American Planning Association

North Carolina Chapter

North Carolina Planning Assistance Team (NCPAT)

What is NCPAT?

NCPAT is a program that provides highly-qualified, low-cost planning expertise to communities in North Carolina that lack resources to tackle smaller-scale and technical planning challenges. The chapter began the program in 2013, as the Planning Assistance Resource Team (PART). In 2017, the APA-NC executive committee decided to reestablish this program as the improved NCPAT.

NCPAT sends qualified volunteer planners and members of allied professions to help local governments, development associations, non-profit organizations, and tribal governments in the state. A unique NCPAT panel of volunteers is sent to each community that is selected to receive technical assistance by the NCPAT committee.

How do I become an NCPAT panelist volunteer?

Planners, designers, and allied professionals of all ages and levels of experience are encouraged to submit an application to serve as an available volunteer for future NCPAT panels. Submit your application via this brief online survey link at any time. The NCPAT committee will identify 2-4 volunteer panelists based on availability and experience and per the needs requested by a host community.

Who can host an NCPAT panel?

Local organizations of all types are welcome to contact the NCAPT committee co-chairs to request a NCPAT panel at any time. Co-chair contact information is listed on this page. Simply submit the organization’s contact name, email address, phone number, and a brief description (500-1000 words) of the technical issue or topic to be addressed by an NCPAT panel.

In general, NCPAT is looking to serve communities who have a need or issue that would benefit from a short but intensive study, and the community does not have the resources to research the topic. The topic should be one that can be studied and addressed by a panel in a 1 to 2 day visit and presentation.

The NCPAT committee will select 1 to 2 community requests to be met with NCPAT support annually. The NCPAT committee will identify professionals from a pool of volunteers who best fit the nature of the technical request. The host committee is responsible for providing all necessary background information in advance of the NCPAT panel visit. The onsite visit may take 1 to 1 ½ days, including field work, interviews, and onsite presentations.

Host communities will support the volunteers by paying for direct travel expenses, such as lodging, food, and personal vehicle mileage. Otherwise, the NCPAT panel members will not receive any payment or honorarium for their technical assistance.

Following the onsite panel visit, the panel will prepare a brief summary report of their findings and recommendations for the host community. The panel will send the report electronically. Panelists are not expected to be available for extensive follow-up questions, but they may volunteer additional time to discuss their findings after the report has been delivered.

Please refer to the NCPAT panel packet for more information, including sample visit agendas and report outlines.

For More Information

NCPAT is led by co-chairs Lauren Blackburn and Dick Hails, and they are supported by the APA-NC executive committee and a working group of APA-NC members. If you have questions about NCPAT, please contact Dick Hails at or Lauren Blackburn at