47th Annual Short Course

For Elected and Appointed Officials

For over 45 years, the Texas Chapter of the American Planning Association has provided training for planning commissioners and elected officials.  APA Texas recognizes the importance of training for citizen planners who willingly give their time to provide input and guidance in current and long-range issues facing their communities.

The Short Course curriculum includes two tracks of sessions aimed at covering basic planning issues as well as important challenges and opportunities that face planning officials in Texas communities.  The program includes 8 sessions ranging from an Introduction to Planning in Texas, Roles and Responsibilities, Introductions to Zoning and Subdivisions,  to topics of current and local interest. Trainers include chapter and national leaders along with local planners and planning commissioners.

Short Course Registrants can also attend all of the program sessions of the APA Texas State Planning Conference, held at the same time and location as the Short Course.

Reasons For Elected & Appointed Officials to Attend

New Elected or Appointed Official Training.

New to the job? No worries, we have the basic training for you.

47th Annual Short Course.

Eight sessions dedicated to planning officials ranging from housing to transportation are offered during the conference.


You're dealing with that too?

Network and learn how other city officials are dealing with the same issues in your community.


Learn the latest trends and laws.

Planning keeps changing. APATX brings the latest tools and hottest topics to you, including changes in land use law.

Hear from state and national planning leaders.

Trainers include chapter and national leaders along with local planners and planning commissioners.


New this year, we've reduced registration fees by $60 for the Short Course!

We've got new sponsorship opportunities that include up to 4 complementary registrations for elected or appointed officials! 

47th Annual Short Course Sessions


TRACK I - Introduction to Planning: A Historical Perspective - 10:15-11:45 AM
Hear about the history of planning and development regulation in the United States since 1492.  This session will  describe how planning has evolved, the origins of zoning and subdivision regulation, and recent trends in planning.  Attendees will better understand why we do some of the things we do in planning and development.
Speaker: Dave Gattis, Retired Deputy City Manager, Planner and Occasional Consultant

TRACK II - So… You Have a Comprehensive Plan—now what? - 10:15-11:45 AM
Comprehensive plans are guides to decision making and should be used on a daily basis to consider applications and cases.  We’ll discuss pitfalls and stumbling blocks to implementing these types of plans to better understand how best to use these plans as a long term blueprint for your community’s success. 
Speakers: Jackie Reyff, AICP, Principal Planner, City of Colleyville and Clayton Husband, Principal Planner, City of North Richland Hills

You're dealing with that too?

TRACK I - Come Meet The Future Planning Thought Leaders – 2:00-3:30 PM
City Lab High School is a new, innovative high school in Dallas that focuses on architecture, planning, and environmental systems in a project based learning environment. Invited by APA Texas, students and their teachers share their curriculum  and projects and have the opportunity to share the conference experience.
Peter Goldstein, AIA founder and principal teacher, CityLab and Students of CityLab High School

TRACK II Right-sized Active Transportation Planning & Emerging Mobility Choices - 2:00-3:30 PM
More and more municipalities across Texas are embracing the health, recreation, and transportation benefits of facilities that support bicycling and walking.  This Short Course session will provide an introductory overview of active transportation planning and design in Texas and the opportunities and implications of alternate forms of emerging active mobility (e.g., bike share, scooters, motorized carts, etc.) choices.
Speakers: Matt Bucchin, AICP, LEED Green Associate, Director of Planning  and Christian Lentz, AICP, Principal Planne
r, Halff Associates, Inc.

TRACK I - The Future of Downtowns– 3:45-5:15 PM
Planning and implementation for the revitalization of Downtowns is becoming increasingly important for Texas communities. How can cities effectively align the vision with the market opportunities and the range of zoning tools available to cities including historic preservation ordinances, design overlays and form-based codes to ensure that their plans are implemented?
Speaker: Jayashree Narayana, AICP, CNU-A, Principal, Livable Plans and Codes


TRACK II - Development Review Essentials - 3:45-5:15 PM

Come to this interactive session to get real, practical tips on reviewing a development proposal. Participants will learn the “Perfect 10” of a quick development review by reviewing a real project. Basics, lessons learned, tips, and tricks of each of the development review components will be shared as the group moves through the exercise.

Speaker: Abra R. Nusser, AICP, President and CEO, Ideation Planning


TRACK I - A Planning Commissioners’ Guide to Good Behavior - 10:15-11:45 AM

Now that you are an appointed and elected officials, you have roles and responsibilities in your community’s planning process.  Join in the discussion to learn more about your duties and ethical behavior that will help you be an effective and “good” commission member.

Speakers: Ann Bagley, FAICP, Bagley Associates LLC and Gary Mitchell, AICP, President, Kendig Keast

TRACK II - Economic Development and Development Decisions - 10:15-11:45 AM

How does economic development work with the developments presented for planning and zoning decisions?  This session explores the basics of economic development, and the techniques available in the economic development toolbox.

Speaker: Bill Dahlstrom, FAICP, JD, Partner, Jackson Walker

Conference Location: 

El Paso Convention Center

APA-Texas Website: