APA California - Making Great Communities Happen...

Email Signup



The purpose of the APA's California Awards Program is to encourage quality in planning and increase the public's awareness of the planning profession through recognizing outstanding achievement in the planning field. APA California annually presents numerous Planning Awards to honor the most outstanding efforts in planning in California. The program honors innovative plans and projects, distinguished APA members, contributors to planning, and the achievements of APA California Sections.

The APA California Awards Program encourages quality in planning and increases the public's awareness of the planning profession by recognizing outstanding achievements in the planning field. The Central Coast APA California Awards Program annually presents numerous Central Coast Planning Awards to honor and recognize outstanding efforts and achievements in planning in the Central Coast Section. The Central Coast Planning Awards Event is a chance for APA Members, colleagues, and friends to gather for a splendid evening of cocktails, dinner, entertainment and a planning showcase of awards. This is the Central Coast Section's one event that all three counties can meet and greet each other and we can see colleagues we haven't seen in a while and we always have an opportunity to meet new ones!

Click here to access the 2019 Nomination Form or learn more about the Central Coast Section's Annual Awards Program


Learn more about the the Central Coast Section's sponsorship program and the benefits of support your local section of the American Planning Association.

Click here to learn more about Sponsorships



The Planning Academy provides an engaging opportunity for citizens to learn about community planning, public involvement, governmental organization, and other related land use and environmental issues. Planning Academy speakers are knowledgeable planners and expert practitioners. 

The Central Coast Section of the California Chapter of the American Planning Association annually hosts the Planning Academy, a course in local land use planning. The Planning Academy is open to all residents and is expected to be attended by engaged community members, government officials, real estate and design professionals, land use planners, and city and county planning commissioners.

The Planning Academy is designed to provide an overview of local government, how it is financed, and the impact of State and Federal laws, environmental policy, and planning issues facing the host County and its cities today. The program typically includes several meetings to help participants become more informed, confident and comfortable in participating in local land use planning decisions.

In a mix of lecture, panel discussion and group interaction, Planning Academy topics cover a range of planning issues such as zoning history and legal context; environmental review laws and procedures; natural resource management; redevelopment, government and real estate economics; regional government; transportation and infrastructure; urban design; water and utility planning and constraints, affordable housing, ethics and civic engagement. Each evening will cover a different topic.



The curriculum will include a broad range of topics that will leave students with a firm grasp on those technical issues and procedures that dirve local land use decisions. Local subject matter, or treatment of state or federal subject matter, is an overall theme of the Planning Academy. Click here to view the Planning Academy Syllabus.

The Planning Academy is ideal for students including activists, elected officails, appointed officials, real estate agents/brokers, contractors, lawyers, engineers, design professionals, planners and planning commissioners. 

AICP continueing education credits will be available as part of this course series. APA reserves the right to change instructors and/or subjects based on instructor availability up to the evening of the class.


Click here to register Register for the Planning Academy. Registration includes a nominal fee or 'tuition' to cover course expenses with remaining proceeds going to the American Planning Association. 


  • Course registration is $155 for APA Members, $175 for Non-Members.
  • Courses occur one evening per week for 7 weeks.
  • Each evening includes two 75-minutes courses. Each evening starts at 5:30 PM and ends at 8:30 PM with a break in between classes for a light meal that is provided by the Planning Academy. 
  • Suggested reading material will be identified by instructors so that students can choose to arrive prepared for course topics.
  • Weeks 1 - 4 are foundation to the topics that follow in Weeks 5 - 7. The curriculum is intended to ratchet up a level during the final three weeks of the Planning Academy with more technical and geographically centric subjects. 
  • The course topics are tentatively scheduled as shown below, but subject to change based on the interest and availability of instructors. Click to view the Planning Academy Syllabus.
  • Course Topics by Session:
      • #1 Santa Barbara's Urban History and Historic Structures Review
      • #2 Innovations in Housing and Policy Incentives
      • #3 Santa Barbara's Energy Production Platform and California's 2045 Clean Goal
      • #4 Critical Issues Facing Santa Barbara's Water Supply
      • #5 The California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) - Who is Served?
      • #6 Santa Barbara's Transportation History - and Future
      • #7 Climate Change at the Local Level
      • #8 From Bixby Ranch to Dangermond Preserve - An Overview of the Gaviota Coast and its Potential for Public Access
      • #9 Montecito Rebuilding - Community Organizing, Permit Expiditing and Vision
      • #10 Regulatory Reaction to the Debris Flows, FEMA and What's Next
      • #11 Tajiguas Landfill - Embracing Regional Responsibility
      • #12 Revitalizing State Street
      • #13 Wildland Fire Preparation and Community Wildfire Protection Plan
      • #14 Cannabis Land Use Controls and the New Marketplace


All sessions will be conducted at the Louise Lowry Davis Center (1232 De La Vina Street, Santa Barbara) on the following dates:

  • Wednesday, October 3, 2018 - Sessions 1 and 2
  • Thursday, October 11, 2018 - Sessions 3 and 4
  • Wednesday, October 17, 2018 - Sessions 5 and 6
  • Wednesday, October 24, 2018 - Sessions 7 and 8
  • Thursday, November 1, 2018 - Sessions 9 and 10
  • Thursday, November 8, 2018 - Sessions 11 and 12
  • Wednesday, November 14, 2018 - Sessions 13 and 14

Typically, the first session of a given evening begins at 5:30 PM and ends at 6:45 PM, with the second session of the evening session of the evening beginning at 7:15 PM and ending at 8:30 PM.


This event is sponsored by the American Planning Association. The American Planning Association is a nonprofit educational trade organization whose mission is to provide members and constituents with services and information to advance planning in the Central Coast and beyond. Santa Barbara is the backdrop to the APA's Statewide Conference in September 2019 where the local section of the American Planning Association will host more than 1,500 practicing land use planners from all over California. The conference is hosted on the Central Coast once every 8 years. Session in this Planning Academy course series will be considered for inclusion in the State Conference in 2019.

Planning Academy Organizers

Our Sponsors