MSU Extension offers Citizen Planner program in Petoskey

Today’s planning and zoning officials are facing significant challenges as the state’s economy changes. The MSU Extension Citizen Planner Program provides in-depth training to address those concerns.

MSU Extension’s popular Citizen Planner Fundamentals of Planning and Zoning course will be offered in Petoskey, Mich. taking place Monday evenings from April 9 – May 21, 2012. This program offers in-depth training for planning commission and zoning board of appeals members, zoning administrators, elected officials and interested citizens.

The Citizen Planner program helps local planning officials face the unique challenges resulting from Michigan’s changing economy. For the past 20 years, master plans and zoning ordinances were often crafted to help communities cope with projected population gains and inevitable growth. Farm and forest land was being rapidly converted to residential development, strip malls proliferated, and suburban sprawl was the enemy. 

The economic downturn changed all of that. Today’s planning and zoning environment is very different. Local officials are now developing strategies to make their communities more competitive in the new economy. Talented people move to quality places rich in amenities. Those communities are most likely to see sustained economic growth. The challenge for planners is to reorient their perspectives, think about their community’s unique assets, and develop plans and ordinances that capitalize on those resources. Natural resources, arts and culture, parks, agriculture, civic organizations, schools, access to health care and an entrepreneurial spirit are all important elements of future development.

Just how to go about aligning planning and zoning to be successful in the new economy is a difficult task. Citizen Planner prepares planning officials during by providing a solid foundation in the basics of planning and zoning, and advanced innovative techniques. Topics include introduction to planning and zoning, legal foundations of planning and zoning, planning roles and responsibilities, plan implementation and development controls, best practices for innovative planning and zoning, and the art of community planning.

For more information about the Citizen Planner program and registration information, visit the Michigan Citizen Planner website.

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