Planning Commissioners

Planning Commissioner Training – 2013 Workshop Series

Earlier this year we offered a series of four free Planning Commission training workshops (March, April, May and June). These trainings were geared to local government planning commissioners, elected officials, professional planners and/or interested parties in Northern California. Each workshop had a different theme and related presentations by seasoned members of the planning community. Each workshop was held in a different location within the greater San Francisco Bay Area. This year we separated out CEQA 101 into it’s own workshop to allow for special attention to a topic that most non-practitioners find a bit complex.

Workshop Content and Presentations

Session #1 – San Jose Public Library

This workshop focused on the role of officials and staff; Roberts Rules of Order; public hearing procedures; making an effective public record; and basics of general plans and zoning. Presentations were given by: Janet Ruggiero, AICP, Janet Palma, AICP and Elaine Costello, FAICP.

Planning Commission Roles and Responsibilities

General Plan, Zoning and Subdivisions

Session #2 – El Cerrito Community Center

Session 2 delved more deeply into land use legal principles and cases; basic CEQA and environmental review; defensible findings and project conditions; and a development project case study. Presentations were given by: Alexandra Barnhill, Attorney, Colette Meunier, AICP and Mike Moore, AICP.

Legal Framework for Land Use Decisions

Defensible Findings and Project Conditions

How to Review a Development Proposal

Session #3 – El Cerrito Community Center

The third session covered housing laws, elements, and RHNA process; economic development; land use planning fiscal issues; sustainable planning; and design guidelines and review. Presentations were given by: Melinda Coy, Alex Hinds, AICP and Hanson Hom, AICP.

RHNA and Housing Elements

Sustainability Planning

Design Review

Session #4 – San Leandro Main Library

The fourth and last session covered basic CEQA and environmental review and the new BAAQMD CEQA Guidelines . Presentations were given by: Colette Meunier, AICP and Lynette Dias, AICP.

CEQA 101 Presentation

All four sessions were very well attended with participants very engaged with the presenters asking questions relevant to their roles as Planning Commissioners, Zoning Board Members or other officials. A light breakfast was served with plenty of fresh coffee to keep everyone on their toes. This now successful series will be a recurring program annually. If people have an interest in any further special training topics or have suggestions for improving the workshop series, please contact Janet Palma, AICP, APA Northern Section Planning Commissioner Representative, at:


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