Planning Commissioners Academy

March 6-8, 2024

Hilton Long Beach

701 W Ocean Blvd, Long Beach, CA

Register*

Registration for the academy is sold out. Click "Register" to be added to the waitlist. 

Designed for planning commissioners and staff members of all tenures from throughout the state, the Planning Commissioners Academy expands an individual’s knowledge on a wide range of topics relevant to the planning commissioner’s role within their city and fosters relationships and communication with peers. Now more than ever, the opportunity for planning commissioners to learn from and network with each other is invaluable. We hope you join us March 6-8, 2024 at the Hilton Long Beach for our next Planning Commissioners Academy!

For registration questions, please contact Megan Dunn. For other questions, please contact  Kayla Boutros.

Please see our event and meeting policies.

*With an update in technology, registration will now happen directly through your MyCalCities account. If you have not used your MyCalCities account already, please review details about the portal and contact us for questions. You will be asked to log in to register. Registration will require a credit card. 

2024 Academy Information

Registration

Conference Sold Out!

Full Registration Includes: 

  • admission to all educational sessions  

  • admission to the Wednesday evening reception, Thursday breakfast and lunch, and Friday breakfast 

  • access to all program materials 

 

Registration Process:  

With an update in technology, registration will now happen directly through your MyCalCities account. Please take a moment to set up your account so you are ready to go! If you have not used your MyCalCities account already, please review details about the portal and contact us for questions.   

Registration for the academy is sold out. Click "Register" to be added to the waitlist. 

If you are registering someone other than yourself, first sign in as yourself and then choose the option to register someone else.    

 

Note: Registrations through MyCalCities are available for credit card payments only. If you need to be invoiced and pay with a check, create your account and then reach out to conference registrar, Megan Dunn to request an invoice. Full payment is due at the time of registration.   

 

To request an accommodation or for inquiries about accessibility, please contact conference registrar, Megan Dunn. Every effort will be made to honor requests submitted. 

 

View Cal Cities’ event and meeting policies in advance of the conference.  

 

Full Conference Registration Fees 

Member-city Planning Commissioners and Department Staff 

$675 

All Others 

$800 

Non-Member City 

$1,675 

 

One-Day Registration Fees 

Member-city Planning Commissioner Professionals 

$375 

All Others 

$550 

Non-Member City 

$1,375 

Guest Pass to Wednesday Reception 

$50 

 

*The guest/spouse fee is restricted to persons who are not city or public officials, are not related to any Cal Cities Partner or sponsor, and would have no professional reason to attend the conference. It includes admission to Wednesday’s networking reception only. There is no refund for the cancellation of a guest/spouse registration. It is not advisable to use city funds to register a guest/spouse.  

 

Refund Policy 

Advance registrants unable to attend will receive a refund of rate paid, minus a $75 processing charge, only when a written request is submitted to Megan Dunn, and received on or before Feb. 28. Refunds will not be available after this date. If you are unable to attend, you may substitute a colleague for your entire registration. 

Hotel and Travel

A limited number of hotel rooms are available at a reduced rate for conference attendees. The discounted hotel rate cut-off is Saturday, Feb. 3, 2024.  

STEP ONE: Register for the Academy 

Registration for the academy is sold out. Click "Register" to be added to the waitlist. 

NOTE: Instructions on how to access your portal can be found at this link.   

 

STEP TWO: Book a hotel room 

Hotels are subject to sell out prior to the deadline – reserve early!  

 

Academy Location: 

Hilton Long Beach  

701 W Ocean Blvd. 

Long Beach, CA, 90831 

 

Group Hotel Rate (per night): $199 – Single/Double Occupancy (plus tax and fees) 

 

Hotel Changes or Cancellations 

Hotel reservation changes, date modifications, early check-out, or cancellations must be made directly through the hotel. Please note that after Saturday, Feb. 3, 2024 has passed, you may incur a financial penalty and minimum one-night room charge or attrition fees.  

 

PLEASE NOTE: The information you provide to Cal Cities when registering for a Cal Cities conference or meeting may be shared with the conference or meeting hotel(s). The hotel(s) will also share with Cal Cities the information you provide to the hotel(s) when you make your hotel reservation for the conference or meeting. The information shared between Cal Cities and the hotel(s) will be limited to your first name, last name, email, and dates/length of stay in the hotel. 

