UNC School of Government

Foundations in Planning and Development Regulation

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About the course

This two-day course provides a basic introduction to planning and development regulation offered annually in the fall.

This course is intended for planning and zoning staff, practitioners and staff in related areas, and interested citizen board members. For some staff members, this course alone may be sufficient, while for others, this will serve as the initial class in a multi-course curriculum.

This course is a pre-requisite to the following courses: Zoning Practice, Subdivision Practice, and Zoning Officials Certification. Completion of Introduction to Zoning in North Carolina or Introduction to Planning in North Carolina prior to 2013 satisfies this pre-requisite.

All of the intermediate and advanced courses presume that the participants have a level of knowledge and competencies commensurate with participation in the Foundations course.

General Course Content

Context for planning and regulation [1 hour]

Governance [2 hours]

  • Local and state government organization
  • Jurisdiction for planning and development regulation
  • Public records and open meetings

Planning [2 hours]

  • Types of plans (comprehensive, strategic, functional, others)
  • Process of plan making (studies, public engagement, role of boards)
  • The comprehensive plan
  • Relation of plans to regulations

Zoning [3.5 hours]

  • Basic framework (use and evolution, types of districts, use regulations, types of standards)
  • Basics of legislative and quasi-judicial decisions (types of decisions, process requirements)
  • Basics of ordinance administration (processing applications, interpretations, inspections, enforcement)
  • Introduction to legal limits (Constitutional and statutory restrictions)
  • Other development regulations (floodplain, historic district, sedimentation, etc.)

Subdivision [2 hours]

  • Basic framework (definition, exemptions, process for review)
  • Exactions
  • Growth management options

Topics - Local and State Government

  • Planning and Development Regulation
  • General Structure and Authority
  • Regulatory Authority

This course is a pre-requisite to the following 3 courses: Zoning, Planning , and Subdivision Practice. After completing Foundations in Planning and Development Regulation you can attend the other courses. You can register for the later courses for the purposes of registering and planning, but need to have completed Foundations before attending the later courses.

Who should attend

  • Public Officials - Local and State Government Roles
  • Planning and Zoning Professionals

Trust the experts

David Owens

David Owens joined the Institute of Government in 1989. Prior to that, he was an attorney and senior planner for the Wisconsin State Planning Office and spent 10 years with the NC Division of Coastal Management. His publications include numerous books and articles on zoning law, including the bas...


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