Planning Official Trainings and CARPO

About Planning Official Trainings

Attending a Planning Official Training will provide you with the foundational knowledge necessary to work effectively with a Planning Commission. You will learn:

  • Planning, zoning, and application review
  • Risk management
  • Skilled meeting management
  • Good governance techniques
  • The ethical obligations of a Planning Commission

Since 1999, APAC has partnered with the Arkansas Chapter of the American Planning Association to offer Planning Official Trainings. Attendees include Planning Commissioners, Board of Adjustment members, Mayors, Fire Chiefs,  City Council Members, City and Regional Planners, and anyone else who wants to learn more about the work of a Planning Commission.

One-day trainings are offered three times a year throughout the state of Arkansas. The trainings are developed by experienced Arkansas planners who are nationally certified through the American Institute of Certified Planners.

Planning 101 – The foundational training for newly appointed Arkansas planning officials or a refresher for more experienced members. The agenda includes an introduction to planning, zoning regulations, subdivision regulations, a primer to planning in Arkansas, and ethics for Planning Commissioners.

Planning 201 – This training covers state statutes, rezoning, conditional use permits, site plan review, subdivision review, and meeting management. It concludes with a mock Planning Commission meeting.

Planning 301 – This training focuses on advanced skills and knowledge. The agenda includes small area studies, advanced zoning tools, the Planning Commissioner’s Toolbox, and time to discuss the planning needs of specific locations in Arkansas.

Become a Certified Arkansas Planning Official

In 2014, the Certified Arkansas Planning Official (CARPO) program was added. Individuals that successfully complete three Planning Commission Trainings (101, 201, and 301) and a Capstone Home Study receive the CARPO designation. The home study includes reading assignments, a written essay, and attendance at a Planning Commission meeting at another location with analysis.


Registration materials will be available soon for

  • Planning 201 – October 16, 2019 in Central or Southern Arkansas

For more information or to be placed on our mailing list for future training opportunities, contact APAC at or (501) 569-3436.