NYPF Upcoming Webinars

The New York Planning Federation is an authorized provider of training for planning and zoning board members as required by New York State. We provide certificates of attendance for anyone attending our webinars and for those who watch our recorded sessions. Many of our programs are also eligible for Certified Maintenance (CM) credit for professional planners and code enforcement officer/building inspector training credits.

Our webinars are a member-only benefit. Members receive email invites to our webinars. If you are a member, with a member municipality, or firm, please let us know if you are not receiving the email invites. We can register you directly from our offices.

An Introduction to Planning & Zoning

Date: December 8, Noon to 1 pm

The first in a series of webinars which will cover all the issues that come before planning and zoning boards. This webinar will provide a general overview of planning and zoning concepts, includes the comprehensive plan, zoning districts, amending the zoning law, spot zoning, grandfathering, subdivisions, site plans, use and area variances, county approval, and enforcement.

Speaker:  Donald Young, Esq., is an attorney in Rochester, NY, and represents a wide variety of municipalities, advising their legislative boards, planning and zoning boards, as well as their local departments such as code enforcement and the clerk’s office. Mr. Young has experience in a wide variety of area dealing with land use, including, for example, advising on SEQR in relation to a variety of complex developments, counseling on rezoning applications and special permits, addressing site plan and subdivision issues, advising on variance issues, and addressing code enforcement matters. Mr. Young also advises pubic officials in a variety of other relevant areas including public finance and capital acquisitions, the Open Meetings Law, Freedom of Information Law and ethics. He has drafted, revised and implemented a wide range of legislation, including zoning ordinances, solar regulations, wind turbine regulations, sign regulations and moratoria.

Working With Elected Officials and Understanding Everyone’s Role in Planning

Date: January 19, Noon to 1 pm

Community leaders sense weight and expectation on their shoulders. Whether they are elected Council members or heavily-invested business owners in the community, large personalities can have a big influence on planning.  This session will discuss understanding sources of influence, and suggest ways to manage meetings and development reviews to foster a healthy, community-driven planning process.


Presenters:  Diana Smith and Matt Horn

Diana Smith is the former Mayor of Seneca Falls and former President of the New York Conference of Mayors.  She now serves as a Senior Municipal Advisor at MRB Group.  She has led a number of communities through comprehensive planning processes as well as through controversial structural reorganizations.  Matt Horn is the Director of Local Government Services for MRB Group, leading the firm’s SmarterLocalGov initiative.  He is a twenty-year veteran of municipal operations and a thought leader in effective planning.

Part of the Planning in an Era of New Challenges Series 

This is the fourth in a series of six that the NYPF and MRB Group have teamed together to create for municipal leaders, planners, and planning and zoning board members. Local governments need effective planning, engaged citizen participation, and informed decision-making now more than ever.  Yet the challenges posed during a period of limited funds, financial anxiety, and social distancing are creating barriers to the traditional methods of maintaining a focus on planning’s role in effective governance. Based on feedback from community leaders and hands-on experience in communities across the state, the webinars will address the challenges being posed by COVID-19 and responses to the threat to public health and safety, including impacts on operations and the added stress of unclear mandates for enforcement of new and ever-changing “guidelines.”