Nevada Planning Awards

The Chapter's Planning Awards Program recognizes individuals, organizations and communities for outstanding contributions to planning in their area. Any Chapter member may nominate plans, projects, programs, individuals, or organizations to several categories.  The Awards Committee evaluates nominees based on originality and innovation, engagement, implementation and effectiveness, quality, and promotion of planning.

2021 Award Winners

Award honorees will be notified by the Chapter President and will be invited to attend the Awards Luncheon to be held at the Next Conference...

The Nevada Chapter of the American Planning Association encourages excellence in planning. The Chapter’s DeBoer Awards are named after Saco Reink DeBoer, author of the Boulder City plan and one of the master city planners of the twentieth century. The awards honor excellence in planning projects and individual initiative. Winners represent the best efforts of the planning community that affect the Silver State in a positive way.

Outstanding Plan

Carson City Safe Routes to School Master Plan

Headway Transportation recently assisted the Western Nevada Safe Routes to School program and Carson City Public Works in developing their first Safe Routes to School (SRTS) Master Plan for all six public elementary schools and two public middle schools. This holistic and comprehensive plan enhanced the standard SRTS planning process with unique and forward-thinking processes and recommendations. 

Outstanding Implementation

Water Street Plaza, Henderson

A portion of Water Street, directly adjacent to the Water Street Plaza has been transformed into a Festival Street featuring no curbs, narrow drive lanes and artistic gates that can be used to close Water Street to traffic for certain events. Inspired by community input and festival street concepts in other major U.S. Cities, Water Street is now more pedestrian and transit friendly while still allowing for vehicle traffic. Additionally, the plaza concept allows for public art to be incorporated into its design, an important component of fostering a sense of place. Currently, artistic elements can be found in the shade structures near the playground and viewing area, as well as through various seating components around the plaza. Advanced, color-changing LED lighting fixtures also seek to illuminate the visitor experience at night.

Outstanding Rural Plan

Douglas County 2020 Master Plan

Douglas County's 1980 General Plan was overhauled in April 1996 and updated in 2001, 2006, and last updated in 2011. The current update which is subject of this nomination "Douglas County 2020 Master Plan" was started after a joint workshop in February 2016 and was approved by the Planning Commission, but never adopted by the Board of Commissioners. After a hold on the project and several staff changes, at a joint Board of Commissioners/Planning Commission Workshop in March of 2020 direction was given to staff to re-start the update of the Master Plan. Pursuant to direction provided at this joint workshop, the layout of the Plan Elements was reconfigured, and graphics and user-friendly elements improved for easier readability by the members of the public.

Four core Douglas County Community Development staff members worked on the update while still carrying out daily planning and permitting operations. County staff was assisted by 2-3 team members of the local planning consulting firm Wood Rodgers, based in  Reno and well versed in Northern Nevada's environment, opportunities and challenges.

2021 Outstanding Individual Project

Talus Valley (Daybreak Planned Unit Development)

The Talus Valley master planned community encompasses 980± acres, formerly known as Butler Ranch, located in southeast Reno.  The Talus Valley project, formerly identified as the "Daybreak Planned Unit Development" received final approval by the City of Reno on July 22, 2020 for up to 3,995 units, approximately 45 acres of commercial, and over 350 acres (approximately 35%) Parks, Greenways and Open Space.

The master planned community will include a number of community elements such as school sites, three neighborhood parks and a larger centrally located community park, and town center with commercial and retail opportunities.  An area of focus for Talus Valley was ensuring the community would be well connected through a series of shared use paths that not only connect residential areas to the town center and open space, but will also connect to the surrounding trail network along Veteran's Parkway and the Damonte Ranch area to the south. Thomas Creek flows into the property before entering Steamboat Creek and was historically disturbed and dammed to construct a pond to provide irrigation to the ranch's agricultural uses. The Project includes plans to restore Thomas Creek through the property with new enhanced wetlands that will include trail connectivity and interpretive signage for the community to enjoy. In addition to the restoration of Thomas Creek and other site wetlands, the Project also includes a large area that will be used for increased flood storage providing benefits for the region at large. 

