Community Planning Program

Page Menu

The Community Planning Program is a comprehensive community development program, aiming to educate and facilitate understanding of comprehensive planning, land use, growth management, decision-making, strategic planning and implementation for local governments in Georgia. The Planning & Zoning series currently consists of the following courses: 101, 102, 201, and 202. These courses are open to appointed board and commission members (existing and new), local government staff and elected officials.


Planning and Zoning 101: The Basics

All appointed board and commission members (existing and new), local government staff and elected officials should attend this training.

This is a solid introduction to the basics of what planning and zoning are.

You will learn:

  • terminology

  • what the roles in the local government planning and zoning processes are (citizens, applicants, planning commission/planning commissioners, planning and zoning staff, and elected officials)

  • what state laws are applicable to the work planners, zoning administrators and appointed officials do 

  • what the job is and how to do the job

  • how to interpret and use the city/county comprehensive plan to make land use decisions

  • why the plan is the anchor of those decisions

  • how to use the local ordinance and the plan to make the decisions

  • how to plan for the future: demographic and land use trends as well as population projections and asset-based planning

View flyer for more information.

For course information and registration, click here.


Planning and Zoning 102: Civic Engagement

All appointed board and commission members, and planning staff should attend this training.

In this course, participants will learn about community engagement, including how to conduct and handle problems at meetings as well as broader strategies for involvement. The course includes the use of case studies, group work and discussion to facilitate understanding.  

You will focus on: 

  • broader context of civic health and community 

  • methods to handle contentious public hearings 

  • outreach and engagement strategies

View flyer more information.

For course information and registration, click here.


Planning & Zoning 201: Practical Ethics for Planners and Planning Officials

The Carl Vinson Institute of Government and the Georgia Chapter of the American Planning Association recognize the importance of ethics education for local government decision makers, planners, planning commissions and boards of zoning as well as local government staff who directly or indirectly work with decision makers and planning and zoning officials, such as in comprehensive planning, zoning appeals or architectural review.

You will learn:

  • the purpose and goals of the AICP Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct and their relationship to ethical dilemmas and decisions in planning

  • how values, morality, virtue, character and obligations play out in our everyday actions and decisions

  • how ethical dilemmas can arise whenever discretion is involved in policy or administrative decision making

  • how to apply principles of ethical decision making to resolve dilemmas

  • the moral dimensions, goals, virtues and temptations of leadership

  • how public service is a moral and ethical enterprise


Planning & Zoning 202: Public Choices, Problems, and Decisions for Planners and Planning Officials

This class addresses the critical role of public officials in a democratic society, the core values underlying public problems and choices, and the reasons why we use boards, councils and commissions to make public choices rather than individuals. This class engages participants in exploring:

  • why we have government and the government we have

  • the visions and values that define the public good

  • conflicts that arise in seeking this good, and choices we face in deciding how to resolve these conflicts

  • how public leaders can “solve” public problems and make democratic decisions

  • public leadership as a normative enterprise and the leadership implications for those who would lead on behalf of the public good



"This training made me realize the importance of proper planning and land use regulations to the quality of life of the city."

Lee Baliles, Councilman, City of Loganville


"Chrissy’s Planning and Zoning training was filled with takeaways for my work with the city: the value of maximizing your city’s strengths; examining its weaknesses and working toward your goals; stressing the use of the city’s comprehensive plan when making decisions regarding zoning; and learning to stick to the job and responsibilities in recommending zoning changes and conditions."

Jennifer Freeman, Planner, City of Griffin