Project Awards Program

Each year the County Planning Division and its sister organization, the National Association of County Planners gives out County Planning Awards. 

On April 19, 2015, at the County Planning Division's Annual Business Meeting, conducted at the APA National Conference in Seattle, the County Planning Division in conjunction with the National Association of County Planners will present their 2015 Project Awards. This year five awards will be presented: three Awards of Excellence and two Awards of Merit.

Best Practices Award

An Award of Excellence to Kane County, Illinois, in the Best Practices category for the Kane County Planning Cooperative. The Kane County Board has utilized a "health in all policies" approach to planning since the adoption of the Kane County 2040 Plan and the launch of the Kane County Planning Cooperative (KCPC) in 2012. The KCPC's implementation strategy, which is based on integrating Kane County's Health, Transportation and Development Department planning efforts, has been ongoing and has had recent success in implementing the Kane County 2040 Plan. The overarching theme of the 2040 Plan — Healthy People, Healthy Living and Healthy Communities — provides a unified vision for the County as they strive to achieve their primary goal of having the healthiest residents in Illinois by the year 2030.

Comprehensive Plan Award

An Award of Excellence to Adams County, Colorado, in the Comprehensive Plan — Large Jurisdiction category for theOpen Space, Parks and Trails Master Plan. The plan for Adams County provides a vision that was lacking for the County to address tremendous changes that have occurred as urbanization has rapidly spread to rural areas. The Master Plan update provided the opportunity to be forward thinking about the parks, trails and recreation needs of residents for the next ten years, and propose a new role of open space to serve as a garden for a metropolis. The strategies provided within the Master Plan chart a course to preserve natural resources, address issues of food production and preservation of local agriculture, and include opportunities for residents to experience the outdoors in natural settings. This plan strikes a balance between the multitude of urban and rural community values and adapts the open space and parks program to the present and future needs of the changing population.

Planning Project Award

An Award of Excellence to Montgomery County, Maryland, in the Planning Project category for the Pike & Rose project. Pike & Rose is a 24-acre community located a quarter mile from the White Flint Metro station in North Bethesda, Maryland. This mixed-use development replaces the outdated, 1960s Mid-Pike Plaza and, in doing so, is significant to the planning field in being one of the nation's first projects to transform a functioning strip retail center and acres of surface parking into a vibrant, walkable neighborhood. Pike & Rose is a place designed to attract a convergence of lifestyles in order to make suburban living more interesting and exciting. The planned 3.5 million square feet of offices, housing, restaurants, retail and amenities are designed to serve diverse constituencies within the metropolitan Washington, DC area.

Best Practices Award

An Award of Merit to Westchester County, New York, in the Best Practices category for the Westchester 2025 Comprehensive Plan Base Studies Program. As part of Westchester 2025: Plan Together, the County's long-range land use planning initiative, the Westchester County Department of Planning created a new program to facilitate the preparation of municipal comprehensive plans in the County. This tool assembles maps, charts, figures and analysis, in the form of web-based data sets representing the "base studies" that planners have always used to draft comprehensive plans. The project is a shared services program that saves municipalities money and facilitates community planning.

Comprehensive Plan Award

An Award of Merit to Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, in the Comprehensive Plan — Large Jurisdiction category for the Montgomery County Comprehensive Plan, Montco 2040. The Montgomery County Comprehensive Plan, Montco 2040, shaped around three major themes: connected communities, sustainable places, and vibrant economy, was developed through a dynamic and innovative two-year community planning process. Plan implementation guidance for the initial year was developed as part of the plan adoption. Montco 2040 will be implemented in a variety of ways. Many goals will be implemented directly by the County, but many will also be implemented by the County's partners, such as local municipalities, PennDOT, the Turnpike Commission, SEPTA and other government agencies.

Awards of Excellence and Merit

Eligible planning projects are those completed within the last two years. Projects must fall under one of the following categories:

Planning Project Award

To a specific physical planning project of unusually high merit conducted by a county that is in the process of being constructed or has been constructed within the last two years. The project should demonstrate "on-the ground" results that are supported by documentable physical or social change.

Comprehensive Plan Award

Large Jurisdiction: For a comprehensive plan of unusually high merit completed and adopted by a county within the last two years for, by or within a jurisdiction with the most recent Census population of 50,000 or more.

Small Jurisdiction: For a comprehensive plan of unusually high merit completed and adopted by a county within the last two years, for, by or within a jurisdiction with the most recent Census population of less than 50,000.

Best Practices Award

For a specific planning tool, practice, program, project, or process that is a significant advancement to specific elements of planning. This category emphasizes results and demonstrates how innovative and state-of-the-art planning methods and practices helped to implement a plan. Nominations may include such things as ordinances, regulations, legislation, adopted policy and codes, tax policies or initiatives, growth management or design guidelines, transferable development rights program, land acquisition efforts, public/private partnerships, applications of technology, handbooks, or efforts to foster greater participation in community planning.

Grassroots Initiative Award

For an initiative that illustrates how a community utilized the planning process to address a need that extends beyond the traditional scope of planning.  Emphasis is placed on the success of planning in new or different settings. Nominated projects should expand public understanding of the planning process. This could include such efforts as community policing or drug prevention, neighborhood outreach initiatives, programs designed for special populations, rural development, public art or cultural efforts, community festivals, environmental or conservation initiatives, summer recreational initiatives for children, or focused tourism ventures.

Small Area/Special Area Planning Award

This award will go to a small area/special area plan, program, design, or related effort that demonstrates innovative planning principles and measures that create sustainable communities that have lasting value.

Special Focus Planning Initiative — Senior Livability

A current special focus area of the APA Divisions Council is the concept of senior livability and how communities are preparing for an aging population. This award will recognize a county that has incorporated "aging in place" considerations into the planning process and has demonstrated a commitment to involving senior citizens in the planning and implementation process to identify their specific needs.

Nominations will be evaluated for the award category in which they are submitted. However, the Awards Committee may upon majority vote move a nomination to a different category, if appropriate. Only one Award of Excellence and one Award of Merit may be granted per category each year. If the Awards Committee finds that none of the nominations in a particular category meets the desirable standards, they may grant no award in that category for that year.

Previous Winners

See a list of the previous winners