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Planning in California: An Overview

Learn the concepts, structures and processes of land use planning and development decisions. This four-day course delivers an overview of general plans, zoning ordinances, subdivision regulation, permit processes, property rights, environmental review, public finance, natural resources and urban design. In short: dirt, dollars and duties. The instructor and guest presenters place these topics in wider contexts, valuable for both experienced planners who need a review and others who want solid introductions. Course requirements include reading and discussing Fulton and Shigley’s Guide to California Planning, plus a short research paper. This is the first of six required courses in the Land Use and Environmental Planning Certificate Program.

By the end of the course, the participants will:

  • Understand the basic legal tools of land use planning and decision making.
  • Be able to apply those tools to specific problems facing California communities.
  • Understand the connections among land use, public finance and governance.
  • Demonstrate insight into how public policies affect land uses.
  • Work successfully with other participants on group projects.
  • Improve their critical reading, writing and speaking skills.


Peter Detwiler, M.A., recently retired after 39 years in public service. He worked for the Senate Local Government Committee as its lead staff consultant analyzing bills and advising legislators on land use, public finance and governance topics. He also worked for the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research during Governor Jerry Brown’s first administration and for the San Diego Local Agency Formation Commission. Detwiler continues to teach courses in land use and management.


Sept. 11 & 12 & Oct. 16 & 17: Thurs. & Fri., 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m.

Technical requirements:

Certain elements of this classroom course will be conducted online. All materials will be available for download. Passwords and login information to access the course materials will be issued one week before the course start date. You must provide an email address when enrolling to receive your login information.


Sutter Square Galleria, 2901 K St, Sacramento, CA




$625.00 Includes course materials.

Special Discounts:

10% discount for organizations enrolling three or more people at the same time in the same course. All registrations must be submitted at the same time and fees paid with one check, credit card or purchase order.
10% discount for APACA Section and BIA members


4 quarter units academic credit, X432.1, 40 MCLE Hours, 40 AICP Hours




Enrollment policies:

You must attend all course meetings in order to recieve a passing grade. Requests to withdraw with a refund (less a $30 processing fee) must be received seven days prior to the start date.