There is no doubt the best development occurs when developers and development professionals are able to work with municipal leaders and staff on a project. So, it is for the benefit of all when developers and development professionals find ways to engage and help educate municipal leaders and staff in the area of land use.
Many professionals involved in commercial real estate and land development (development professionals) attend and teach educational seminars offered by private developer-focused organizations such as Urban Land Institute (ULI), NAIOP, American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) and state bar associations. We attend or teach those training and educational seminars for personal and professional reasons, including to: (i) gain additional skills or deepen our knowledge base; (ii) keep up with the latest and emerging trends; (iii) give back to and improve the profession; (iv) network and market; and, of course (v) fulfill our continuing educational credit obligations.
For similar reasons, municipal officials and staff, who review and act on land development plans, zoning amendments, challenges and other forms of relief, attend and participate in the same or similar training and educational seminars. Organizations focusing on those groups include the Pennsylvania Municipal League (PML), the Pennsylvania Municipal Planning Education Institute/Pennsylvania State Association of Boroughs (PMPEI/PSAB) and the Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors (PSATs). Like the private developer-focused organizations, municipal-focused organizations are known for delivering high-quality, relevant training and educational seminars in a cost-effective manner. Municipal-focused organizations continually strive to share knowledge and information for helping municipal leaders and staff make better informed decisions – and it is those decision that more often positively affect communities and property owners (including developers).
Developers and development professionals should engage municipal-focused organizations by collaborating to provide training and educational seminars to municipal leaders and staff for the betterment of all involved. There are several ways for developers and development professionals to participate in creating and delivering such training and educational seminars:
- Attendance. Attending municipal training and educational seminars provides opportunities to not only learn about issues and ideas important to municipal leadership and staff, but also it provides opportunities for informal interaction. Establishing new or strengthening existing relationships with municipal leaders and staff leads to a better understanding of purpose and better working relationships that often are tested throughout the land use process.
- Sponsorship and/or Hosting. Sponsoring or hosting training and educational seminars helps to reduce attendees’ costs. It also provides opportunities for marketing and promotions, as well as the short informational plugs. Additionally, it provides opportunities for developers and development professionals to showcase their facilities and projects to municipal leaders and staff.
- Developing and Presenting. Creating and presenting training and educational seminars helps to disseminate and explain up-to-date development data, information, trends and changes in the industry. It provides opportunities to share experiences and knowledge with municipal leaders and staff, establishing developers or development professional as trusted experts and reliable resources.
For more information about land use training and educational seminars for municipal leaders and staff, check out the following:
- PMPEI – Pennsylvania Municipal Planning Education Institute
- PSAB – PA State Association of Boroughs: Training
- PML – PA Training Hub for Municipal Learning (PATH) – Pennsylvania Municipal League
- PSATs – Training
- American Planning Association Pennsylvania Chapter – Events Archive – APA – Pennsylvania Chapter
- County and Regional Planning Departments/Planning Commissions.