Joel Russell

Joel S. Russell, Esq., is a land use planning consultant and attorney based in Northampton, Massachusetts.

His practice is national in scope, focusing on smart growth, land conservation, consensus building, and drafting land use regulations to implement plans. Russell has written all or part of fifty zoning codes.


photo of meeting from Joel Russell article

Building Your Planning Process From the Ground Up

You’re at the final hearing on a comp plan amendment your commission has been working on for over a year. Suddenly, seemingly out of nowhere, opposition erupts as rumors spread about what they are about to do to us. How you can minimize the chances of this happening.

Illustration by Paul Hoffman for

Diagnosing Your Community Before You Plan

Too frequently communities plunge into an exhaustive comprehensive planning process without first completing a much quicker “diagnostic study.” Joel Russell explores what’s involved in doing a diagnostic study, and how it can better focus long-range planning efforts.