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This Land Is Your Land, This Land Is My Land: Advancing Equity and Inclusion in Land Use Planning and the Law (2022 Zoning, Planning & Land Use Section Program)

8:30        Registration and Continental Breakfast

8:55        Welcome and Introductions

9:00        Zoning Regulations to Address the "Missing Middle" in Housing

Kenneth Bowers, City of Raleigh Municipal Government, Raleigh
Todd Okolichany, City of Asheville, Asheville

Learn how the cities of Raleigh and Asheville have implemented zoning changes such as reducing lot-size requirements, allowing accessory dwelling units, allowing a greater diversity of housing types, and even eliminating single-family zoning, in an effort to provide more opportunities for affordable housing and encourage a greater diversity of household types (including homeowners and renters) in neighborhoods.

10:00      Break

10:10      Assisting Heir Property Owners: Challenges and Opportunities

Mary E. Henderson, Land Loss Prevention Project (LLPP), Durham

Longstanding co-ownership challenges as well as outside pressures inclusive of gentrification contribute to today's picture of Black land loss. Mary Henderson, a senior staff attorney at the Land Loss Prevention Project, a nonprofit based in North Carolina, explores the historical context of land loss; the particular vulnerabilities of African American land, focusing in particular on the challenges presented by heir property; some of the tools and methodologies the organization uses to assist clients and communities; and changes in the legal approaches to heir property.

11:10      Break

11:20      Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in the Legal Profession and Legal Practice: Moving Forward*

Aarin K. Miles, City of Asheville, Asheville
Diane Rupprecht, DPR Construction, Raleigh
S. Halle Vakani, Wyrick Robbins Yates & Ponton LLP, Raleigh
Sharita M. Whitaker, Smith Anderson Blount Dorsett Mitchell & Jernigan LLP, Raleigh

This discussion focuses on efforts to promote diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) in the profession and practice of law within law firms, private and government practice, and in-house legal departments. Panelists explore advances and challenges in DE&I, with a focus on practical strategies to move towards a more diverse and inclusive legal profession and to address issues of equity and inclusion in legal practice.

12:20      Lunch Break

1:05        Remote Hearings and Public Participation

Crista M. Cuccaro, City of Durham, Durham
Lisa C. Glover, Town of Cary, Cary

Hear from two municipal attorneys on best practices in remote hearings and meetings, and how this new forum has impacted community participation and inclusion.

2:05        Break

2:15        Case Law and Legislative Update

James L. "Jim" Joyce, UNC School of Government, Chapel Hill
Adam Lovelady, UNC School of Government, Chapel Hill

This interesting discussion reviews the important cases and key legislation of the past year that are likely to affect planning and development in North Carolina.

4:15        Adjourn

* Indicates portion providing Ethics/Professional Responsibility credit
‡ Indicates portion providing Technology Training credit


This year's program focuses on issues of equity and inclusion in land use planning and law. Speakers practicing in land use and zoning law and planning throughout North Carolina provide the latest legislative and case law updates and discuss key issues as we begin 2022.


  • Jannice Ashley

    Jannice Ashley is a Senior Assistant City Attorney with the City of Asheville which she joined in 2010. Within the City’s legal department consisting of 5 attorneys, she has primary responsibility for the practice areas of Planning and Zoning (serving as the legal advisor to the City’s Planning & Zoning Commission and the City/County Historic Resources Commission), Real Estate, and Community & Economic Development/Affordable Housing. Though she has prior work experience in the private and non-profit sectors, Jannice is most passionate about working on behalf of the public sector to serve the public interest in an impactful way and feels that in the role of a municipal attorney, she has found her true professional calling. She very much enjoys the diverse range of issues she gets to work on as a municipal attorney, particularly for a city with such an active and engaged citizenry as Asheville, and she feels fortunate to be able to work on planning, community development, and affordable housing matters which have been long-held areas of interest for her.

