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Basic Course Descriptions & Presentations

Our program focuses on the fundamental knowledge and skills needed to serve effectively on a local land use commission.

UConn CLEAR has decided to take the Land Use Academy Basic Training on the road to make it easier for land use commissioners to attend. Using this new format has proved to be very successful with the training being sponsored by both Councils of Governments and individual towns.

The Academy Basic Training is considered the state’s official program for basic land use education for local commissioners. Every commissioner completing the Academy receives a certificate of recognition.

If you would be interested in holding a Basic Training in your region or would like more information, please contact Bruce Hyde at or call 860-345-5229.

Topics Covered

Legal Requirements and Procedures, Roles & Responsibilities

Provides a basic understanding of legal principals and procedures that must be adhered to
so that legal challenges to decisions or other actions are minimized. Gives land use
commissioners an overview of the source of their authority, their role in relation to other
land use commissions, current land use issues they should consider, and their responsibility
to be fair and unbiased in their decision making. This sessions is interactive using
“clickers” and case studies.

  • Legal Basis for Land Use Regulation
  • Roles of Commissions
  • Public Hearing and Timeframes
  • Important Issues to Consider
  • Conflicts, Bias and Pre-determination
  • Running a Meeting
  • FOI
  • Ex-Parte Communications
  • Hypothetical Case Study Revie
Fundamentals of Reading Plans

Assists commissioners with developing plan reading skills including understanding scale,
topography, hydrology and stormwater. It goes beyond the basics in a way that is
understandable and relevant. This session is hands on using plans from real projects.
Participants learn to translate what is on the plans to what it will look like on the ground.

  • Review of the difference between a plan and a map.
  • Review of basic map reading techniques-wetlands, legends, scale, topography, water flow, etc.
  • Hands on exercise: the participants will use the skills learned in the beginning of the session to plan a hiking trail that contains specific features like crossing streams at a specific elevation, avoiding wetlands, crossing hilltops and hits the high and low point on the property.