Ordinances: Best Practices to Follow, Pitfalls to Avoid


Now Available from APA Learn


This course is now offered on the APA Learn educational platform.

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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 how to think through ordinances to avoid unintended consequences.

  • 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  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 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.

Learn practice tips on how to identify legal issues and how to evaluate documents for clarity and logical organization.  This sesson presents how to avoid the most common pitfalls in the drafting process.