For APA Region 1

Position Statement of

Gary T. Johnson

Petition Candidate For APA Director, Region 1 — 2002

Also see:
Why We’re Running in Region 1
Frank's full biography

Region I includes: Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and in Canada: Ontario, Quebec, and Canadian Maritime Provinces.


Department Chair, 1986-1991, currently Professor, School of Planning and Public Policy, Rutgers University and Visiting Professor, Princeton University; Director, Project on Politics of State Land-Use Regulation, Twentieth Century Fund; Senior Research Associate, American Society of Planning Officials; Senior Associate, Environmental Law Institute.

Board of Directors: APA, 1984-1987; Montgomery County (MD) Noise Control Board; American Land Forum; Great Plains Restoration Council; Center for Alternative Energy.

Coined the termLULU,” Locally Unwanted Land Use, and introduced the concept of the "Buffalo Commons" (this link is to the Great Plains Restoration Council site) in Planning magazine articles. Winner, Journal of APA best article award, 1988. Rutgers’ Presidential Award for Distinguished Public Service, 1997.

Books include: Politics of Land-Use Reform;  Land Reform, American Style.

Position Statement

Style over substance?

Adopting a slogan is no substitute for achieving APA’s central mission to advance the art and science of planning. While takings legislation and other curbs on planning threaten our ability to plan and zone in a rational manner, the APA Board continues to spend more time and money on internal governance issues that do nothing to improve planning practice or protect our profession against political and judicial attack.

Instead of quietly planning annual dues increases, instead of frequently changing the bylaws and election rules to exclude independent candidates from the APA ballot, instead of needlessly increasing the annual number of APA Board meetings (extra cost $20,000+ per meeting), the APA Board should focus on building a political and public climate that allows us to plan in a productive, ethical, and inclusionary manner.

APA should:

  • Bolster staff and financial support for effective public relations and lobbying efforts at the state and local level where most laws that affect planning are enacted.
  • Fully fund and staff its Planners Support Committee so it can provide more than just moral support to planners whose jobs are threatened when they try to plan ethically.
  • Address the needs of rank-and-file planners and planning officials in the Northeast where planning issues can be so different from those in the West.
  • APA needs to apply good, sound planning sense to its own governance. An applicant must provide more evidence to get a special use permit than the APA Board requires to justify some of the expensive, questionable actions it takes. It’s no surprise that APA membership is stagnant and planning commissioner membership has dropped considerably. APA needs to regularly conduct unbiased, random sample surveys of its membership to accurately identify our needs.

    As an innovator of planning concepts, I've been blessed with the opportunity to educate several generations of new planners. Too often, though, the planners we train aren't allowed to practice the sort of planning that we teach and that APA champions.  It's crucial that the APA Board focus the organization's limited financial, managerial and educational resources on enabling on-the-ground planners to do a more effective job rather than trying to fund every pet project that comes before it.  Priorities, as in any agency or corporation, must be established and followed.  If APA won't concentrate all its energies on helping planners do a better job, who will?

    It’s time for APA to put substance over style!

     Contact Frank by email by clicking here or call him at:  732-932-4009 ext 689

    Return to APA Watchdog home page