About the Promised Lands Section

Welcome to the Promised Lands!

Comments or questions are always welcome. Below is a roster of our section leadership. You can fill out this contact form to get a hold of us.

Chair Laura Tefft
Vice Chair Lindsay Robin, AICP
Immediate Past Chair Jason Green, AICP
Treasurer Chris Scott, AICP
Secretary Katie Woellner, AICP
Professional Development Officer (PDO)
Legislative Committee Chair
Social Media and Marketing Committee Chair


The Promised Lands Section of the American Planning Association, Florida Chapter consists of professional planners, attorneys, architects, engineers, city and county officials, private sector consultants, real estate professionals, active citizens and others interested in the planning profession and the impact planning can have on Southwest Florida.

WHAT WE DO: The Promised Lands Section works to advance the art and science of planning through the sharing of information, ideas, and experience. We provide a local connection to the American Planning Association (APA) and the APA Florida Chapter.

WHERE WE ARE: The Promised Lands Section is on Florida’s Gulf Coast and consists of Charlotte, Collier, DeSoto, Glades, Hendry, and Lee Counties. We cover from Everglades City, Naples, Fort Myers, LaBelle, Arcadia, to Punta Gorda and many other fine communities. We’ve got urban, suburban and rural places – including beautiful coastal communities on the Gulf of Mexico.

WHY?: There are many good reasons to become active in the Promised Lands Section:

Professional development – Need AICP credits? We have them. Our Section sponsors and organizes excellent local programming that qualifies for AICP/CM credits including planning law and ethics. Being active – as an officer or a volunteer – also provides for leadership opportunities and acquisition of new and relevant skills in your profession. We provide assistance for those interested in studying for and taking the AICP examination. We also seek to mentor planners as they begin their careers in planning.

Networking – Need career advancement? Maybe you are just starting a career in planning. Being active in your local Section you will meet new planners and get to know ones you already know a little better. It’s also a good way to connect with planners from all over the region the state and the country. We also seek partnerships with organizations outside the planning field.

Socializing – Need friends? The Promised Lands Section knows how to have a good time. We can help you with social and/or educational event – through our regular “Land Lines” newsletter, email blasts to our members, announcements on our website – even with food, funding, or other logistics. We’re here to help and hopefully have a good time while we are at it. We encourage planners, students, citizens, elected officials, appointed officials and others to join us at our events and as members of the APA.

WHY PROMISED LANDS?: Promised Lands was the title of a three-volume book series, produced by Inform, in 1973. It was about pre-platted lot developments throughout the United States. Pre-platted communities in Lee and Charlotte County were featured prominently such as Lehigh Acres, Cape Coral and Port Charlotte. Every county in the Section has a General Development Corporation (GDC) or similar subdivision within it. The region has a colorful history – like much of Florida. Back in the 1950s, 60s and 70s paradise was “Promised” for $10 down, $10 a month, for 10 years. Today planners live with and work with this legacy and the challenges that go with it.

SO WHO’S ROLAND EASTWOOD?: Glad you asked. The Promised Lands Section presents the Roland Eastwood Annual Planner of Distinction Award to one of our local planners for their outstanding service to the planning profession (typically at our Holiday Party in December). Eastwood was the first director of the Southwest Florida Regional Planning Council from 1974 to 1982. He served as Lee County Commissioner from 1982 to 1990. He was a practicing land use attorney of legendary proportions. Part of Mr. Eastwood’s lore was his key role in the halting of a massive development on Estero Bay in Lee County. The plan was to build 26,500 dwelling units on top of approximately 6,500 acres of pristine Florida wetlands. Fortunately those wetlands are still there today and in public ownership thanks to the efforts of Eastwood, other attorneys, planners, citizens and environmentalists.

“He allowed young planners to think, and dream, and do,” according to Wayne Daltry, FAICP – who also served as Director of the Southwest Florida Regional Planning Council.

Roland Eastwood Planner of the Year Award recipients include:

  • 2000 Neno Spagna
  • 2001 Wayne Daltry, FAICP
  • 2002 Bill Spikowski, FAICP
  • 2003 Sharon Jenkins-Owen, AICP
  • 2004 Ron Lee
  • 2005 Glenn Ahlert
  • 2007 David Burr, AICP & Rep. Mike Davis
  • 2008 Mary Gibbs, FAICP
  • 2009 Patricia Newton, AICP
  • 2010 Vince Cautero, AICP
  • 2011 Dan Trescott, AICP
  • 2012 Debrah Forester, AICP
  • 2013 Julia B. Davis, AICP
  • 2014 David Crawford, AICP
  • 2015 Jim LaRue, AICP
  • 2016 Pamela E. Houck
  • 2017 Robert “Bob” Mulhere, FAICP
  • 2018 Alexis Crespo, AICP
  • 2019: Mitchell Austin, AICP
  • 2021 Jacqueline Genson, AICP
  • 2022 David Loveland, AICP
  • 2023 Tony Palermo, AICP

We encourage you to become part of the legacy that is the Promised Lands!