Outstanding Public Outreach & Journalism

Strategic Outreach Supports COVID-19 Recovery for Henderson’s Most Vulnerable

The “Vulnerable Populations Outreach” endeavor was a collaborative effort to strengthen our local nonprofit network, more efficiently share information and reduce lag times for targeted assistance, expedite data analysis and target future outreach efforts accordingly (based on real world monitoring of calls for assistance by zip code and by topic), gather and create collective resource collateral material, conduct grassroots outreach to get resources to those typically harder to reach as well as manage and implement strategic COVID-19 specific neighborhood programs. These key functions were conducted in-tandem with a full-scale outreach push featuring designated website content, social media posts, flyer creation, translation, QR codes, email blasts, newsletter inclusion, press releases and creative event attendance such as drive thru vaccination events and food pantry flyer distribution with appropriate social distancing practices and use of protective equipment per CDC Guidelines.  

We activated regional partnerships, leveraged relationships with external stakeholders and the public to identify assets and share information quickly, expanding Henderson’s capacity to meet the urgent needs in the community.  The City’s ability to distribute relevant information quickly and strategically expanded the City’s capacity to respond to the pandemic and reduce its impact on our vulnerable populations. We also established the Community Ambassador program which consisted of a team of culturally competent experts to reach typically hard-to-reach populations. The Ambassador program raised awareness about available assistance and connected residents to resources. Ambassadors attended more than 20 events, connected with more than 50 community partners, and conducted grassroots outreach to apartment complexes, churches, food pantries, senior centers, libraries, childcare providers, schools, employers, and other targeted locations to ensure that the most vulnerable populations had access to much needed resources.

Planners led the facilitation of the planning process, stakeholder outreach, and content creation to address key areas in the COVID-19 Recovery Plan. They directed action planning exercises including gathering more than 100 COVID-19 impact survey responses from external stakeholders representing vulnerable populations, hosting more than 20 virtual meetings to gain consensus, facilitating the collaborative process that involved 15 City departments, as well as spearheading the professional document layout and formal plan for acceptance by City Council. 

Distinguished Leadership - Professional Planner

Jeff Hardcastle, AICP

Jeff's service as the State Demographer and as a long-time member of both the NVAPA and the APA has helped shape the growth and development of individual communities throughout the state.  Jeff is widely respected throughout the state and throughout the state's planning profession as a true professional who has dedicated himself to ensuring that estimates and publications from the State Demographer's Office accurately reflects the changing socio-demographic, economic, and housing profiles of Nevada's communities in order to ensure effective development, implementation and administration of public policy at the local community, county, and state level.  Jeff has routinely made himself available to the NVAPA for annual conference presentations and section-level educational sessions with the goal of helping increase understanding and awareness of the resources and activities of the State Demographer's Office, the role that socio-demographic, economic, and housing characteristics play in public policy development, implementation, and administration and in the state's federal representation and share of federal resources. 

Distinguished Leadership - Citizen Planner

Karen Mullen-Ehly

Karen is a unique advocate who has a true passion for Parks and Recreation and the great Nevada outdoors.  Karen's leadership and unselfish dedication has made huge impacts on the planning process for Parks and Recreation, she helped lay the foundation for so many great projects on the ground today, and continues to play a role in shaping the future. Nobody can match the unpaid hours Karen has contributed to ensure Parks and Recreation planning is more than just a typical planning process, it is projects on the ground. Karen rolls up her sleeves and goes to work for the benefit of many, never for herself.

Distinguished Leadership - Elected Official

Councilman Brian Knudsen

Brian always strives to achieve many of the goals that have been declared paramount by the APA, such as community engagement, sustainability, healthy places, the arts, and small business development. It is rare to find such commitment to good planning practices in an elected official, and that is important to honor!

President’s Award

Bob Webb, AICP and Ed Wynes, AICP

The award honors extraordinary service to the Chapter, as well as individuals or groups who reflect most positively on planning in Nevada.