Effective Zoning Counter Customer Service

Zoning Practice — July 2015

By Michael Blue, FAICP, Graham Billingsley, FAICP


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This article sets out an approach to getting there through understanding what customer service means in your organization, defining new expectations, providing staff members the tools and training to meet those expectations, and sharing some dos and don’ts as a place to start.


Page Count
Date Published
July 1, 2015
Adobe PDF
American Planning Association

About the Authors

Michael Blue, FAICP
Michael Blue, FAICP, is a principal at Teska Associates, Inc. in Evanston, IL. Mr. Blue has a unique background working in the public and private sectors of the planning profession. Having started his career as a consultant, he worked extensively in the areas of comprehensive and special area planning, development land use and economic impacts, commercial district planning, and public participation. After more than a decade, he moved to the public sector and spent the next 15 years working as a community development department manager. There his focus shifted from broader policy development to day to day operations of development approval, economic development, managing public commission processes, personnel, and municipal governance. Having now returned to consulting, this diverse background allows Mr. Blue a wide perspective in conducting planning assignments, appreciating the multiple viewpoints of various stakeholders, and understanding how they fit into the issue at hand.

Graham Billingsley, FAICP
Graham S. Billingsley, FAICP, Partner Emeritus with Orion Planning + Design, has significant experience covering over 40 years of practice. For 23 years, Graham was in the public sector, first as Chief Planner for Urban Design with the City of Dallas, and then as Land Use Director for Boulder County. His consulting experience is extensive, including projects in 25 states and throughout the Middle East and North Africa. He is a former AICP President and was a memeber of the AICP Ethics Committee for 6 years. He has conducted at least 100 ethics sessions at national and local conferences.