 

CAUTION! You must be registered for the conference prior to booking a hotel room. Do not make a hotel reservation unless you are sure it is needed. Your city/company will be financially responsible for all cancellation/attrition fees. If you are making hotel reservations for others, please confirm with each individual, in advance, that they actually need hotel accommodations and intend to use them on the dates you are reserving. 

 

Parking and Transportation 

Self Parking: Discounted rate of $18 per day  

Valet Parking: $32 per day 

Pricing subject to change at hotel's discretion 

 

Nearby airports include

Long Beach Airport: 7 miles 

John Wayne Airport/Orange County: 20 miles  

Los Angeles International Airport: 21 miles 

Schedule
Session Materials
Explore Previous Academies
Wednesday, March 29

Registration Open

9:00 a.m.-5:30 p.m.

Breakfast on your own.

Walking Tour

9:00-11:00 a.m.

Join us on a walking tour of the Downtown Disney District located in the heart of the Disneyland Resort to learn about this entertainment, dining and shopping destination. The walking tour will cover the history of the two Disney parks, the development of Downtown Disney and how it has evolved over time, and the planning efforts underway to update the Disneyland Resort development approvals. Advanced registration required; limited to 25 attendees.

Tour Guide
Linda Johnson, Retired Principal Planner, Retired from the City of Anaheim


Pre-Conference Trainings

10:00 a.m.-noon

Take this opportunity to complete one of your state-mandated biennial trainings before the conference officially kicks off. Sign-in will begin 45 minutes prior to the session, and you must be present for the full two hours to receive the certification of attendance. Entry will be prohibited once sessions begin.

Understanding Public Service Ethics Laws and Principles (AB 1234)

State law requires elected and appointed officials to receive two hours of training in specified ethics laws and principles every two years. Newly elected and appointed officials must receive this training within one year of becoming a public servant. Join us to learn from an expert on how to navigate ethics laws and principles.

Speaker
Matthew Summers, City Attorney, Barstow, Calabasas, Ojai, Colantuono, Highsmith & Whatley, PC

Harassment Prevention Training for Supervisors and Officials (AB 1661)

This informational and interactive workplace harassment prevention training will focus on current and emerging issues, and teach officials and supervisors how to identify, prevent, and properly respond to workplace harassment, discrimination, retaliation, and abusive conduct in order to avoid personal and agency liability in compliance with AB 1825, AB 2053, AB 1661, and SB 396.

Speaker
Jennifer Martinez, Chief Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer, Hanson Bridgett LLP

The Institute for Local Government is a State Bar of California minimum continuing legal education (MCLE) approved provider and certifies this activity meets the standards for MCLE credit by the State Bar of California in the total amount of two hours (general credits). Provider #13881

Lunch on your own

noon-1:00 p.m.

Opening General Session: Navigating Change Without Losing Focus

1:00-2:30 p.m.

Welcoming Remarks
Debbie Chamberlain, President, Planning and Community Development Department and Community Development Director, San Ramon

Keynote speaker, Berké Brown will guide planning commissioners through a series of motivational concepts and an exploration of how their personal and work values can produce unshakeable resilience in the face of challenges and clarity in the face of change. Participants will leave feeling inspired to serve as true leaders and will be equipped with the necessary tools to navigate the unknowns with confidence while strengthening their community’s bonds.

Speaker
Berké Brown, Global Speaker, Organizational Coach, and Behavior Change Specialist

Concurrent Sessions

2:45-4:00 p.m.

Fundamentals Session

CEQA: Basics

Hear an introduction about the role of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), and join us as we pull back the curtain on parts of the process, including the types of documents you will see, how environmental decisions are made, and the responsibilities of staff and the commission at each stage in the process. The tools and approaches taken by those who prepare the documents for your review will also be discussed.

Speakers
Mark Teague, Managing Principal, PlaceWorks

Shannon George, Vice President/Principal, David J. Powers & Associates

Emerging Issues Session

When the Gavel Strikes: Tips for Efficient and Effective Public Meetings

Public meetings influence how your agency is perceived by the public. Meeting management strategies can make planning commission meetings more effective and promote an image of efficiency and transparency. In this session, a planning manager and a city attorney will share tips for minimizing disruptions, facilitating public participation, and fostering a thoughtful-yet-convivial atmosphere during commission meetings.

Moderator
Debbie Chamberlain, President, Planning and Community Development Department and Community Development Director, San Ramon

Speakers
Brendan Kearns, Shareholder, Richards Watson & Gershon
Talyn Mirzakhanian, Planning Manager, Manhattan Beach

4:15-5:30 p.m.

