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American Planning Association AICP Exam

American Institute of Certified Planners

Total Questions: 134

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American Planning Association AICP Questions


Scenario: Public Decision-Making without Public Input

You are a new employee in the County Planning Department. Your assignment is to prepare the department's recommendations for the Capital Improvements Program (CIP). When you received the assignment, the Planning Director told you that all the city agencies submit their requests to the Planning Department where they are assembled. Your job is to review the requests for consistency with adopted plans and policies, and prepare a formal report listing the requests with recommendations. The report will then be sent from the Planning Department, to the Planning Commission, and finally to the County Supervisors for action. Although you have been given no explicit instructions regarding public comment you assume there will be public hearings before the Planning Commission.

You have been waiting for the list of projects for a couple of days now. While standing at the copy machine one morning, you overhear a conversation and suddenly become aware of an In-house informal review committee that "weeds our unnecessary requests. You are initially startled mostly because the Director never mentioned the procedure. On the other hand, you tell yourself, this committee must be doing a pretty good job. After all, the other departments aren't squawking. And it certainly gives the Board of Supervisors a more manageable list of projects. You ask how this system evolved and you are told that the Supervisors needed a streamlined process and this scheme was devised.

In a sense, you feel as if the job has been taken away from you and from the Planning Commission. You do wonder about it because there is no public input to the process. Is there a problem?

Ethical Issues: Has an important public planning process been subverted to gain efficiency? Are appropriate people make public policy?

Action Alternatives:

1 There is no problem. You can't have a public hearing on everything or nothing would ever be accomplished. You probably just didn't understand the assignment. You were expecting something to work like a textbook description rather than the real world

2. There may or may not be a problem Is the informal committee using reasonable planning standards or dividing the pie according to electoral districts? Find out if good planning rationale, consistent with adopted plans, is being followed.

3. There is a problem because the public and the Commission have been led to believe that the process allows them to comment on all the proposals, not a refined sub-list Write your report to advise the community that they are looking at an edited version of the original requests made by all the departments.

4. Decide that your director has a lack of confidence in you. Why else would you be given a meaningless task and not be told what you need to know? Consider resigning rather than serving as a "front" for a system in which you have no part

5. Other

Commentary: Public Decision-Making without Public Input

Code Citations;

A 3 A planner must strive to provide full, clear, and accurate information on planning issues to citizens and governmental decision-makers.

4 A planner must strive to give citizens the opportunity to have a meaningful impact on the development of plans and programs. Participation should be broad enough to include people who lack formal organization or influence.

5 A planner must strive to expand choice and opportunity for all persons, recognizing a special responsibility lo plan for the needs of disadvantaged groups and persons, and must urge the alteration of policies, institutions, and decisions which oppose such needs

A planner owes diligent, creative, independent and competent performance of work in pursuit of the client's or employer's interest Such performance should be consistent with the planner's faithful service to the public interest

1 A planner must exercise independent professional judgment on behalf of clients and employers.

2 A planner must accept the decisions of a client or employer concerning the objectives and nature of the professional services to be performed unless the course of action to be pursued Involves conduct which is illegal or inconsistent with the planner's primary obligation to the public interest

A planner should contribute to the development of the profession by improving knowledge and techniques, making work relevant to solutions of community problems, and increasing public understanding of planning activities. A planner should treat fairly the professional views of qualified colleagues and members of other professions.


Each of the following may constitute a conflict of interest for a public planner under the AICP Code of Ethics EXCEPT:



An oil company is interested in building a refinery on several thousand acres of waterfront property that the company owns. The general plan classifies this area as recreational and residential. The oil company files a re-zoning application to change this area to a heavy industrial classification. The planning director opposes the rezoning amendment stating that the scenic area is a valuable natural resource. Assume that the planning agency acted legally in all respects (proper notice, etc.). However, the county commissioners approve the amendment.

A group of residents who live near the proposed refinery site take the case to court and subpoena the planning director to testify. The planning director provides some information to the citizens' group as they prepare their case and also testifies truthfully in court about the value of the property to the community. Under the AICP Code of Ethics, all the following are true about the behavior of the planning director EXCEPT:



A pro-development city manager tells you, the planner, that you must provide findings to support a shift in a natural resources boundary in order to accommodate a particular development. What might you do if your findings do not support the shift but there is pressure from the city manager to provide findings that are contrary to your findings?



A pro-development city manager tells you, the planner, that you must provide findings to support a shift in a natural resources boundary in order to accommodate a particular development. What might you do?

Question: 1 Answer: A
Question: 2 Answer: C
Question: 3 Answer: B
Question: 4 Answer: A
Question: 5 Answer: B

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