    Prior to earning her law degree at North Carolina Central University, Jannice obtained her Master’s degree in Urban and Regional Planning from UNC-Chapel Hill and worked as a Housing Planner for the City of Greensboro, a Multi-family Tax Credit Program Representative at the NC Housing Finance Agency, and an affordable housing (tax credit) developer with the NRP Group, all experiences which she draws on regularly and which she believes enhance her abilities and understanding as an attorney.

    Click here for more information about Jannice.

  • Kenneth Bowers

    Kenneth Bowers is the Deputy Planning & Development Director at City of Raleigh Municipal Government. He joined the City of Raleigh as Deputy Planning Director in 2006. He was named Interim Planning Director for the City of Raleigh, NC in May of 2014 and became permanent on January 2015. After four years as Director, the Planning Department was merged with Development Services in a reorganization, and he became the Deputy Director of the combined department overseeing Long Range Planning, Current Planning, Zoning Administration, and the Urban Design Center.

    Prior to joining the City of Raleigh, Ken was a consultant and Principal with the firm of Phillips Preiss Shapiro Associates in New York City, where he prepared plans, market studies and economic strategies for public, private and nonprofit clients in the New York-New Jersey-Connecticut region and beyond.

    Kenneth has a Masters in Regional Planning from UNC-Chapel Hill and a B.S. in Physics from NC State University. He holds a certification from the American Institute of Certified Planners and is a licensed Professional Planner in the State of New Jersey.

    Click here for more information about Kenneth.

  • Crista M. Cuccaro

    Crista M. Cuccaro is a Senior Assistant City Attorney in Durham where she focuses on community development, municipal finance, and economic development.

    Prior to joining the City of Durham, Crista was a Staff Attorney in Knoxville, TN. In Tennessee, her practice included land use and redevelopment.

    Crista earned her B.A. degree from the University of North Carolina and her J.D. degree from the University of Tennessee College of Law, but she is a Duke basketball fan.

    Click here for more information about Crista.

  • Lisa C. Glover

    Lisa C. Glover is the Town Attorney for Cary. She represents Cary in all aspects of municipal law, with a focus on land use law and development.

    Prior to representing Cary, Lisa was an Assistant Attorney General for the North Carolina Department of Justice, and represented the Department of Transportation in environmental law matters. She began her legal career as a clerk to Judge Joseph R. John, Sr., of the North Carolina Court of Appeals.

    Lisa earned her B.S. in Biology from the UNC Chapel Hill, and J.D. and Masters of Environmental Management degrees from Duke University.

    She remains a devoted Tar Heel.

    Click here for more information about Lisa.

  • Mary E. Henderson

    Mary E. Henderson is the Senior Staff Attorney at Land Loss Prevention Project (LLPP) in Durham, a non-profit public interest organization founded in 1983 by the North Carolina Association of Black Lawyers. Since 2006, she has participated in Land Loss Prevention Project's statewide work assisting low-resource homeowners, landowners, and farmers to retain and utilize their real property. She works across Land Loss Prevention Project's practice areas on matters involving heir property stabilization, consumer protection, Chapter 12 and 13 bankruptcy, farm business and succession planning, and various aspects of environmental and real property law.

    Mary earned her B.A. from Brigham Young University and, in 2004, her J.D. from UCLA School of Law, where she was editor-in-chief of the UCLA Journal of Environmental Law and Policy.

    Click here for more information about Mary.

  • James L. "Jim" Joyce

    James L. "Jim" Joyce is an Assistant Professor of Public Law and Government at the School of Government at UNC–Chapel Hill. He teaches, researches, and advises on topics of community planning, development regulation, and the environmental impacts of land development. He joined the School of Government in 2020 after practicing environmental and land use law for over ten years at a global law firm.

    Since joining the School of Government faculty, Jim has authored guidance documents and provided an array of training and advice to local government officials across the state on the new Chapter 160D of the North Carolina General Statutes. He also posts to the School's local government law blog, Coates Canons.

