Land Use Education Program

The Land Use Education Program (LUEP) aims to inform the discretion of Virginians as they make decisions regarding the use of Virginia‚Äôs land. To that end, the program helps planning commissioners, BZA members, professional planners, planning students, and interested citizens to make decisions related to land use that are:

  • Legal,
  • Fact-based,
  • Community-oriented, and
  • Equitable

LUEP is the home of the nationally recognized Virginia Certified Planning Commissioner Program, which is held several times each year in various parts of the state. We also offer the Virginia Certified Board of Zoning Appeals Program, annual Legal Seminar, seminars/workshops on special topics, and customized training programs. 

In addition to our ongoing programming, we work with many wonderful partners across the state and to enhance professional development opportunities for groups such as the APA Virginia Chapter. Our partners and supporters often speak at events, help us to hear about emerging issues, guide and provide oversight to our programming, and provide local assistance, as resources allow.

Upcoming events

99th Certified Planning Commissioner Program
Location: Courtyard by Marriott - Harrisonburg (1890 Evelyn Byrd Avenue, Harrisonburg, VA 22801)
Opening sessions: February 27-28, 2020
Closing sessions:  May 18-19, 2020
Cost: $550
Click HERE to register

100th Certified Planning Commissioner Program
Location: Raleigh Building (VCU Campus) - 1001 W. Franklin Street, Richmond, VA 23284
Opening sessions: June 29-30, 2020
Closing session: September 14-15, 2020
Cost: $550
Click HERE to register

101st Certified Planning Commissioner Program
Location: Raleigh Building (VCU Campus) - 1001 W. Franklin Street, Richmond, VA 23284
Opening sessions: September 28-29, 2020
Closing session: November 30-December 1, 2020
Cost: $550
Click HERE to register

39th Certified Board of Zoning Appeals Program
Location: Raleigh Building (VCU Campus) - 1001 W. Franklin Street, Richmond, VA 23284
Opening sessions: October 8-9, 2020
Closing session: December 10, 2020
Cost: $500
Click HERE to register

Creative Zoning Approaches
Location: Raleigh Building (VCU Campus) - 1001 W. Franklin Street, Richmond, VA 23284
Dates: November 9, 2020 (8:00am - 3:30pm)
Cost: $100
Event description: 
Join us for a one-day seminar on Creative Zoning Approaches. Participants will learn about innovative zoning techniques that are currently being used in Virginia, as well as strategies for zoning for the future. Topics to be convered include sustainability, economic development, growth, and technology. Students will also have the opportunity to discuss their own experiences with and ideas about zoning.
Click HERE to register

Additional classes to be announced in January 2020.


The Land Use Education Program offers a range of online, blended, and face-to-face training opportunities for local governmental officials, professional planners, and interested citizens. Our signature Certified programs are nationally recognized and offer a comprehensive training program for planning commissioners and board of zoning appeals members. Annual events provide advanced trainings on legal and skills-based topics. LUEP often partners with other allied organizations to extend opportunities for our audiences. We are grateful to APA Virginia and other organizations for their commitment to professional development for local appointed officials and all Virginia's residents. We welcome opportunities to connect with localities across the Commonwealth to provide local trainings and regional workshops through our Planning District Commission (PDC) partners and web-based trainings.

Learn more about our programs.

LUEP's History

For nearly forty years, land use education in Virginia has been synonymous with Dr. Mike Chandler. The nation's first structured training program for persons serving on local planning commissions was developed by Dr. Chandler in concert with the Va. Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD and the late John Marlles) in
1984. The nation's first structured training initiative for members of local Boards' of Zoning Appeals followed in 1987. Additional education initiatives involving Dr. Chandler include the Virginia Institute for Planning Commissioners; annual graduate seminars for certified planning commissioners and certified BZA members; and, more recently, an annual legal seminar for citizen planners, planners, zoning practitioners, BZA members, and local elected officials. In the aggregate, Dr. Chandler has trained and educated more than 15,000 Virginians in matters involving land use planning and zoning practices since 1980. In 2008, Dr. Jonah Fogel began working with Dr. Chandler and served as the director of the program from 2013 - 2018. In 2018, LUEP moved to VCU's Wilder School under the direction of Dr. Brittany Keegan.