Michigan Citizen Planner: Fundamentals of Planning and Zoning—Cass County

Date: September 18, 2013 - October 30, 2013
Time: 6:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.
Location: Southwestern Michigan College, Room: MCC East 629 A, 58900 Cherry Grove Road, Dowagiac, MI 49047
Contact: Janean Danca: cplanner@msu.edu or 269-657-8213

The Michigan Citizen Planner program offers land use education and training to locally appointed and elected planning officials. Michigan Citizen Planner is a non-credit course series leading to a certificate of completion awarded by Michigan State University Extension (MSUE). The Fundamentals of Planning and Zoning course is a seven-session series leading to a certificate of completion awarded by MSUE. The course is intended for local appointed and elected officials, zoning administrators and interested citizens.

The simple truth is that communities need to change the way they do community planning. Local officials have a responsibility to help their communities manage the impacts of economic change and be part of the solutions to challenges and issues their communities face. Local communities that proactively plan to succeed in the New Economy can improve their quality of life and lead Michigan’s recovery and transformation. Michigan Citizen Planner empowers local officials to shape the future of their communities by providing them with the tools and education they need to lead.

Instructors for the training program include MSU Extension educators, planners, attorneys and MSU faculty.

  1. Introduction to Planning and Zoning: Smart Growth and the New Economy, Conflict of Interest and Planning Resources
  2. Legal Foundations of Planning and Zoning: Cases, Statutes and other Planning Authority
  3. Roles and Responsibilities, Part I: Master Plan and Planning Process, Sub-Area Plans, and Working with the Public
  4. Roles and Responsibilities, Part II: Zoning, Site Plans and Zoning Board of Appeals Process
  5. Plan Implementation and Development Controls: Subdividing Land, Zoning Controls and Non-Regulatory Techniques
  6. Best Practices for Innovative Planning and Zoning: Green Development, Form-Based Code, Traditional Neighborhood Design and Conservation Design
  7. The Art of Community Planning: Participation, Effective Meetings and Managing Conflict


Cass County classes will be held at Southwestern Michigan College, 58900 Cherry Grove Rd, Dowagiac, MI 49047. Classes are being held in room MCC East 629 A.
Wednesday, Sept. 18     6:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Wednesday, Sept. 25     6:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Wednesday, Oct. 2        6:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Wednesday, Oct. 9        6:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Wednesday, Oct. 16       6:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Wednesday, Oct. 23       6:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Wednesday, Oct. 30       6:00 PM – 9:00 PM

Scholarships may be available from your community’s liability insurance provider. Michigan Township Participating Plan offers to its municipal members one per community, which covers the complete registration cost for participation in the Michigan Citizen Planner Program. Contact Rita  Evans at 800.783.1370 for more information. For member governments of the Michigan Municipal Risk Management Authority (MMRMA), contact Cara Kowal at 800.243.1324 for more information regarding grants for education and training through the Risk Avoidance Program (RAP). Other insurance carriers provide similar opportunities and it may be worthwhile checking with them.

St. Joseph River Watershed Management Planning Project Scholarships
If your township is located within the St. Joseph Watershed you are eligible to apply for scholarship to receive reimbursement of Citizen Planner registration. Scholarships will be on a competitive basis and the amounts will be based on the number of eligible applications received. If you are interested in more information about this scholarship opportunity please contact cplanner@msu.edu. Scholarship will reimburse recipients upon completion of the course.

Registrations cancelled on or after Sept. 11, 2013 will be assessed a $45 cancellation fee.

Click here to register for this event.

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