Zoning Administrator Certificate Program to be offered beginning February 2013

Michigan State University (MSU) Extension and the Planning and Zoning Center at MSU are again hosting the Zoning Administrator Certificate Program beginning February 2013.

In Michigan, the zoning administrator is the single most important individual for a community’s zoning program. Often that person is the “face” for the community for newcomers and the only contact the public has concerning zoning and land use. The zoning administrator is a key individual in the development of the community because his/her decisions have long-term impacts on a community. Errors made often cannot be corrected and neighborhoods and communities must live with the consequences. Also, decisions can have major financial repercussions if those decisions result in violation of various constitutional rights including due process, equal protection, property rights, and so on. Needless to say, a highly knowledgeable zoning administrator is a valuable asset for every community.

The Zoning Administrator Certificate Program is a rigorous training that includes eight, three-hour modules (24 hours of instruction) on the following topics:

  • Job description, responsibilities and basic ethics
  • Legal Issues
  • Reviewing applications: common procedures and use of forms
  • Reviewing plot plans and site plans
  • Inspections and violations
  • Preparing files, reports and record keeping
  • Interactions with other professionals and agencies and departmental duties
  • Customer service and counter behavior

The program builds on the basic knowledge and skills taught in the MSU Extension Citizen Planner Fundamentals of Planning and Zoning program and completion of Citizen Planner is a prerequisite, with some exceptions, for an individual to enroll in the Zoning Administrator Certificate Program.

Offered annually in the spring since 2009, nearly all program participants would recommend all zoning administrators and all consultants providing zoning services to attend Zoning Administrator Certificate Program. Further, 81 percent of participants rated the program as excellent. As a testament to the quality of the program, many communities have included language in their employment advertisements for zoning administrator positions such as “MSU Extension Zoning Administrator Certificate candidates preferred,” or “obtaining MSU Extension Zoning Administrator Certificate within one year of hire required.”

The Zoning Administrator Certificate Program will be held at two locations in 2013:

  • St. Ignace, Mich.: Feb. 18-20
  • Oakland, Mich.: Feb. 26; March 5, 12 and 19

The program in St. Ignace will be conducted over three consecutive days from Feb. 18-20, 2013. The program in Oakland will be conducted on Tuesdays, four weeks in a row beginning Feb. 26.

Instructors for the program include:

  • Mark Wyckoff, FAICP – Director of Planning and Zoning Center at MSU as well as Senior Associate Director of the Land Policy Institute.
  • Kurt Schindler, AICP – MSU Extension Regional Land Policy Educator
  • Glenn Pape – MSU Extension Regional Land Policy Educator
  • Brad Neumann, AICP – MSU Extension Regional Land Policy Educator
  • Richard Wooten, AICP – MSU Extension Regional Land Policy Educator

For further information and registration, visit the MSU Planning and Zoning Center website.

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