Land Use Education Program

The Land Use Education Program (LUEP)'s mission is to inform the discretion of Virginians in order that they make wise decisions regarding the prudent use of Virginia’s land. To this end, the program educates elected and appointed leaders, and interested citizens, on the legal foundations and best practices of local land use planning administration and community development.

LUEP is the home of the nationally recognized Virginia Certified Planning Commissioner Program. It is held several times a year, in various parts of the state. We invite local appointed and elected officials, and interested citizens, to enroll in this and other LUEP programs. Other LUEP offerings include the Virginia Certified Board of Zoning Appeals Program, annual Legal Seminar, and various advanced learning opportunities throught the year. 

In addition to our ongoing programming we also work with many wonderful partners across the state. LUEP strives 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.

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.

Upcoming events

97th Certified Planning Commissioner Program

Location: Courtyard Roanoke Airport Marriott - 3301 Ordway Drive NW, Roanoke, VA 24017
Opening sessions: June 14 - 15, 2019
Closing sessions: August 26 - 27, 2019
Cost: $500
Click HERE to register

98th Certified Planning Commissioner Program
Location: Raleigh Building (VCU Campus) - 1001 W. Franklin Street, Richmond, VA 23284
Opening sessions: September 16 - 17, 2019
Closing sessions: December 5 - 6, 2019
Cost: $500
Click HERE to register

38th Certified Board of Zoning Appeals Program
Location: Raleigh Building (VCU Campus) - 1001 W. Franklin Street, Richmond, VA 23284
Opening sessions: October 3 - 4, 2019
Closing session: December 9, 2019
Cost: $500
Click HERE to register

2019 VA Planning Commissioner Seminar
Location: Raleigh Building (VCU Campus) - 1001 W. Franklin Street, Richmond, VA 23284
Dates: October 29 - 30, 2019
Registration coming soon.



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.

Visit our session archive.

Honoring CPEAV: A part of Virginia's Planning Legacy

The Citizens Planning Education Association of Virginia, Inc.. was a volunteer, nonprofit 501(c)3 dedicated to furthering throughout the Commonwealth public understanding and awareness of the need for excellent community planning as a means of making our localities better places in which to live, work, and do business. 

This organization was formed in May 1950 as the Virginia Citizens Planning Association (VCPA) and operated continuously under that name until mid-July 2005. VCPA, as a tax exempt 501(c)(4) organization, formed CPEAV in its image and obtained its recognition as a nonprofit association in 2005. VCPA was merged into the Citizen Planner's Education Association of Virginia (CPEAV) soon afterward. The organization disbanded in May of 2015 after entrusting its educational mission to Virginia Tech's Land Use Education Program (LUEP). In 2018, the LUEP became a part of the Center for Public Policy at VCU's Wilder School.

Just as planning is a cyclical, never ending process, so too must be the planning and updating of our education program. CPEAV believed the growing number of Virginia localities encouraging or requiring certification of their planning commission and boards of zoning appeals members attests to thier passion for well trained and valued citizen volunteers. They also believed the local staff members who take advantage of the same training are better able to provide the best, most complementary and dedicated support of the appointed and elected public officials they serve.

Communities with such dedicated teams will make their visions happen! And the road to that destination will be smoother and straighter. CPEAV's mission made it a visionary voice, advocating for state-sponsored planning schools housed in Virginia's schools of higher education, a state planning office, and educational programming for local officials. Through CPEAV's work came high-quality educational programs and training initiatives for local planning commissions, boards of zoning appeals, governing bodies and their support staffs, and interested citizens. LUEP honor's CPEAV by continuing to provide the means of strengthening their capacity for skillful, knowledgeable and responsible community planning and decision making.