    Prior to entering private practice, Jim served as a summer clerk and fall fellow at the School of Government, where he co-authored the book Inclusionary Zoning: A Guide to Ordinances and the Law.

    Jim earned his B.A., with highest honors, from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, a Masters of Community Planning from the University of Maryland, and his J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law.

    Click here for more information about Jim.

  • Adam Lovelady

    Adam Lovelady is an Associate Professor of Public Law and Government at the School of Government at UNC Chapel Hill. He teaches, researches, and advises on topics of zoning, land subdivision, transportation, renewable energy, and historic preservation. He joined the School of Government in 2012. He also serves as an Adjunct Associate Professor in the Department of City and Regional Planning at UNC Chapel Hill. Adam was named Albert and Gladys Hall Coates Term Professor for Teaching Excellence for 2019-2021, and he was named Coates Distinguished Term Assistant Professor for 2015–2017.

    Adam's publications include Chapter 160D: A New Land Use Law for North Carolina (2019), Quasi-Judicial Handbook: A Guide for Boards Making Development Regulation Decisions (2017), Reshaping Suburban Spaces: Lessons from North Carolina Cities (2016), and Land Subdivision Regulation in North Carolina (2015). He has authored a variety of land use law bulletins, law review articles, and special reports. Additionally, he regularly posts to the School's local government law blog, Coates Canons. His 2014 report, Planning and Zoning for Solar in North Carolina, received the Margaret Taylor Writing Award in 2015. He also has designed and authored a library of web-based training modules on zoning topics for use by local boards. In addition, he has served as a trainer for the National Alliance for Preservation Commissions, teaching local preservation commissions around the country.

    Before coming to the School, Adam practiced law in Richmond, VA, focusing on land use regulation, environmental law, and sustainable development. Prior to that, he taught second grade in Atlanta as part of Teach for America and worked in historic preservation in Asheville and Shelby.

    Adam earned a BA in history from Auburn University and a Masters of Urban and Environmental Planning as well as a J.D. from the University of Virginia.

    Click here for more information about Adam.

  • Aarin K. Miles

    Aarin K. Miles is the Assistant City Attorney for the City of Asheville. She works with multiple departments within the City of Asheville to include Transportation, Water Resources, and Equity and Inclusion.

    Prior to joining the City of Ashevile she was Assistant District Attorney for Buncombe County District Attorney's Office.

    Aarin earned her B.A. in Psychology from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University and her J.D. from Elon University School of Law.

    Aarin has had a passion to work within the public sector since her time as a mentor, at local Greensboro middle school, while attending North Carolina A&T State University. Aarin wanted to make a positive impact on her community and ensure that they legal system was equitable for all people.

    Click here for more information about Aarin.

  • Todd Okolichany

    Todd Okolichany is the Director of Planning & Urban Design for the City of Asheville. He is responsible for leading sustainable growth, promoting equitable development and shaping the built environment. While at the City Todd has led the implementation of visionary projects, such as the award winning Living Asheville Comprehensive Plan, and has advocated for inclusive prosperity for the city's diverse community. 

    Todd came to the City of Asheville from Fort Lauderdale, FL, where he served as principal planner for the Department of Sustainable Development. A LEED-Green Associate accredited by the Green Building Certification Institute, he supervised major programs of the city's Urban Design and Planning Division, including work related to strategic planning, design standards and form-based codes. Todd also previously worked for an internationally renowned urban planning and architecture firm in New York City

    Todd earned his B.A. in Geography from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and his M.S. in City and Regional Planning from the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY.

    Click here for more information about Todd.

  • Diane Rupprecht

    Diane Rupprecht is Legal Counsel and Regional Risk Manager at DPR Construction in Raleigh.

    Prior to joining DPR, Diane worked as an attorney for North Carolina Department of Commerce and was in-house counsel for the Sunrock Group. She practiced law at Ellis & Winters LLP where she focused her practice on complex commercial business, appeals, construction, pharmaceutical and medical devices. She clerked for the Honorable James A. Wynn on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit and the Honorable Henry E. Frye on the Supreme Court of North Carolina.

