"It’s not often planning commissions get volunteers to offer the level of expertise on land use matters like the kind professional planners bring," says Mark Apel, who offers 7 tips for professional planners to observe when serving on a local planning and zoning commission. Why serve? Not only are you providing a great contribution to your community, but the experience lets planners "see things from the other side of the table, so to speak. This is true in terms of better understanding your community’s staff limitations as well as having a more personal stake in the decisions you make for your community."
In his op-ed, Apel details the following pointers for professional planners who wear both hats: