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Thread: Rigors of private planning practice #16: Consulting plannersí toolbox

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    Cyburbian Wannaplan?'s avatar
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    Rigors of private planning practice #16: Consulting plannersí toolbox

    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?

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Fat Cat's avatar
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    Nov 2006
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    Rockwood, MI
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    Fat Cat

    I have tried to do the same as you. Although I tend to computerize some of the cases and keep paper copies of others. My problem is that because of frequent moves the hard copies are in boxes and it becomes a pain to find the ones that I want to cite. Especially when you have to remember which jurisdiction that the case is in and does it apply to the geographical area that the question arises in.
    I too have found ( a long time ago) that there are case law and laws that may not be zoning oriented but sometimes they can have a direct impact on impact on the use of the land and/or the structure.

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