Local Government Training

Delaware Planning Education Program

Introduction | Certificate Program and Course Costs | List of Current Courses

photo of in-class sessionCourse Topics and Descriptions

Planning Your Community’s Future
(“Planning 101”)

This course will provide valuable information for all elected officials who have to consider and act upon comprehensive plans, land use and zoning matters, and other growth issues. Participation will also be important for planning and zoning commissioners, board of adjustment members, and others who take part in community planning and land-development matters. The course covers:

  • Delaware Planning and Zoning Statutory Requirements
  • The Elements of a Comprehensive Plan
  • The Basics of Land Use Control
  • The Role of the Planning & Zoning Commissioner

top of pageLand-Use Law and Regulation (“Planning 102”)
This course focuses on land-use law.  It begins a review of the basic principles governing land-use law.  Topics include police power, delegation of authority, nuisances, due process, equal protection, just compensation, vagueness, and vested rights.  Participants will then learn about Delaware court decisions affecting local land use. The course covers:

  • Basic Terms and Concepts
  • A Summary of Tools
  • Zoning, Subdivision, and Site-Plan Review
  • Other Approaches to Land-Use Control

top of pageLand-Use and Development Administration (“Planning 103”)
This is primarily a hand-on course designed to build the skills for administering and interpreting land-use regulations.  Participants will be introduced to zoning, subdivision, and land-use codes and how they are linked to municipal comprehensive plans.  In-class exercises will provide an opportunity for participants will analyze and interpret a land-use and development code to formulate answers to typical land-use administration questions and to review development plans.

top of pageCommunity Design (“Planning 104”)
This course will explore the concepts of community design, based upon the framework of the report Better Models for Development in Delaware, which is part of the state's strategies for policies and spending Initiative.  Discussion will focus on the integration of the comprehensive plan, subdivision and zoning codes, and community-design principles.  An in-class exercise involving the review of a community-design problem will engage participants in a demonstration of the skills needed to ensure the proper coordination of community-design principles with municipal-development goals.

top of pageCreating a Flood Ready Community ("Planning 201")
This course reviews the multiple sources of flood risks to Delaware communities that can be addressed and mitigated through planning, codes, and ordinances. It covers floodplain requirements for municipalities and tools for adapting to flood risk. Sources of funding and technical assistance will also be presented.

top of pageMobility-Friendly Design (“Planning 205”)
Your new Comprehensive Development Plan identifies the need to revise your codes to be more pedestrian- and mobility-friendly. Why is it important, what does that mean, and how do you go about doing it? This course will address the key components of walkable communities and considerations to maximize the advantages of transit. Coverage of each component will include examples, specific dimensions and standards, and where and how to implement them.

top of pageBoard of Adjustment Issues (“Planning 206”)
The Board of Adjustment is an important quasi-judicial municipal body. This seminar will provide an overview of:

  • proper composition of the board of adjustment
  • jurisdiction of the board
  • proper board procedures for conducting hearings and rendering decisions
  • use and area variance standards
  • and an overview of appellate review standards for board action

top of pageHousing for Delaware: Balancing Community Needs (“Planning 207”)
This course explores the housing challenges Delawareans face and the resources and tools available to address these challenges.  An up-to-date overview of the needs for housing in Delaware will be provided, particularly the needs of our low- and moderate-income households. The Delaware State Housing Authority’s (DSHA’s) “Toolbox” to assist local governments in addressing their housing needs will be discussed, together with the new comprehensive-planning guidelines regarding affordable housing. This material will be of value to elected officials, county and local staff, and any others concerned about housing.

Strengthening Local Economies (“Planning 208”)
This course is designed to assist communities in the development of a program to strengthen their local economy. This seminar will cover:

  • Municipal-planning overview
  • Definition of economic development
  • Examples of local economic development in Delaware
  • Visioning tools and techniques
  • Connection between comprehensive planning and economic development
  • Identification of economic-development resources

Planning Complete Streets (“Planning 209”)
This course will focus on the role of local governments in developing, adopting, and implementing Complete Streets principles and practices, within plans and policies, to ensure that roadways meet the multi-modal transportation needs of persons of all ages and abilities. This seminar will cover:

  • How Complete Streets promote healthy communities
  • State of Delaware’s Complete Streets Policy
  • Complete Streets strategies for Delaware local governments
  • Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA): transition plans and Complete Streets

Register for Planning Education courses online

For more information, contact contact Martin Wollaston (302-831-4930) or Julia O'Hanlon (302-831-6224).