2024 Nebraska Planning Conference – The Aftermath

      Comments Off on 2024 Nebraska Planning Conference – The Aftermath
Share This Article

Kearney can now rest, the hoards of planning and zoning nerds have flocked out of town like the cranes frequent the area each spring. By the time this post is published, I’ll hopefully make a full recovery. But anymore I regularly take more steps during the Nebraska Planning Conference than the National APA Conference each year. Even though the National Planning Conference is always in a larger city with a more expansive conference center, I take fewer steps as I’m not involved in putting the event on.

As always, three days of sessions provided an excellent learning opportunity in the planning and zoning field.

2024 Nebraska Planning Conference

Sessions at the 2024 Nebraska Planning Conference

Rural Planning at the Nebraska Planning Conference

As it was a planning conference in Nebraska, planning and zoning issues for small towns were at the forefront of much of the discussion. Some of these sessions were:

  • Community Organizing for Housing Advocacy
  • How to Adopt a Great City Flag
  • LOVE WHERE YOU LIVE – The Why and the How
  • Action Planning!
  • Powering the Future Together: Private-Public Collaborations for Resiliency
  • Estimating Return on Transit Investment for Rural and Small Urban Communities
  • Affordable Housing Study Panelist Discussion
  • Keep the Comp Plan on your Desk, not a Shelf
  • Retail: The past, present, and future
  • Planning for Resilience: Hamburg, Iowa
  • Coordinating the Comprehensive Plan and Zoning Regulations
  • Tax Increment Financing Update, Implementation, and Compliance

Welcome Keynote Speaker: Karen Wolf, FAICP

Each year the Nebraska Planning Conference (#NEPC24) has two different keynote speakers. A Welcome Keynote speaks on the first day of the event, and a Conference Keynote speaks the following morning. This year’s Welcome Keynote was Karen Wolf (@kswolf25), the current AICP President.

The video below introduces Karen as she talks about leadership and planning. Karen collaborated with a Nebraska attorney on an ethics session that included a great “Jeopardy” style game for better engagement of those attending.

Conference Keynote: Angela Brooks, FAICP

The following morning current APA President Angela Brooks (@ADBrooksFAICP) spoke to those in attendance as the Conference Keynote. The Joint Conference Committee asked Ms. Brooks if she could make her keynote speech focus on housing, an area of interest to her. Angela took that request and “knocked it out of the park” with her presentation. Hailing from Chicago, she could’ve stuck to an urbanist view of the housing crisis. But she customized her speech with plenty of linkages back to specific small towns and how they were addressing the issues in their own ways.

Provided below is a Leadership in Focus video that interviews Angela on a variety of subjects from planning to leadership.

Annual Awards Banquet

Beyond the regular educational offerings, the Nebraska Planning Conference also holds an awards banquet where the organizations that put the event on hand out their awards. the Nebraska Planning and Zoning Association (@NPZA) and the Nebraska Chapter of the American Planning Association (@APA_Nebraska) hand out a few treasured awards each year.

Once again, I was in the “winner’s circle” this year as the City of La Vista won an Implementation Award from APA Nebraska for the redevelopment of the 84th Street Corridor. I was also presented with the actual plaque for my APA’s Grassroots Initiative Award which was awarded to me last year at NPC 23 in Philadelphia.

Throwing Bags for Scholarships

One of the highlights of the conference was the Nebraska Planning Conference Cornhole Tournament! Twenty teams faced off in the tournament, with proceeds going to a scholarship fund for future planners at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL). Once again, this event was a big hit with proceeds going to a good cause.

2024 Nebraska Planning Conference

Planning Scholarship Cornhole Tournament at the 2024 NEPC

Closing out the Nebraska Planning Conference

Once again, NEPC proved to be an affordable source of planning and zoning information for small-town city clerks, planning commissioners, and rural county zoning administrators.