Regional Land Use Education Program

These training opportunities are intended for local elected and appointed officials, planners, planning and zoning administrators, professional groups in fields related to community planning, interest groups, civic organizations, and the public at large.

Extension will provide accurate information on basic planning and zoning techniques, as well as current “best practices.” Classes will address land use, community development and environmental issues facing Michigan communities today. Extension educators will also assist local officials by offering training in planning and project management, funding tools, budgeting and record keeping.

Land Use Education Classes

A sample of available class topics is listed below.

Planning & Zoning

  • Citizen Planner Fundamentals of Planning and Zoning (classes and online)
  • Planning and Zoning Primer
  • Plan Implementation Tools
  • Making Zoning Decisions
  • Site Plan Review
  • Planning for Parks
  • Joint Planning Act, Cooperative Planning
  • More efficient, business friendly planning and zoning operation
  • Performance audit
  • Also: Email and Q&A Service

Community Development

  • Local Economic Development
  • New/Global Economy
  • Historic Preservation
  • Downtown Revitalization
  • Planning for Tourism

Public Administration

  • Effective Meetings
  • How to Stay Out of Court
  • Hiring and Working with Consultants

Natural Resources and Environment

  • Planning and Zoning for Wind Energy
  • Waterfront Development
  • Surface, Ground, water and wetland protection
  • Green Infrastructure
  • Farmland Preservation
  • Right to Farm Act

Customized Classes

  • Classes can be customized to suit any needs

In House Technical Assistance for Planning and Zoning Boards and Local Officials

MSU Extension land use can offer technical assistance to planning offices, zoning administrators, and appointed planning officials.  Services can include a review of office organization, case management, forms and procedures or legal compliance.

Background research or issue analysis is available for complex planning problems; help with selecting a consultant planner or hiring your planner and zoning administrator.

Call us to discuss particular local issues or tailor services to more specific local needs.  Our initial consultation is free, with hourly fees applied only to agreed-upon services.

Public Involvement Services

Best planning practice recommends a significant element of public involvement throughout the entire planning process. But many planning boards and local planning offices feel ill equipped to reach out effectively. MSU Extension land use educators can work with local planning bodies to engage the public while maintaining timely and lawful decision processes.

Critical Issue Intervention

When planning topics become too hot to handle, call on our land use education staff for a consultation. We can suggest practical approaches to dealing with hot button planning and zoning issues.  Intervention options can be discussed, while preserving long range community well-being and working relationships.

Design Charettes & Mapping Workshops

Sometimes a picture really is worth a thousand words.  Design charettes and mapping workshops can help local residents and officials literally “see” how various projects, plans, and regulatory approaches will affect the visual character of the community.

Planning Outreach & Public Education Programs

Do you sometimes feel the public has no idea about Planning Commission duties and responsibilities? Are local media outlets more interested in controversy than content?  Our land use education staff can help your community work more effectively with the press and with public groups, to help get the word out about proposed planning decisions and pending projects.

Regional Land Use Educators

Michigan Coverage Map

The colors and numbers represent Michigan Prosperity Regions. The black and gray lines represent the coverage area for MSU Extension educators in the areas of land use and governance. To find the educator in your area, please refer to the Government and Public Policy First Point of Contact document.

You can also use the MSU Extension Expert Search to search for educators by name, county, or topic of interest.

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