Practicing planners deeply appreciate the value of
commissioners and village boards in creating communities of lasting benefit. However, planning commissioners themselves rarely get the opportunity to research best practices in planning or reflect on the impact their decisions have on the communities where they reside and volunteer.
In order to address these gaps, a small group of members of the Illinois Chapter of the American Planning Association (APA-IL) met in 2011 to discuss the potential development of an interactive commissioner training program for the state. The idea was to offer informative, useful, accessible and affordable training for both new and long-time commissioners. Such trainings would provide an overview of development review processes and discuss essential elements for fostering effective, efficient and innovative commissions.
In 2012, the Chaddick Institute, in partnership with the APA-IL and the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP), developed such a training program for municipal commissions with a custom and active learning curricula that helps orient commissioners to conventional review processes as well as address planning issues of local concern. The two (or so)-hour trainings are typically held in the village or city hall and are facilitated by at least two accomplished planners.
Since 2012, we have conducted over 90 such workshops to strong reviews. Take a look at the interactive map of plan commission trainings throughout Illinois, updated regularly, for details about the locations, participation and substance of past trainings and read Laurie Marston's, FAICP article about her insights from past trainings and Rudy Knack's Behind the Scenes at a Training Session published in Planning Magazine. Lastly, visit the American Planning Association, Illinois Chapter Plan Commission Training web page or email the Chaddick Institute at firstname.lastname@example.org if you'd like to request a training in your community.