Awards of Excellence and Merit

Eligible planning projects are those completed within the last two years.  An awards application should include an electronic copy of the planning document, a summary of the project, and responses to the awards judging criteria.  Each member of the Awards Committee must receive an award application by June 16, 2023.  Incomplete applications or those not received by each juror by the deadline will not be considered.  Email addresses for each of this year’s Jurors are listed below.  The Jurors make the distinction between Awards of Excellence and Awards of Merit based on scoring and other factors.  Award winners will be notified via email no later than the end of March and are requested to attend the annual business meeting, if possible, to accept their awards.  

Award Categories

Projects must fall under one of the following categories:


To a specific physical planning project of unusually high merit conducted by a county that is in the process of being constructed or has been constructed within the last two years.  The project should demonstrate “on-the ground” results that are supported by documentable physical or social change.


Large Jurisdiction: For a comprehensive plan of unusually high merit completed and adopted by a county within the last two years for, by or within a jurisdiction with the most recent Census population of 50,000 or more.

Small Jurisdiction: For a comprehensive plan of unusually high merit completed and adopted by a county within the last two years, for, by or within a jurisdiction with the most recent Census population of less than 50,000.


For a specific planning tool, practice, program, project, or process that is a significant advancement to specific elements of planning. This category emphasizes results and demonstrates how innovative and state-of-the-art planning methods and practices helped to implement a plan. Nominations may include such things as ordinances, regulations, legislation, adopted policy and codes, tax policies or initiatives, growth management or design guidelines, transferable development rights program, land acquisition efforts, public/private partnerships, applications of technology, handbooks, or efforts to foster greater participation in community planning.


For an initiative that illustrates how a community utilized the planning process to address a need that extends beyond the traditional scope of planning. Emphasis is placed on the success of planning in new or different settings. Nominated projects should expand public understanding of the planning process. This could include such efforts as community policing or drug prevention, neighborhood outreach initiatives, programs designed for special populations, rural development, public art or cultural efforts, community festivals, environmental or conservation initiatives, summer recreational initiatives for children, or focused tourism ventures.


This award will go to a small area/special area plan, program, design, or related effort that demonstrates innovative planning principles and measures that create sustainable communities that have lasting value.



A current special focus area of the APA Divisions Council is the concept of smart cities and sustainability. This award will recognize a county that has incorporated "smart cities and sustainability" considerations into the planning process and has demonstrated a commitment to involving innovative practices that improve the cost efficiencies, infrastructure resiliency and enhanced citizen engagement.

Nominations will be evaluated for the award category in which they are submitted. However, the Awards Committee may upon majority vote move a nomination to a different category, if appropriate. Only one Award of Excellence and one Award of Merit may be granted per category each year. If the Awards Committee finds that none of the nominations in a particular category meets the desirable standards, they may grant no award in that category for that year.

Nomination Process

A Complete Award Package must include the Following Documents:

  1. The planning document or project submitted via email or provided by a webpage link.
  2. A brief description of the project, including the setting, time frame, significance to the planning field, innovations in theory, methodology and/or practice and other unique aspects to the application*.
  3. A brief discussion demonstrating how the project meets the following criteria*:
    1. Innovation — Introduction of an original concept or a refinement of an existing technique or procedure.
    2. Transferability — Potential applicability in other areas of the state or to other planning projects.
    3. Quality — Excellence of analysis, writing, graphics and character of presentation.
    4. Implementation — Effectiveness of the work — i.e. proposals have been carried out or show promise of being carried out in the near future.
    5. Comprehensiveness — Planning principles have been observed, especially in considering a project's effects on other public objectives and the surrounding environment.
  4. A 2-3 sentence project summary to be used for the award handout at the annual business meeting.
  5. At least four graphics or images (jpg format) that illustrate the planning area or project that are being submitted.
  6. Name, address, daytime telephone, and email of the person(s) to contact regarding the application: project author(s), and project client.
  7. Application fee: $35.00 fee for members of the APA CPD, $35.00 fee for NACP members, $50.00 fee for others. Make checks payable to APA CPD and mailed to Tim Brown at the address below. Please note the project name on the check.

*Responses to items 2 and 3 should total no more than four pages.

A complete award package must be received by each Juror by electronic mail no later than 5:00 p.m., Friday, June 16, 2023 (no exceptions). Please direct any questions about the awards program to Tim Brown, Chair, Awards Committee at (850) 267-1955 or by email to


Tim Brown, AICP
Senior Planner
Walton County Planning & Development Services

Jacqui Kamp, AICP
Program Manager
Clark County Community Planning

Royce Maniko, AICP

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