Developers and Planners: We Need to Talk…

APA Texas Chapter


Friday, October 19, 2018
3:45 p.m. - 5:15 p.m. CDT

CM | 1.50

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Why does there often seem to be a struggle between planners and the development community?

Planners: “A developer should build to the Comprehensive Plan and follow the Code.”
Developer: “The City doesn't understand the marketplace, and where’s the flexibility in the code?”

These two differing roles that together aim to create and maintain dynamic, strong communities often find themselves at odds in the development process. This session looks at how both can understand the needs and pressures that each side faces and how to best communicate those positions, particularly for complex projects and entitlements. This moderated panel of an experienced developer, a municipal planner, and a planner/developer representative will share their perspectives and experiences.

Attendees will hear from a developer in regards to the role they play balancing risk, financing structures, working with landowners, investor partnerships, the nature of timing, and what are a project’s true “deal-killers.” The planners will share their perspectives serving on the public side and private side and how their positions are shaped by internal and external factors, such as the vision of the community and the elected officials, and legal and ethical considerations. At the end of the day, both sides need each other to realize a community's vision and it benefits both sides to gain a more in-depth understanding of why each one pursues success the way they do.

 Attendees will:
1 - Recognize the motivations behind a developer's decision-making and communication strategy.
2 - Outline potential strategies to ensure trust and strong communication when disagreement arises.
3 - Contemplate how to get to yes and declare a victory for both sides at the expense of perfection.


Stacy Snell

Stacy Snell, AICP, CNU-A, is the Assistant Director for the Planning & Community Development Department for the City of New Braunfels. Stacy has over 29 years of experience in community and regional planning encompassing public and private practice, in three different states with unique community personalities. Community personalities have ranged from slow-growth, low-technology to fast-growth, large corporations; few regulations to intensely regulatory; and large tourist destinations to farming communities transitioning into commercial centers. Her years in the public sector has included negotiating and overseeing a wide variety of development projects including special districts, planned developments ... Read More

Jordan Maddox

Jordan Maddox, AICP, is a Senior Planner with Halff Associates, Inc. in Austin. Jordan has over 12 years of community planning experience in the public and private sectors, including 10 years at the City of Georgetown prior to joining Halff. His years in public practice included negotiating and managing complex ... Read More

Rainer Ficken

Rainer is Vice President: Development for Newland Communities' Austin, Texas Division, and is responsibility for all entitlement and development activities for Newland’s Austin projects. Rainer has over 30 years of combined experience in land development consulting and community planning and development. During his career at Newland he has been ... Read More

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Barbara Holly,