Frequently asked questions: Educational requirements for planning officials

Who must receive training?

A. The requirements apply to appointed officials (members of the planning commission, board of zoning appeals and board of architectural review) and professional employees (planning professional, zoning administrator, zoning official, deputy/assistant of a planning professional, zoning administrator or zoning official). In smaller communities, the requirement may also apply to appointed staff members (administrator, manager or municipal clerk), if they are responsible for planning/zoning-related administrative functions. SC Code Section 6-29-1310, et seq..

Are there any exemptions?
A. Exemptions are allowed for individuals who have (1) a certification by the American Institute of Certified Planners; (2) a master’s or doctorate degree in planning from an accredited college or university; (3) a master’s or doctorate degree or specialized training or experience in a field related to planning, as determined by the SC Planning Education Advisory Committee; or (4) a license to practice law in the state. SC Code Section 6-29-1350. Exempted individuals must file a certification form and documentation of the exemption with the municipal clerk, as required by SC Code Section 6-29-1360.

When must the training be completed?
A. Individuals must complete orientation training no earlier than 180 days before his initial appointment/employment date but no later than 365 days after the initial date of appointment/employment. Each year after the first year of service/employment, officials and staff must attend at least three hours of continuing education in any of the subjects listed in state code or approved by the SC Planning Education Advisory Committee.

How do you document completion of the training requirements?
A. Individuals covered by the requirement must file a certification form and documentation with the municipal clerk no later than the anniversary date of his appointment or employment each year. The municipal clerk must maintain a file of the certification forms and documentation.