Land use education and training to locally appointed and elected planning officials throughout Michigan. Citizen planners who have completed the program testify to the value of learning the latest in the art and science of land use planning.

The Michigan State University Extension Citizen Planner Program offers land use education for locally appointed and elected planning officials and interested residents throughout Michigan. This non-credit course leads to a certificate of completion awarded by MSU Extension. Advanced training through the Master Citizen Planner (MCP) credential is also available. The Citizen Planner Program is offered in a classroom or via video conference setting, or through a convenient self-paced opportunity called Citizen Planner Online.

Citizen Planner Classroom Program

The Citizen Planner Classroom Program is a six-week course offered in a classroom setting or through video conferencing. Participants earn the certificate by successfully completing all six sessions. Courses are held during consecutive weeks at a local facility or via computer-based video conference at your home or office. Each three-hour session includes lectures and hands-on learning exercises. The six sessions provide the fundamentals on roles, responsibilities and best practices for planning and zoning in Michigan, including:

  1. Understanding the Planning and Zoning Context: Learn the legal sources and limitations of planning and zoning authority and explore your understanding of ethical decision-making.
  2. Planning for the Future of Your Community: Recognize the function and importance of a master plan, know the process for developing one and its relationship to zoning.
  3. Implementing the Plan with Zoning: Discover the importance of zoning, learn how zoning is administered and gain confidence in your zoning reviews, including site plans. 
  4. Making Zoning Decisions: Learn how to adopt and amend a zoning ordinance, understand the role of the zoning board of appeals and obtain skills in basic property development methods.
  5. Using Innovative Planning and Zoning: Strategize with placemaking and design-based solutions for local and regional success in the New Economy.
  6. Successfully Fulfilling Your Role: Strengthen your ethical decision-making skills, apply standards to your decision-making and know when to ask for help.

Citizen Planner instructors include MSU Extension educators, MSU faculty, and practicing planners and attorneys in Michigan. The registration fee for the Citizen Planner Classroom Program is $295 and includes a comprehensive training manual. Review the listing of planned Events linked at the top of this page or contact the Citizen Planner office for information on upcoming events.

Citizen Planner Online

Citizen Planner Online is a completely online, self-paced version of the program designed for individuals who can’t fit a six-week course into their schedule or who prefer this style of learning. It takes approximately 15 hours or so to complete, and can be accessed 24/7 so that individuals can do as much or as little at one time as fits their schedule. Citizen Planner Online is completely redesigned and now more engaging than ever. To participate, you will need a broadband internet connection and a desktop computer, laptop or tablet (iPad or Android). Larger screens will provide a better experience for you. The cost of the course is $275 per person. This program also leads to an MSU Extension certificate of completion. Watch the video below to learn more.

Select one of the options below to register for Citizen Planner Online:

Master Citizen Planner Credential

Participants who complete the Citizen Planner Classroom Program or Citizen Planner Online are eligible to earn the Master Citizen Planner (MCP) credential. In addition to completing the course, the MCP credential requires passage of an online exam, capstone presentation and meeting annual continuing education requirements.

Master Citizen Planners may receive incentives, such as course discounts, exclusive training opportunities and scholarships for annual conferences and regional training offered by partnering organizations. The MCP designation is an achievement recognized as the standard of excellence among planning officials and community leaders in Michigan.

How to become a Master Citizen Planner

Citizen Planner Advanced Academy

The Citizen Planner Advanced Academy is an annual training opportunity developed for Master Citizen Planners. Offered each year in early June, the Advanced Academy includes instruction on the latest developments within the discipline of planning and zoning, plus emerging land use hot topics statewide. While the program is tailored to MCPs, it is open to all. 

Citizen Planner Impacts

Read about the history of the Citizen Planner Program, including stories about program impacts and details on a long-term evaluation in the Planning & Zoning News, an Extension bulletin - Measuring Impacts Using Ripple Effect Mapping and Survey Evaluation Techniques and in the Journal of Extension - Transforming the Knowledge Gap for Local Planning Officials: Impacts of Continuing Education in a Master Citizen Planner Program.

Contact

To learn more about the Citizen Planner Program, contact:

Citizen Planner
Michigan State University Extension - Van Buren County
801 Hazen St., Suite D (NEW STREET ADDRESS)
Paw Paw, MI 49079
Phone: 269-657-8213
Fax: 269-657-8212
cplanner@msu.edu

Or contact the MSU Extension Land Use Educator close to you.

Social media

Upcoming Events

  • Sep 27

    Citizen Planner Isabella County

    September 27, 2018 6-9 p.m. Classes will be held at the Mid Michigan Community College, 2600 S. Summerton, Mt. Pleasant, MI, 48858.

    This six-session series covers land use education and training. The course is intended for local officials, zoning administrators and interested citizens

  • Sep 27

    Evenings in the Garden - Fall 2018 Series

    September 27, 2018 - November 8, 2018 6:30 - 8:30 p.m. MSU Tollgate Farm and Education Center, 28115 Meadowbrook Road - Novi, MI 48337

    Evenings in the Garden is a series of classes on gardening and environmental topics, taught by favorite regional experts - held at the beautiful, historic Tollgate Farm.

  • Oct 1

    Citizen Planner Cheboygan County

    October 1, 2018 - November 12, 2018 6 - 9 p.m. Tuscarora Township Hall, 3546 S. Straits Highway, Indian River, MI 49749

    This six-session series covers land use education and training. The course is intended for local officials, zoning administrators and interested citizens

  • Oct 2

    Conducting Land Division Reviews

    October 2, 2018 12:30-4:30 p.m. MSU Federal Credit Union Community Room, 4825 Mt. Hope Rd, East Lansing, MI 48823

    This training covers the process and current statutory and case law for conducing land division reviews. A primer on planning and zoning is also included.

  • Oct 4

    Planning & Zoning for Solar Energy Development

    October 4, 2018 6 - 8:30 p.m. Laketon Township, 2735 W. Giles Rd, North Muskegon, MI 49445

    Local governments are seeing increased solar energy interest. This workshop teaches local officials/staff about planning and zoning for large and small solar energy systems.

  • Oct 8

    Conducting Land Division Reviews

    October 8, 2018 12:30-4:30 p.m. Marquette Township Hall, 1000 Commerce Dr., Marquette, MI 49855

    This training covers the process, current statutory and case law for conducing land division reviews. A primer on planning and zoning is also included.

  • Oct 9

    Conducting Land Division Reviews

    October 9, 2018 12:30-4:30 p.m. Mid Michigan Community College, 2600 S. Summerton Rd., Mt. Pleasant, MI 48858

    This training covers the process, current statutory and case law for conducing land division reviews. A primer on planning and zoning is also included.

  • Oct 12

    Planning & Zoning for Solar Energy Development

    October 12, 2018 11:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. Webinar

    Local governments are seeing increased solar energy interest. This workshop teaches local officials/staff about planning and zoning for large and small solar energy systems.

  • Oct 18

    2018 Master Citizen Planner Live Webinar Series

    October 18, 2018 - December 20, 2018 6:30 - 7:30 p.m. Webinar

    This webinar series is designed to offer continuing education for Master Citizen Planners in a convenient online opportunity, open to all planning and zoning officials.

Michigan State University Michigan State University Close Menu button Menu and Search button Open Close