Although trust research has been extensive and substantial, the constitution and actual merits of trust in land use planning remain nebulous. What do participants of a local land use planning process actually mean when they say they trust the planning committee? How important is participants' trust in the planning committee in shaping their perceptions of the planning process and their cooperation in it? To explore the everyday meaning of trust in the specific context of local land use planning, semi-structured interviews with the participants of a local planning project in Switzerland were conducted (n = 9). Based on these results, the constitution and the relevance of trust in the responsible planning committee among a wider circle of participants were assessed (n = 66). The results show that participants trust the planning committee if they perceive its members as competent, honest, open, fair, reliable, reciprocating, respectful and committed. Interestingly, a considerable part of trust in the planning committee hinges explicitly on whether the committee incorporates the personal interests of the participant. Trust is indeed vital to participants' belief that a meaningful discussion and cooperation with the members of the planning committee is possible. However, trust is neither a guarantee for people's approval of planning decisions nor for their cooperation. One implication of the findings is that in order to evaluate trust-building practice comprehensively, it is necessary to first understand the specific everyday meaning of trust for 'real people' in real planning processes.