Planning Officials Development Committee

Planning Commissioners help create and implement the community vision through projects, development, programs...and plans. To support them, the chapter's Planning Officials Development Committee facilitates their participation, along with elected officials, in the Chapter.  The Committee does this by promoting the value of planning to elected officials, commissions, and the broader community and it serves as a resource for members seeking timely and educational material on various planning topics.

Education for Planning Officials

Committee Members Planning Topic Resource Guide


If you are a new planning commissioner or elected official (or considering being one), this page is for you! Communities throughout Washington state use volunteer appointed and elected officials to craft comprehensive plans and regulations to implement their vision of their future.

The planning process is complex, and volunteer elected and appointed officials are in need of basic information on process and content to make wise local decisions. To support you, the Washington APA Planning Officials Development Committee (PODC) has provided resources below from our state and beyond.  As a starting point, you should know about the following:

For a broad overview, we recommend you take a Short Course on Local Planning from the Department of Commerce. 

For specific advice, we recommend you rely on the advice of your city or county attorney, or your municipal insurance provider.

For a broad overview of various planning topics, please visit the Planning Topic Resouce Guide.

Contact Information: [email protected]

Annotated Resources

 Washington State Association of Counties (WSAC) 
WSAC is a voluntary, non-profit association, created in 1906, serving all of Washington’s 39 counties. WSAC members include elected county commissioners, council members and executives from all of Washington’s 39 counties. WSAC provides links to a number of planning-related topics.
 Association of Washington Cities (AWC ) 
AWC is a private, nonprofit, nonpartisan corporation, founded in 1933, that represents Washington's cities and towns before the state legislature, the state executive branch and with regulatory agencies. It is also an excellent resource for information, articles and local codes/regulations addressing planning issues. Be sure and visit the series of short video clips titled “
GMA comp plan conversation starters” produced by AWC in conjunction with the WA. Chapter of APA, addressing a variety of planning topics
 Washington State Department of Commerce 
Commerce is the state agency charged with implementing the state’s Growth Management Act.  Visit their topic pages for guidance on various topics such as housing, transportation, and urban growth areas.  Their planning education programs include:
  • The Short Course on Local Planning: Register here for a class on the Legal Basis of Planning, GMA Basics, Roles and Responsibilities of the planning commission, along with a series of 10 videos on all the short course topics, and a more detailed resource guide.  Spring and fall courses are presented each year.
  • Planner’s Forums are generally held quarterly in four areas of the state.  Forums are generally focused topics specific to local areas.
  • GMS Newsletter: Sign up for the monthly “email updates” to get the latest land use news from Washington state agencies.
 Municipal Research & Services (MRSC)  
is a Washington state agency charged with providing assistance to local governments to address a broad variety of civic needs.  Browse topics such as planning, economic development, or environment.
 Web Resources from the National American Planning Association  
Browse a wide variety of topics from resources, many of which are free to access, though some have a cost.   The Washington Chapter of the American Planning Association (APA) has their own web site at:
 The Planning Association of Washington (PAW) 
PAW is a member-based organization, focusing on education as a co-sponsor of the Short Course on Local Planning, Planner’s Forums, and their own educational events.
 The Western Planner  
Browse articles from planners across the American West. Free 
Planetizen is a fiercely independent platform that creates, curates and amplifies stories and resources to inform planning and people passionate about planning.



Statewide annual conferences are a great way to get information about planning topics.  Here are some examples for your consideration.