Fundamentals Session

Planning Commission 101: The Nuts and Bolts of Planning

Commissioners will learn the basics about planning laws, typical planning documents, and how they fit together. Speakers who have worked as planning staff, planning commissioners, and consultants will introduce the nuts and bolts of General Plans, Housing Elements, Specific Plans, zoning codes, subdivision ordinances, design review, and the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), and will walk commissioners through typical project review and decision-making processes. Participants will also learn how plans, codes, and regulations can be written to ensure that principles of sustainability, equity, and community-building are incorporated in new development.

Moderator and Speaker
David Early, Senior Advisor, PlaceWorks

Speakers
Don Anderson, Chairman, Westminster Planning Commission
Marc Roberts, Member, California Planning Roundtable

4:15-5:30 p.m.

Emerging Issues Session

Planning for the Future: Creative Strategies and Lessons Learned

Cities across the state are struggling to meet increased housing needs in their communities. Planning commissioners often help bridge the divide between community members and city councils who set policy direction. To help address this, many commissioners are seeking training, resources, and tools to not only do their jobs better, but help set their cities up for success. Join a panel of experts from local government, state government, and the private sector for a roundtable discussion covering creative policies, community engagement techniques, financing tools, and other innovative strategies to help meet community, regional, and state priorities.

Moderator
Melissa Kuehne, Senior Program Manager, Institute for Local Government

Speakers
Bryan Dopp, Planning Commissioner, Rancho Cucamonga
Sohab Mehmood, Senior Housing Policy Manager, CA Department of Housing and Community Development
Sandra Moberly, Community and Economic Development Director, Mammoth Lakes
Andrea Ouse, Community Development Director, West Sacramento
Mark Teague, Managing Principal, PlaceWorks

 

Networking Reception

5:30-6:30 p.m.

Make new friends and catch up with old ones while enjoying delicious appetizers and tasty beverages during the evening networking reception. It’s the perfect opportunity to form support networks inside your profession.

Thursday, March 30

Registration Open

7:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.

Networking Breakfast and Visit with Sponsors

7:45-8:45 a.m.

Joint Session

Processing Housing Development Applications under SB 330

9:00-10:15 a.m.

In this interactive session, learn about the constraints and requirements in processing housing development applications under SB 330. SB 330 amended the Permit Streamlining Act by imposing new timing requirements in considering housing projects and amended the Housing Accountability Act by imposing limits on an agency’s consideration and approvals/disapproval of housing projects. In addition, SB 330 created a new streamlining process and vesting mechanism by creating a preliminary housing application. This session will highlight what staff and planning commissioners need to know and be watchful for in processing and considering housing projects.

Moderator
Debbie Chamberlain, President, Planning and Community Development Department and Community Development Director, San Ramon

Speakers
Patricia Curtin, Land Use Attorney, Fennemore Wendel
Barbara Kautz, Partner, Goldfarb & Lipman LLP
Amara Morrison, Director, Fennemore Wendel

Concurrent Sessions

10:30-11:45 a.m.

Fundamentals Session

Relationship Between Planning Commission, City Council, and Planning Staff

As a city official, there will be various competing values and priorities that drive you and your colleagues within your city. Your success on the planning commission requires an effective relationship with your planning staff and city council, where everyone’s values are respected and represented. Learn how to work together while cultivating each of your diverse roles.

Moderator
Meghan McKelvey, Department and Member Services Manager, League of California Cities

Speakers
Debbie Chamberlain, President, Planning and Community Development Department and Community Development Director, San Ramon
Ray Marquez, Council Member, Chino Hills
Eric Nelson, Department Director, Planning and Community Development Department and Planning Commissioner, Dana Point

Emerging Issues Session

CEQA: Advanced

This session assumes some familiarity with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). Hear an in-depth discussion on the process of crafting mitigation measures, long- and short-term impacts, and how the CEQA landscape changes with legislation, court decisions, and agency preferences. Dive into why CEQA documents look the way they do, the role of findings, and what to do with late-hit letters. Finally, some of the more technical sections of the document will be demystified.

Speakers
Mark Teague, Managing Principal, PlaceWorks
Shannon George, Vice President/Principal, David J Powers & Associates

Networking Lunch

11:45 a.m.-1:00 p.m.

