How to work constructively with townships workshop for Agricultural Producers and Ag Entrepreneurs
February 19, 2021
We're going to show a quick video before Tyler's presentation starts. So I'm going to steal your Screenshare back for just a second. We are showing quick videos that the beginning of each session. That is to remind everyone about some important food safety information. So let me just pull up that video really quick And then I will turn it over to Tyler for his presentation. So this one we're going to see this morning. Let me stop the sharing for 1 second. This is about hand sanitizer use. op we got the shot, Okay, cool. We are good to go. Load it up. Here we go. So enjoyed this quick video. Produce safety folks often talk about not being able to sanitize dirty food contact surfaces. The same is actually true for hands. Hand sanitizer isn't a replacement for handwashing for the same reason. When I use this chocolate hazelnut spread on my hands and tried to clean them with sanitizer. All I manage to do is spread the chocolate around. This happens with feces on a microscopic level. When we only use sanitizer, we only spread germs around. Effective washing, using soap and water for at least 20 seconds does a much better job. To help gauge the length of wash time, some folks sing the happy birthday song twice, or the alphabet song twice through to make sure they've done enough washing. As silly as it seems, effective hand washing is the single biggest way to prevent the spread of foodborne illness in produce. Doing it right is the single biggest way to keep poop off food. If you are interested in learning more about food safety, please visit the MSU Extension website. You can search in the search tool for food safety or Agrifood safety to find more resources. So at this point I'm going to turn it over to Tyler again. So welcome, Tyler. And take it away. Thank you very kindly. And yeah, good morning, everybody. My name is Tyler Augst as Mariel said, I am a Government and Community Vitality Educator with MSU Extension. And those are a lots of fancy words to say that I do a lot of work with local governments around land use. So zoning and planning and community development processes and decisions. And I also have a partial appointment with Michigan Sea Grant helping our coastal communities with the same sorts of issues. Zoning, planning, sustainable growth and developments. So that's what I'm here to talk with all of you about this morning is how to work with Your local governments who are in charge of that zoning and planning. And how as Ag entrepreneurs, you can maybe improve that process. You've all heard horror stories of trying to work with local governments are things go south. And so today I just want to go through some of the basics of zoning and planning and our communities here in Michigan and just go through some tips for working with them. So like Mariel said, I'm based in Southwest Michigan. My offices are in Paw Paw So that's the Van Buren county extension office. But I'm coming at you this morning from Volinia Township in Cass County, my hometown of Decatur. My pronouns are he, him and his. And just so little of something personal. I grew up here in Decatur, got the chance to move back to my hometown. I love small towns and what they have to offer. And in my free time, I enjoy walking through our woodlot we have here in Decatur and I also serve on our local school board. So I'm right there in the thick of it with this local governments. So I like to think I have some tips for how to work effectively and we're going to run through them this morning. And as Mariel said, if you have questions, throw them in the chat, I've got plenty of time carved out in the end to talk through some of these tricky planning and zoning issues. And of course, you've probably seen this throughout the week, but MSU Extension is an affirmative-action equal-opportunity employer and our programs are open to all. These are our civil rights responsibilities that we take very seriously as an organization. But they also reflect some of our MSU Extension values about diversity, equity and inclusion. And the fact that our extension programs need to be a welcoming place where people feel included and empowered to learn and grow. If at any point you ever feel like extension programs aren't meeting up to that standard, please let myself or Mariel know and we'll direct you on the appropriate steps to take so we can begin to live up to our values. So in our time together, we're going to go over some basics about the planning and zoning in Michigan and what it even is, how it gets carried out at the local level. We're going to talk a little bit about your local zoning ordinances and what you should be looking for as you begin to dive into them. And then we're going to end with some tips on working with local officials and through the zoning and planning process. But before we get into all of that, I introduced myself. I want to get to know all of you a little bit. So I think Mariels got a poll queued up if we could find out what type of municipality the folks on the call with us today are typically working with. So are you typically working in a township or village, city, county, or maybe a mix of a couple of different types. And your fun non-Michigan fact for the day. I recently found out in Hawaii county governments or the smallest forums. So when you think about Honolulu, it's a city, county partnerships. Alright, gonna go ahead and end this in another second or two, so get them in. And sharing those out, It's looking like a majority of folks are working with townships, a couple of city and county. And then of course, that healthy mix our lives don't often just stay within one municipal boundary. And then another poll that I always like to gauge people to sort of get a sense of the room and it's a really important one. What do you call people from Michigan? Are they a Michiganian and or a Michigander? I mean, I would tell you mine, I don't want to bias the polls though, We're very scientific here at extension. And we'll just do a couple more seconds on this fun one. But yeah looking at that a majority are with me on this Michigander, and to