, which cover topics such as zoning, subdivision and land development, community planning, and other areas.  Local sponsors have included Chester County 2020 (www.cc2020.org), county planning commissions, and others.  If you do not find training sessions in your area, contact a local planning organization and request that they host a Local Government Training Partnership or PMPEI training session.**

PA State Association of Township Supervisors (PSATS)

In addition to being part of the Local Government Training Partnership, PSATS holds some training on its own.  Check their website for upcoming programs:  www.psats.org

Penn State Cooperative Extension

In addition to being a partner in PMPEI, the Penn State Cooperative Extension offers additional courses related to grant writing, strategic planning, and other topics.  For upcoming programs and information on their training courses, check: http://extension.psu.edu

PA Chapter of the American Planning Association

The PA Chapter holds an annual conference and training sessions throughout the year.  Additional information is available at: www.planningpa.org, including a Calendar of Events for all known training in the state and surrounding area. 

Shippensburg University Center for Land Use

The Center for Land Use provides conferences, workshops, technical assistance, research, and community education programs to promote sound land planning and to enhance the quality of life in the five-county service region of Adams, Cumberland, Franklin, Fulton, and Perry counties.  For more information, see their website: http://webspace.ship.edu/landuse/   

Lancaster County’s Planning Commission’s Master Planner Program

This program assists municipal officials, planning and zoning commission members, business leaders and other Lancastrians enhance their knowledge of good planning principles, techniques and “best practices.” The goal of the 11-week course, which is also open to nonresidents, is to encourage students to apply the knowledge they gain to promote and sustain “smart growth” communities.  The program is typically offered every spring and fall.  Additional information is located on the LCPC’s website:  (www.co.lancaster.pa.us/planning ).

American Planning Association (APA)

A variety of information and information on training opportunities is available on the APA website:  www.planning.org