Joint Session

Planning Commissioner Jeopardy

1:15-2:30 p.m.

The session will run in a show game format similar to Jeopardy. Attendees will be presented with an answer and will be given an opportunity to respond in a question format. The Jeopardy hosts will work through five different categories with difficulty ranging from 100 points to 500 points. Categories will include: Brown Act (with emphasis placed on Social Media), Conflicts of Interest, Housing, Parliamentary Procedure, and Constitutional Issues. Winning participants will be eligible for prizes!

Moderator
Joel Rojas, Immediate Past President, Planning and Community Development Department and Development Services Director, San Juan Capistrano

Facilitators
Henry Castillo, Associate, Best Best & Krieger
Albert Maldonado, Associate, Best Best & Krieger

Concurrent Sessions

2:45-4:00 p.m.

Fundamentals Session

Planning Commission: Roles, Responsibilities and Restrictions

Planning commissioners will walk away having learned the answers to the following questions: What is the role of the planning commission as defined by state laws, city charter or local ordinance? What is the planning commission’s role in policy making versus policy recommendations? What are the responsibilities of the planning commission that it must understand and implement as a local agency body? What are the restrictions placed on the planning commission, such as new housing laws, Brown Act, Public Records Act, and conflicts of interest regulations?

Moderator
Anita Gutierrez, Second Vice President, Planning and Community Development Department and Development Services Director, Pomona

Speakers
Jolie Houston, Los Altos City Attorney, Berliner Cohen
Nick Zornes, Development Services Director, Los Altos

Extended Speed Sessions

Moderator
Benjamin Yee, First Vice President, Planning and Community Development Department and Planning Commissioner, Fremont

Emerging Issues Session

Surplus Land Act: Know the Impact Before You Transact

2:45-3:15 p.m.

California is faced with a housing crisis. The state has revved up enforcement to accelerate the production of affordable housing including the use of public agency-owned land. Effective in 2020, the Surplus Land Act (SLA) requires all public agencies to follow a process to sell or lease any public property by first offering it to a state-controlled list of affordable housing developers. Learn how the SLA process impacts local land use and how to navigate the sale/lease/licensing of public agency property to pursue public-private projects that are compliant with state requirements and produce preferred community and economic development.

Speaker
Larry Kosmont, Chairman and CEO, Kosmont Companies

Emerging Issues Session

Burning Questions, No Judgment

3:30-4:00 p.m.

Have a question that you are afraid to ask in a public meeting, or feel that you should already know the answer to? Join us in a safe environment and receive answers to your most burning questions.

Speakers
Debbie Chamberlain, President, Planning and Community Development Department and Community Development Director, San Ramon
Robert Combs, Planning Commissioner, Danville

Joint Session

Objective Standards: How to Apply Objective Standards to Comply with State Law and Retain Local Control

4:15-5:30 p.m.

Recent state housing legislation requires that certain housing projects be reviewed only against objective standards such as “objective zoning standards,” “objective subdivision standards,” and “objective design standards.” As a result, objective standards are the only basis that a jurisdiction may use to deny or reduce the density of certain projects. This session will present alternative approaches for developing objective standards that comply with state law and ensure the appearance of new development is compatible with a jurisdiction’s vision. Learn how to measure design objectively, how to differentiate between a design guideline and a design standard, and how to apply a variety of approaches for developing standards that are measurable and verifiable.

Moderator
Joel Rojas, Immediate Past President, Planning and Community Development Department and Development Services Director, San Juan Capistrano

Speakers
Julia Malisos, Principal - Planning/Community Design, WHA
Isaac Rosen, Associate, Best Best & Krieger

Friday, March 31

Registration Open

7:45 a.m.-10:00 a.m.

Networking Breakfast

7:45-8:45 a.m.

Joint Session

Legislative Update

9:00-10:15 a.m.

Learn about recent bills that have passed, as well as top issues that are trending in the legislature, and their significance for planning commissioners.

Speaker
Jason Rhine, Assistant Director, Legislative Affairs, League of California Cities

Joint Session

Closing Keynote: State-Local Relationships in an Era of Hyper-Politics

10:30 a.m.-noon

Closing Remarks
Benjamin Yee, First Vice President, Planning and Community Development Department and Planning Commissioner, Fremont

Land use was once the exclusive province of local governments, but for a variety of reasons, including climate change and housing shortages, the state has assumed an ever-larger role in deciding how land is developed. No one knows how far this trend will reach, and it creates tension between state and local officials, because land use decisions often have impacts on local government revenues.

