Brian Ohm

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Office: 206 Music Hall

Phone: (608) 262-2098


Professor Ohm’s teaching, research, and outreach focus on the legal and institutional framework for planning.  A news article about Professor Ohm’s work is available here.  Professor Ohm joined the faculty in 1994. He holds a joint appointment with the University of Wisconsin Extension where he is the state specialist in land use law, environmental regulation, and growth management. He also has affiliate appointments with UW’s Nelson Institute of Environmental Studies and UW’s Center for Nonprofits.  Professor Ohm served as Chair of the Department of Urban & Regional Planning from 2008 - 2012.

Prior to joining the faculty at UW, Professor Ohm worked as an attorney for the Metropolitan Council, the regional governing body for the Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area. While at the Council he was involved in numerous regional planning initiatives involving land use, affordable housing, natural resources, transportation, governance, and local public service delivery. Prior to that he worked as an attorney in private practice for the Minneapolis law firm then known as Popham, Haik, Schnobrich & Kaufman, Ltd., where he specialized in litigation involving land use, eminent domain, and complex securities fraud.

Professor Ohm holds a law degree from the University of Wisconsin Law School, a Master of Arts Degree in History from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and a Bachelor of Arts Degree from St. Olaf College with majors in History and Political Science.

Since joining the faculty at UW, he has been actively involved in a variety of planning related projects at all levels of governance -- campus, neighborhood, city, county, and state--and with non-governmental organizations.

He currently serves as Vice President for Chapter Affairs for the Wisconsin Chapter of the American Planning Association.

He was recently appointed by the Mayor of the City of Madison to serve on the steering committing overseeing the preparation of the neighborhood plan for the University Hill Farms neighborhood. 

He served on the City of Madison Plan Commission, for 4 1/2 years where he was involved with the development of the City of Madison’s first comprehensive plan under Wisconsin’s 1999 comprehensive planning law and other initiatives. He was appointed by the Town Board for the Town of Dunn to serve on the first Land Trust Commission overseeing the initial implementation of the Town’s purchase of agricultural conservation easements program.

He also served on the steering committee overseeing the development of Dane County’s first comprehensive plan under Wisconsin’s 1999 comprehensive planning law.  He was also appointed by the Dane County Board of Supervisors to Chair the North Mendota Parkway Advisory Committee to study transportation options related to a controversial proposed “North Beltline” around the northern part of the Madison area and was subsequently appointed chair of the North Mendota Parkway Implementation Oversight Committee to oversee the carrying out of the study’s recommendations. 

At UW, Professor Ohm has served as Chair of the Campus Transportation Committee and on the Campus Planning Committee. He served on the Campus Planning Committee during the development of the Campus Master Plan. In December 2013 he was appointed by the UW Board of Regents to serve on the Design Review Board for the University Research Park.

At the state level, in 1996, he was appointed by the Wisconsin Legislative Council to serve on the Special Committee on Federally Tax Exempt Lands.  In 2000 he was appointed by Governor Tommy Thompson to serve on the South Central Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission Study Committee.  From 2000 to 2006 he served as Chair of the State-Local Government Private Sector Working Group established by the Wisconsin Land Council within the State of Wisconsin Department of Administration.  In 2004, he was appointed by Governor Jim Doyle to serve as the University of Wisconsin System representative to the Wisconsin Land Council.   In 2008 he was appointed by the Wisconsin Legislative Council to serve on the Special Committee on Regional Transportation Authorities.  In 2009 he was appointed by the Secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection to serve on the State Purchase of Agricultural Conservation Easements Council. 

Professor Ohm is also active with NGOs having been a founding member of the Board of Directors of 1000 Friends of Wisconsin and the Wisconsin Environmental Initiative.