Join Now

APA Utah Fall Conference Speaker

Wilf Sommerkorn

Deputy Executive Director
Utah Land Use Institute

Wilf Sommerkorn retired as the Director of Regional Planning and Transportation for Salt Lake County in 2019, where he served from 2014. Prior to that, he was Salt Lake City Planning Director from 2008 to 2014, and Director of the Davis County Community & Economic Development Department for 14 years prior to that. He was a planner in various positions with that Department from 1981. Wilf has also served as the Community Development Director for Centerville City, and as an adjunct professor of urban planning at the University of Utah, where he taught a class in The Politics of Planning, something every planner should know! Wilf has served as Legislative Chair for the Utah Chapter of the American Planning Association since 1990, where he has had a role in writing the state codes regarding land use. He was President of the APA Utah Chapter from 1986 to 1988. Wilf holds a BS in Physical Geography and Geology from the University of Utah, and an MS in Urban Planning from the University of Tennessee. Wilf now works with the non-profit Utah Land Use Institute as Deputy Executive Director, and also does planning consulting work through his firm, Sommerkorn Consulting. He is currently serving on the Kaysville City Planning Commission.


Annexation/De-Annexation »

2023 Spring Conference, May 12, 2023 10:15 am

In all our discussions about planning for and managing growth, we don’t often talk about the process by which cities actually grow in area – annexation of new land into the city’s boundaries. Utah state code has an entire section dealing with this topic, and it is … a mess! Over the years, competing interests have jostled back and forth over how annexations should be allowed to work, and the result is what wee have in state code today. It needs an overhaul. Fortunately, there has been an effort underway since last year to do just that, and it appears that the next legislative session may be the time. In the meanwhile, in this session, we’ll talk about some of the processes required for annexation that must be followed today, and maybe what they should be. And particularly, how should areas just outside of current city boundaries be treated, because these areas are often the sites of significant new growth.

Legislative Update »

2023 Spring Conference, May 12, 2023 8:15 am

We’re calling it the Year of the Planner, or maybe the Planners Full Employment Acts. So much happened during this year’s legislative session regarding land use, planning and housing. We will recap the bills that were passed by the legislature this year and talk about what it will require of local officials and staff to comply with all the new requirements. We’ll also talk about some of the implications of these legislative actions, and what to maybe expect in the future.

Your Turn – ask those burning questions »

2022 Fall Conference, September 9, 2022 3:40 pm

Did your last PC meeting leave you wondering about an unresolved issue? Did you attend a session at the conference where you wanted to ask a question but the time was up? Bend the ear of three practitioners that just might have an answer for you!

Public Input is Bad, Actually: Designing Effective Land Use Public Processes »

2022 Fall Conference, September 9, 2022 2:30 pm

The title for this session comes from a recent piece in The Atlantic magazine, and probably jibes with the way many planners feel about land use public hearings. The story’s author says about such hearings, “the process is fundamentally flawed: It’s biased toward the status quo and privileges a small group of residents who for reasons that range from the sympathetic to the selfish don’t want to allow projects that are broadly useful.” In a paper titled OVERPARTICIPATION: DESIGNING EFFECTIVE PUBLIC PROCESSES, Yale Law School Professor Anika Singh Lemar says, “Integrating community engagement into an effective administrative process requires addressing the various ways in which existing public participation processes have failed to serve their purported goals.” This session will look at the processes we currently use for public input on land use decisions, and propose a new model in an effort to balance public input, legal standards, and expertise

There’s got to be a better way to do annexations! »

2022 Fall Conference, September 9, 2022 11:10 am

From Hideout to Grantsville, from Herriman to Providence and Plain City, the process of annexation of properties to municipalities in Utah is fraught with many problems. At one time, Utah’s state code included a phrase that explicitly stated that urban development should take place in incorporated communities. But disputes between those who wanted municipal services so they could develop their land and those who hoped urban development would never disrupt their rural lifestyles, let alone raise their taxes to pay for those municipal services, led in the 1990s to what some called the “annexation wars,” with sweeping legislative changes made to the state code to accommodate the various factions. The result was a mess of processes and contradictory procedures. Managing new urban growth invariably involves the growth of municipalities through annexations. While the code requires cities and towns to prepared annexation policy plans, they usually fall far short of their potential to anticipate and plan for new growth and expansion of necessary urban services. And how to balance the need to accommodate new growth, and preserve the rural, agricultural lifestyle in those outlying areas? We’ll talk about these issues in this session and see what are some ways to deal more effectively with the need to expand municipal boundaries to deal with growth.

= Keynote

APA Utah is Powered by

Platinum Sponsors

Gold Sponsors

Silver Sponsors

Bronze Sponsors