In my nearly five years as a consulting planner, I never expected to learn so much about non-planning state laws that impact zoning and land use decisions at the local level. As a result, not only do I have a reference file for the relevant state planning and zoning enabling acts, but I have also begun files for relevant Attorney General opinions and specific case law decisions. It seems every day, I learn something new. And absent a law degree and decades of experience, I expect to continue learning.
While learning on the job is something I cherish and wonít ever take for granted, at times I find myself frustrated that I cannot answer my clientsí questions on the spot, as they are asked. Iíve gone so far as to save the important PDF files to my Treo SmartPhone, with the intent of looking up the nuances of certain laws using the keyword search function of Acrobat Reader. Of course, while at client meetings, I will never have the ability to quickly search the documents because itís so impractical. I guess I will have to keep learning and seek new training opportunities as they arise. But I am curious, what techniques do other private sector planning consultants employ to better meet their clientsí needs?