Ordinances: Best Practices to Follow, Pitfalls to Avoid

NPC17 attendee
APA member
List Price
Group viewing

Certification Maintenance

CM | 1.50
L | 1.50

You'll learn about: 

  • Legal issues in drafting regulations that are often overlooked, and how to recognize them: vagueness and over breadth, delegation of authority, constitutional issues.

  • Identifying unclear language, and thinking ordinances through to avoid unintended consequences; How to better organize regulations.

  • Writing in plain English; avoiding legalese and plannerese. Remember your audience.

On a daily basis, planners at all levels and in all jobs are called upon to draft, use, and interpret many types of documents. All of these documents and actions have legal implications that can land an issue before a Board of Adjustment, another internal appeals or hearing board, or a judge.

Little time in a planner's education is often spent on the nuances of good writing, and the importnace of clarity. In the day-to-day rush of getting work done, writing may end up rushed as well.  The presenters will cover important issues in language usage, legislative drafting, and discuss specific legal issues that come up in the rgulatory context, like delegation of authority, and vaguness, definitions, and the importance of findings and legislative history.

The presenters will use examples from their practices in three states to discuss how planners and lawyers approach ordinance drafting differently, and how to achieve clear, enforceable, and defensible regulations.

Attendees will leave with practice tips on how to identify the legal issues, how to evaluate their documents for clarity and logical organization, and how to avoid the most common pitfalls int he drafting process.  

Product Details

About the Speakers

Kimberley Mickelson
Ms. Mickelson is an attorney and planner with Olson & Olson, LLP, in Houston and is the President of the Texas Chapter of the American Planning Association, and the Editor of A Guide to Urban Planning in Texas Communities. Her practice is concentrated in the representation of governmental and non-profit corporations. She specializes in and represents cities across Texas and in Illinois on land use matters, including zoning and platting, economic development, airport law, special districts, development agreements, and cemetery law. She is licensed in both Texas and Illinois, and writes and speaks frequently on planning and land use law issues nationally. She is also Visiting Associate Professor of Practice in the Master’s Program, Landscape Architecture and Urban Planning Department in the College of Architecture at Texas A&M University. Ms. Mickelson is an honors graduate of the Plan II program at The University of Texas, and The University of Texas School of Law and the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs. She attended Schiller International University in Heidelberg, Germany, studied municipal and historic preservation at in Krakow, Poland during graduate school, and was a post-graduate research fellow at the University of Belgrade. She is a member of the Texas Bar Association and serves on the Government Law Section Council, the Texas City Attorney’s Association, the Houston Bar Association, the American Planning Association (APA), and the American Institute of Certified Planners. She serves on the University of Texas Libraries Council, and is a former board member of Preservation Texas and Preservation Chicago. In her spare time, she is active in neighborhood redevelopment and historical cemetery preservation issues, is a rabid Longhorn football fan, and an art quilter.

David Silverman
David S. Silverman is a partner with Ancel, Glink, Diamond, Bush, DiCianni & Krafthefer, P.C. in Chicago, practicing in the areas of local government, land use, economic development, and real estate. David has published on a variety of land use issues, including the forthcoming Urban Agriculture: Policy, Law, Strategy, and Implementation, the forthcoming Land Use Law: Zoning in the 21st Century, written with several other attorneys from Ancel Glink, as well as the more recently published Tax Increment Financing and Greening Local Government. David has also authored numerous articles on land use topics, including the recently published articles “Rules of the Game: A Framework for Fair and Effective Zoning Public Hearings” (The Commissioner, Spring 2013) and “The Temporary Use and Economic Development” (Planning and Environmental Law Journal, July 2014). David is co-chair of Ancel Glink's land use practice and co-editor of the group's newsletter, In the Zone, and is a regular contributor to and moderator of @AncelGlinkLand, which covers an array of current and evolving land use topics. Prior to his career as an attorney, David was an urban planning and economic development consultant working with several neighborhood based development organizations in both the cities of Detroit and Chicago. David is a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners and the land economics fraternity, Lambda Alpha International – Ely Chapter. David also serves on the Executive Committee of APA Illinois as its Legislative Committee Chair and is the Education & Outreach Chair for APA's Planning and Law Division.

Susan Trevarthen
SUSAN L. TREVARTHEN, ESQ., FAICP chairs the Municipal Land Use and Zoning practice and is a Member of the law firm of Weiss Serota Helfman Cole & Bierman, P.L. in Fort Lauderdale. She handles land use, planning and zoning matters for governments, and is Town Attorney for a Broward coastal community. Her work includes reviewing and negotiating development agreements and approvals, drafting municipal codes and plans, advising municipal staffs, managers and attorneys, defending challenges to municipal regulations and decisions, handling public hearings, and counseling elected officials, as well as advocating for municipalities on legislative issues in her field. Her practice also includes constitutional law issues (such as regulation of First Amendment-protected land uses including signs, places of worship and adult uses, and takings and Harris Act issues); hot topics in zoning law such as medical marijuana, sober houses and vacation rentals; and public school facilities. Ms. Trevarthen is board certified in City, County and Local Government Law by the Florida Bar, has been recognized as one of the top land use attorneys in the state in publications such as Florida Trend Magazine and SuperLawyers, and is AV rated. Ms. Trevarthen has held leadership positions in the Florida Bar’s Section for Environmental and Land Use Law and Section for City, County and Local Government Law. Susan grew up in Boca Raton, Florida. She was graduated from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a joint degree in law and planning (M.R.P. and J.D., 1991) and from Duke University (A.B., 1986).