Kurt H. Schindler, AICP

Senior Educator

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Office: 231-889-4277 x 1
MSU Extension, Manistee County
385 Third Street, Suite B
Manistee, Michigan 49660-1718
MSU Extension, Manistee County


Kurt H. Schindler is a Senior Land Use Educator with Michigan State University Extension’s Greening Michigan Institute (July 2010 -present). Previously he was a Regional Land Use Educator with MSU Extension and MSU’s Land Policy Institute (January 2008 - June 2010), County Extension Director for MSU Extension office in Wexford County 1999 to 2007. Before joining MSU Extension, he spent twenty years as a practicing planner in county government and with his own consulting firm for over 30 years. He specializes in land use, local government in northwest and west central Michigan.  Statewide he specializes in Planning and zoning law (process, Right to Farm Act, property rights, ethics, etc.); wind energy; public participation; form based code; intergovernmental planning cooperation (joint planning act); economic development; Placemaking; land divisions; county and regional planning; water (ground, wetland, and surface); and junk accumulation. With Extension, Schindler has had a major role in development of the Citizen Planner training program; training program on the 2001/2002 amendments to the state’s zoning and planning enabling statutes; New Economy 401 on local government action to prepare for the global economy, Placemking, author of technical bulletins and training programs on planning, zoning, and land use; and developed a personal web page on Michigan planning and zoning (http://lu.msue.msu.edu/).

Past experiance includes development of a county-wide geographic information system (GIS), development and implementation of county wide addressing system (for 9-1-1), Renaissance [tax free] zones, numerous park acquisitions and developments, construction of a new county jail, new road construction, prepared environmental assessments for public projects, overseeing and negotiation of landfill expansion, soil erosion inspection, technical grantsmanship, zoning and planning assistance to municipalities, expert witness services, and zoning administration.

He has served as president of the Michigan Association of Planning (MAP) (formerly Michigan Society of Planning Officials), the state’s premiere professional planning organization. He now serves on their Education Committee. In 2010, he was honored with MAP’s Outstanding Professional Planner Excellence Award, the Raymond D. Vlasin Award for Program Excellence from the MSU Extension Community & Natural Resource Development Association (the Association’s highest honor) and the 2010 Innovative Program Award for his work on the Michigan Prosperity Initiative program team.  In 2016 Schindler received the All University Michigan State University Distinquished Academic Staff Award.  Schindler is a charter a member of Improving Michigan Access to Geographic Information Network (IMAGIN), was a former member of the IMAGIN board of directors and was formerly a governor-appointed member of the Michigan Resource Inventory Advisory Committee to the Michigan Natural Resources Commission. He has also served on legislative advisory committees on the subdivision control act, Great Lakes setbacks for protection from high risk erosion, state natural rivers and GIS. He has been active with the Northwest Michigan Council of Governments’ education committee, Betsie River Wild and Scenic River Review Board and a founding member of the Points Betsie to Sable [land] Conservancy, Inc. He served 12 years as a member of the township planning commission where he lives in the Manistee National Forest.

Schindler has been published on Placemaking, groundwater protection, comparison of New Zealand and Michigan land use and environmental laws, oil and gas regulation, land use, planning and economic development, open meeting act for planning commissions, a sample zoning administrator office manual, regulatory takings, preparing minutes, avoiding regulatory takings, dealing with accumulated junk and many other topics.

Schindler is a graduate of Michigan State University (BA) with studies in journalism and geography (cartography). He has continuing education in computer sciences, GIS, jurisdictional delineation of wetlands, soil erosion and group facilitation.  He graduated from Cass Tech High School in Detroit. Other interests include photography, ornithology, books and book collecting, canoeing, forest management and gardening.