    Diane is involved in DEI efforts within the construction industry and the legal profession. She is engaged in Construction Inclusion Week, an annual program, which is an effort to harness the collective power of general contractors, specialty contractors, subcontractors, and suppliers to build awareness of the need to improve diversity and inclusion in the construction industry by providing content and resources. She serves as a member of the Women in the Profession Committee of the North Carolina Bar Association and has served as member of Minorities in the Profession Committee.

    Diane earned her degree in Anthropology from Smith College and her J.D. from University of North Carolina School of Law.

    Click here for more information about Diane.

  • Jamie S. Schwedler

    Jamie S. Schwedler is a partner at Parker Poe Adams & Bernstein in Raleigh. Her practice consists of zoning and land use law, real property development, real property litigation, state and local tax matters, and related regulatory matters.

    Jamie advises developers and landowners on a full range of real property and development matters. Her representation has included zoning requests for large land development projects and infill sites, conducting due diligence and entitlement review on real estate acquisitions, navigating local and state regulations affecting development, and analyzing legal issues of transportation and infrastructure improvements.

    Jaime's litigation practice focuses on real property, land use and zoning, contract, unfair and deceptive trade practices, and related business disputes. Jamie has appeared in the district and superior courts of North Carolina. Her appellate work includes cases before the Court of Appeals of North Carolina, the North Carolina Supreme Court, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.

    Before joining Parker Poe, Jamie was a project manager for an international landscape architecture, planning, and economic development firm. Her experience as a landscape architect includes planned community design, urban revitalization design and construction, transit-oriented development, and large-scale master planning.

    Jaime earned her B.A., magna cum laude, from Clemson University and her J.D., with honors, from UNC School of Law.

    Click here for more information about Jamie.

  • S. Halle Vakani

    S. Halle Vakani is a partner at Wyrick Robbins Yates & Ponton LLP in Raleigh. She practices primarily in the areas of capital markets, securities law, mergers and acquisitions, and corporate law. She represents companies in their initial organizations and financings, mergers and acquisitions, SEC reporting and compliance matters.

    Prior to joining the firm in 2005, Halle practiced with McMillan LLP, a leading Canadian business law firm. Halle is licensed to practice law in North Carolina and Ontario, Canada. She also chairs the firm's Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee.

    Halle received her B.A. in French and International Trade Economics, Dean's Honors List, from the University of Waterloo (Canada). She received her M.A. in French Literature, Dean's Honors List, from Queen's University (Canada). Halle completed her law degree at Osgoode Hall at York University (Canada) where she won the Cassels Brock & Blackwell Centennial Prize in Lawyering Skills. Halle received her LL.M. in Corporate Law and Finance, cum laude, from Widener University School of Law.

    Click here for more information about Halle.

  • Sharita M. Whitaker

    Sharita M. Whitaker is a partner at Smith Anderson Blount Dorsett Mitchell & Jernigan LLP in Raleigh. She is a member of the firm's Real Estate Development Group and focuses her practice in the areas of Commercial Real Estate and Real Estate Development. Sharita regularly assist clients with many aspects of commercial real estate, including, among other things: acquisitions, dispositions, and leasing; title analysis and title disputes; public utility real estate issues; right-of-way acquisitions; condemnation/eminent domain actions; and easement negotiation and drafting.

    Sharita is committed to diversity and inclusion within the legal field and beyond and devotes a considerable amount of time to this commitment. She serves as co-chair of the firm's Diversity and Inclusion Committee and is an active member of Triangle Commercial Real Estate Women (TCREW) and the North Carolina Bar Association's Minorities in the Profession Committee.

    Sharita earned her B.A., summa cum laude, in Public and Interpersonal Communication from North Carolina State University and her J.D., magna cum laude, from North Carolina Central University.

    Click here for more information about Sharita.

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April 21, 2022
Thu 8:30 AM EDT
NC Bar Center Cary

Duration 7H 45M

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