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The Institute is an educational collaboration of Penn State Cooperative Extension and the PA Chapter of the American Planning Association to provide a unique educational service that would improve planning in Pennsylvania through education. Supporting this educational collaboration is the PA State Association of Boroughs which provides valuable administrative, monitoring, financial and scheduling assistance.

More than 10,000 Pennsylvanians serve on 1,700 municipal and county planning commissions. Another 6,000-7,000 serve on zoning hearing boards or are involved in the day-to-day administration of some 1,600 municipal zoning ordinances. These dedicated volunteers are the foundation of planning in the Commonwealth. Education is a key in preparing them to be leaders capable of effectively carrying out planning and land use regulations in their communities. For more information visit the official PMPEI website

Courses are posted on the calendar

About the Courses

Course in Community Planning

This course is a 3-session in-depth course for planning commissioners and local officials to help them learn how to carry out their planning responsibilities under the PA Municipalities Planning Code. Topics include comprehensive planning, multimunicipal planning, plan implementation, the roles and responsibilities of planning commissioners and elected officials, and how to develop an effective planning commission. A planning exercise based on Marcellus Shale natural gas development is included. (Please see calendar for course training dates)

Course in Zoning

This course is a 3-session in-depth “nuts and bolts” course in the drafting, amending, administering, and monitoring of zoning ordinances. Course topics include the MPC authority for zoning, basic and advanced zoning techniques such as overlay and performance zoning, flexible regulatory techniques, planned residential and traditional neighborhood development regulations. Ordinance reviews, map problems, ethical issues are included in the course. (Please see calendar for course training dates)

Course in Zoning Administration

This course is a 3-session in-depth course for zoning hearing board members, zoning administrators, planning commissioners and elected officials in the basic principles and practices for administering municipal zoning ordinances. The course covers the technical aspects of the various zoning applications and appeals. Participants practice the techniques and procedures for conducting effective zoning hearings in a “mock zoning hearing.” (Please see calendar for course training dates)

Course in Subdivision and Land Development Review

This course is a 3-session in-depth course for planning commissioners, local officials and others involved in the land development process. The course covers 1) the principles of subdivision and land development regulation; 2) ordinance standards and review procedures in the MPC, and; 3) project design techniques including flexible design concepts and options. Participants learn how to manage the review process and relate it to the comprehensive plan. Hands-on plan review exercises for designing innovative development options are included. (Please see calendar for course training dates)