Resolving Land Use Disputes

Course Description

Throughout the United States, communities of all sizes are relying on a new approach to resolving land use disputes—a consensus building approach that brings all the relevant stakeholders together in a face-to-face dialogue. This course, presented by CBI and the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy will teach land use planning stakeholders how to build consensus on difficult land use issues. Participants will work with cases involving land development and community changes and learn about a four-stage process tailored explicitly for land use issues

This course combines the theoretical framework of consensus building with interactive simulations and exercises based on over a decades' research by the  Consensus Building Institute on land use conflict prevention and resolution in the United States. The course materials incorporate practical experience from citizens, developers, planners, and land use mediators from across the United States.

You will:

  • Discuss sources of land use disputes
  • Explore the role of consensus building in resolving land use disputes
  • Learn strategies to assess the situation, design public processes, deliberate productively, and decide on final outcomes
  • Develop best practices for responding to common problems
  • Discuss and work with cases involving land use, land stewardship, and community changes
  • Link consensus building theory and practice in the land use context
  • Explore whether and when mediation is an appropriate consensus building and conflict resolution tool

Course Instructors

Patrick Field - Managing Director
Ona Ferguson - Senior Associate
Merrick Hoben - Director, Washington DC Office, Consensus Building Institute
Stacie Nicole Smith - Senior Associate, Consensus Building Institute

What Others Have Said about this course

"A great course; opened my mind to many good ideas and new perspectives. As a professional new to the field, the course provided an excellent networking and knowledge base."
- Joanna D. Ridgway, Community Affairs Representative, Oregon Dept. of Transportation

"I didn’t know what to expect with the course, but the dynamic presenters, diverse and highly intelligent fellow participants, and opportunity to do some practical problem solving exceeded my expectations. I felt it was time well spend especially with extremely limited civic training budgets."
- Andy Limbird, Planner II, City of Springfield

"Great course for day to day practical work"
- Gerry Uba, Project Manager/Principal Regional Planner

"The instructors were excellent. Obviously knowledgeable and leaders in their field. They made great use of local resources and making the course directly applicable to the local political climate and issues."
- Jeannine Rustad, Urban Planner III, City of Hillsboro

Sample Agenda

Day 1, 8:30 am - 5:00 pm

  • Characteristics of Land Use Disputes: A Facilitated Discussion
  • Consensus Building: A Framework for Resolving Land Use Issues Exercise #1: What Do We Mean by Consensus? Consensus Building: Essential Steps Where Consensus Building Fits Among Other Public Processes
  • Assessing the Situation and Designing the Process Identifing Interests and Options How to Conduct an Assessment Determining if Consensus Building is Appropriate Exercise #2: Land Use Dispute on Lighthouse Point
  • Applications in the Pacific Northwest Presentation on Local Issues and Facilitated Discussion
  • Best Practices for Common Problems Exercise #3: Comprehensive Planning in Sweetwater County Strategies for Preventing and Addressing a Range of Common Public Process Difficulties
  • Prepare for Rockville Simulation Introduction to Exercise #4: Managing Growth in Rockville

Day 2, 8:30 am - 5:00 pm

  • Open Discussion and Review Key Points from Day One
  • Deliberating and Deciding: Creating and Claiming Value
  • Simulation of a Development Dispute Exercise #4: Managing Growth in Rockville
  • Debrief on Managing Growth in Rockville Strategies for Opening, Focusing, and Finalizing Agreements
  • Problem Solving Clinic Discussion of Participant Cases and Process Dilemmas