Webinar to focus on the resolution of conflict resulting from land-use issues

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Dealing with conflict and controversy arising from land-use issues will be the subject of a Web-based seminar offered by Penn State Extension.

Scheduled for noon on Wednesday, March 16, the 75-minute session will feature Eric McAfee, Dave Manhardt and Ben Holland, of the Lehigh Valley Planning Commission, and Walt Whitmer, Penn State senior extension associate.

Understanding how to manage and plan for controversial natural-resource and land-use issues is an increasingly important skill set for planners, public officials and natural-resource professionals, Whitmer noted. Effectively managing controversy surrounding natural-resource issues requires an understanding of their technical, social and process-related aspects.

"This webinar is designed to introduce participants to these aspects of often vexing local challenges," he said. "Our intention is to introduce participants to the basic concepts, tools and strategies for getting ahead of and managing controversy and conflicts arising from contentious land-use changes or proposals."

Steep slopes, floodplains, prime farmland and water/sewer service are some of the characteristics that make property suitable for certain land uses and unsuitable for others, all of which are identifiable through geographic information systems, according to McAfee. 

"An approach to addressing land-use conflicts is the 'Land-Use Conflict Identification Strategy,' or LUCIS," he said. "The LUCIS model, developed at the University of Florida, identifies areas where specific land uses, as well as land-use conflicts, can occur. LUCIS can set the framework to develop future land-use scenarios and help identify opportunities and conflicts between future land uses including agriculture, urban development and conservation."

The Lehigh Valley Planning Commission team members will discuss their plans to utilize and adapt the LUCIS model to guide policy decisions in the Southwest Lehigh Multi-municipal Comprehensive Plan, creating multiple future land-use scenarios for southwest Lehigh County.

Other webinars offered in the monthly land-use series, which all start at noon and are recorded for future viewing, include the following:

--Recorded: "Reed vs. Town of Gilbert: The Supreme Court's New Rules for Temporary and other Signs"

--Recorded: When it Rains, It Drains: An Overview of MS4 Stormwater Management"

--April 13: "Stabilizing Neighborhoods through Vacant and Abandoned Property Initiatives"

--May 18: "Form-based Zoning:  Not your Grandfather's Approach"

The cost of the series is $40 for all five webinars and $75 for all five webinars for those who want to receive certification maintenance credits from the American Planning Association.

For more information, contact Peter Wulfhorst at 570-296-3400 or by email at ptw3@psu.edu. Online registration is available.

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Last Updated March 14, 2016