Speaker
Dan Walters, Political Columnist for CALmatters, Author

 

 

2023 Academy Session Materials

 

Previous Academy Session Materials

2022 Session Materials
2021 Session Materials




Thank You Sponsors

Speaker Center

In the Speaker Center, you can find resources for all speaker-related details including deadlines, presentation guidelines, layout, and structure, speaker agreements, and presentation submission directions.  

Should you have any questions, please contact the education department. 

 

Speaker Agreements and Important Deadlines
Below are key presenter deadlines and directions on how to complete the Speaker Agreement Form. Providing your digital signature allows Cal Cities to move forward in planning and promoting your session, as well as publish your name and affiliation on our website and in marketing materials. Your contact information will remain strictly confidential. 

Important deadlines 


Nov. 17: Complete your Speaker Agreement Form through your MyCalCities Portal and note any specific audiovisual requests. Instructions on how to access your portal can be found at this link.

Nov.-Feb.: To ensure each speaker is comfortable with their responsibilities during the presentation, please hold at least one conference call with all of the panelists in your session. The session planning chair, typically the person who submitted the proposal for the conference, is responsible for connecting with the other speakers to hold a session planning call.

Feb. 21: Submit your final presentation to Cal Cities within the “My Speaking Session” of your MyCalCities Portal.

Feb. 28: Deadline for advance conference registration. Speakers receive complimentary one-day registration or 30% off full conference registration. Please contact Megan Dunn by Feb. 28 for more information. Once that is complete, you will be prompted to book a hotel room. NOTE: Feb. 3 is the discounted hotel rate cut-off. However, hotels are subject to sell out prior to the deadline – reserve early!   

Presentation Guidelines

Our goal is to provide exceptional educational experiences, networking opportunities, and innovative tools that will make attendees and their cities more successful. Studies show that adults learn best when they are actively involved in the process rather than passively listening or watching. Most academy attendees are knowledgeable about the subject, and therefore are interested in hearing what others know and what their experiences have been. Accordingly, we urge you to plan your presentation with these suggestions in mind.

The most common complaints on session evaluations from prior academies are:

  • "The presentation was a 'sales' pitch for a particular product or service."
  • "I couldn't read the slides."
  • "One speaker took so much time that the others were not able to give their full presentations."
  • "I'd like more practical knowledge."

Please consider the following as you prepare for your presentation:

  • Relevant content for experienced audiences that stretches thinking and provides new approaches.
  • Content that is delivered in an engaging way and draws on the experience of the attendees.
  • Examples and case studies of real success (and successful failures).
  • Try to add stories, anecdotes, testimonials, or demonstrations that emphasize your point. We all remember a good story, and thus more easily the lesson with it.
  • Provide tools and information that the audience can implement.
  • If there are other speakers in your session, coordinate with them in advance to decide your speaking order and ensure that all presentations fit into the assigned time allotment. If you do not have the contact information for your co-presenters, please contact us at education@calcities.org.
  • Selling from the podium creates conflict of interest problems. Education sessions at the Planning Commissioners Academy should never be an advertisement. Therefore, presentations may not include any commercialism for specific products or consulting services.
Session Layout and Structure

The League of California Cities encourages our presenters to use the most engaging educational platform possible when speaking at the Planning Commissioners Academy. We recognize that each session has a unique format and presentation style based on the preferences of the speaker(s) and content being presented, but the following examples are provided as a general guideline in planning your session. 

Panel Discussions: 75 minutes, with up to 3 speakers

Presider (5 minutes)     

  • Welcome
  • Frame session
  • Introduce speakers

Speaker(s) #1, #2 and #3 (20 minutes)   

  • Summary of relevant experience
  • Learning objectives
  • Core session content
  • Summary of key points

Presider (10 minutes)   

  • Facilitate Q&A
  • Final comments

Concurrent Session: 75 minutes, 1 speaker

Presider (5 minutes)     

  • Welcome
  • Frame session
  • Introduce speaker

Speaker #1 (60 minutes)            

  • Summary of relevant experience
  • Learning objectives
  • Core session content
  • Summary of key points

Presider (10 minutes)   

  • Facilitate Q&A
  • Final comments

    As a reminder, sessions may not include any product/service demonstrations or commercial presentations for specific products or consulting services. Please contact the education department with any questions, concerns or assistance needs you may have.