The Lehigh Valley Planning Commission (LVPC) has offered the Pennsylvania Municipal Planning Education Institute (PMPEI) courses in community planning and land use regulations since 2014. These courses are targeted to planning commissioners, zoning hearing board members, zoning administrators, elected officials and others with an interest or involvement in planning. Nearly 300 people from the public, non-profit and private sectors have graduated from at least one of the courses since 2014. Included among them are 75 people who earned the distinction of being named a Certified Citizen Planner for attending three courses, ushering in a new era of community land use leadership.


Due to COVID-19 Pandemic, the Pennsylvania Municipal Planning Education Institute (PMPEI) courses are all virtual.


Building a Strong Planning Commission

6:30‐8pm: May 25, June 23, August 11

Cost: $25

A strong and well-organized planning commission is the key to a successful planning program. While Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code  Article II provides the authority to have a planning commission, it offers no guidance for how to be an effective unit serving the elected governing body and the community. Using hands-on activities and interactive discussions, this course explores the full range of a planning commission’s work, how it can be organized to accomplish more of its goals, and what is needed to prepare members to get involved in the group’s work.

The Limits to Zoning

6:30‐8 pm: May 27, June 30, August 17

Cost: $25

Zoning is a powerful tool of local government used in over 2000 Pennsylvania municipalities, but its power is not unlimited. Community expectations for zoning are high but ordinance drafters and administrators must know what the limitations are and the effect they have on a municipality’s zoning program. This course will explore these limitations, such as those in the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code itself, the Police Power, non-conforming use property rights, and state and federal laws impacting local zoning. This is not a zoning case law update, but it is an interactive discussion of common zoning issues with an opportunity to look at them in the context of the course.

Managing the Subdivision Review Process

6:30‐8pm: June 1, July 21, August 24

Cost: $25

Subdivision and Land Development ordinances are the most common land use regulation in the commonwealth. For many, local planning commissions reviewing development applications takes up most of their meeting time. This course looks at the important work of a commission in managing the review process. The review process is tightly structured by the Municipalities Planning Code and many procedures can easily be misunderstood and create problems for municipal planners and officials. This course examines the complex review process and points out problem areas and how to avoid them. It describes how planning commissions, with project applicants, are engaged in a collaborative process to build the future community. Included in the course are hands-on discussions of problem situations.

Registration and payment is being handled directly by PMPEI. Please see the links below. Course questions should be directed to Terri Dickow (800-232-7722, Ext. 1042).


PMPEI Online Learning Series


Local Technical Assistance Program

Citizen Planner Certificate

Complete three courses at the Lehigh Valley Government Academy and you will be awarded the “Citizen Planner Certificate”. Certificates will be awarded during a ceremony at a Lehigh Valley Planning Commission meeting.

Citizen Planner Alumni

Judith Acosta*

Minal Amin

Matt Assad

Makala Ashmar*

Gary Behler

Leroy Bickert

Becky Bradley

Michael Bryant*

Justin Burker*

David Calhoun

Brian Carl

Deb Chesney

Joy Cohen

Norman Daniel

Malissa Davis

Charles "Chuck" Deprill

Dawn Didra*

Diane Donaher

Mike Donchez

Thomas Eighmy

Mark Ernst

Jeffrey Fox*

John Gallagher

Prabodh "Sunny" Ghai

Ashley Godshall

Zach Graves*

Wanda Gruber*

Hannah Haubert

Ian Heck

Don Heiney

Tim Helmer

Brian Hite

Gabe Hurtado*

George Kinney

Donna Kohut

Michael Kolba Jr.

Michael Lilly

Thomas Long

Teresa Mackey

Matt Malozi

Shawn Martell

Eric McAfee

Rob Melosky

Aubrie Miller

Sandy Nicolo*

Dharam "Paul" Nohar

Robert Nolter

Ngozi Obi

Tracy Oscavich

Pamela Pearson*

Joseph Peterson

Lance Prator*

Michael Prendeville

Vincent Quinn

Geoff Reese

Selma Ritter

Sue Rockwell

Robert Scott

Lori B. Seese

Jillian Seitz

Cameran Smith

Louis Stellato

J. Scott Stenroos

Brent Stringfellow

Louis Stellato

Lynn Tammaro

Vince Tranguch*

Elena Tucci

Karin Vangeli

John von Kerczek

Duane Wagner

Kyle Walbert

Michael Werst

David Wilson

Donna Wright*

Keith Zehner

* Denotes PMPEI Outstanding Education Achievement Award

Lehigh Valley Planning Commission

961 Marcon Boulevard - Suite 310

Allentown, PA 18109

Phone: (610) 264-4544

Toll Free: (888) 627-8808

Fax: (610) 264-2616