the one person out there I know Michiganian is the official one. It's the proper one. Michigander is just so much more fun to say though. So thanks for bearing with me. It's just trying to insert a little bit of fun while we're in this weird Zoom world than trying to get some of that connection going that we would get if we were in a classroom together. But now on to the really fun stuff. Planning and Zoning in Michigan in about 10 minutes or so. And just full disclosure. MSU Extension also runs a program that spends 18 hours going over planning and zoning in Michigan. So this is the very abbreviated version. Just know we're kind of giving you the bare basics here. And so first is what is planning? Planning, it emerge as a result of a growing need to set some sort of regulations around how we develop our communities to ensure public health, safety and welfare. Think of things like industrial sites being located right next to residential building as cities were growing in the early 1900s. Or things like the Triangle Shirtwaist fire in New York City, where a factory was up on the sixth and seventh floors, caught fire and none of the fire trucks had ladders tall enough to get there. These were some of the big catastrophes were seen in cities that caused folks to realize we need to plan a little bit better and put some sort of rails on our development to make sure that health safety and welfare are preserved. And so planning is basically that vision for the future land uses of a community. In Michigan we call them the master plan. If you've been in other states, you might know a comprehensive plan or community plan. And the important thing is this is just the plan. It's the vision. This isn't regulation or law yet. Zoning is what we call the actual regulations. The plan is just this document that the community comes together and creates to sort of set what they want There zoning to look like in the future. So up on the slide, we have a picture of the cover of the recent comprehensive plan from my area with the Decatur, the village of Decatur and the townships of Hamilton and Decatur coming together for their joint plan and working across those boundaries to plan for the whole region. A key part of that master planning process is creating what's called the future land use map. And here's an example from that Decatur Hamilton master plan. But this future land use map is what the community wants the land to be used for in the future, in that sort of 20-year timeline that was outlined on the cover. It's not currently what's used, but what do we want to see the development being? And you can see on this map, there is a light pink area around the village of Decatur. And they're calling that their primary growth area. So as these communities look to the future, this is the area where they're seeing growth and development as potentially happening. And you can also see the white is agricultural preservation area. And that's what they want it to be in the future. Now, the Michigan zoning Enabling Act, which is the state statute that gives local municipalities the authority to enact a zoning ordinates. Say that that zoning ordinance shall be based on a plan designed again to do one of those key government responsibilities, promote the public health, safety and general welfare. In other words, the legislature has recognized that good zoning, a result of good planning. Those two processes are interrelated and our laws recognize that. So that's why it's important to at least have a familiarity with that master plan because that provides the justification for the zoning ordinances in your communities if you have them. So I talked earlier how that master plan wasn't the law or regulation. The zoning is. So zoning is simply the government regulation of land use. It divides a municipality into districts, or zones, separate areas that have separate uses that are allowed there. So in that also regulates things like parcel size, building placement, building size, and potentially even building form. I've talked about the Planning Enabling Act and Zoning Enabling Act. Those are our state laws that grant local units of government, the authority to plan and zone. That authority, though, isn't universal. It's often preempted by the states for particular topics or areas. Things like the Right to Farm Act, wetlands, oil and gas development, Religious Land Use. And some other things. The state has preempted the local units authority to zone for those and their state regulations around that. And of course, the conduct of government business is limited by several state and federal acts. These are sort of overarching zoning that guide how your local government should be behaving. Things like providing Due Process, following Open Meetings Act, and the Freedom of Information Act, are all other ways that the conduct of the zoning and planning process gets regulated. So we know that planning should come before zoning and in Michigan. We also know that all of our general-purpose governments have the ability to develop a master plan and zone. So cities, villages, townships, and counties, all were granted this authority through the Planning Enabling Act. And remember, by granting that authority, the state can givith and the state can taketh away. So that's where we get into those preemption for certain things. And that the legislature is often hiding laws or modifying things to change what that list of preemption is. An MSU Extension maintains a list if you're ever interested in seeing. And of course, zoning is permissive. There's no requirement for community to have zoning. It is a local choice. So you may see communities that don't have zoning, as this map of Emmet County shows, all of the areas in gray are covered by a local zoning ordinates. So the township, the municipality. The other areas are under the county's zoning, county has adopted, the county has adopted a zoning ordinance. And if a Township does not have zoning, the county zoning would still apply it though. So this side is just kind of laying out how those different layers of zoning might stack on each other. Another interesting stacking that happens in zoning and planning world is around the Right to Farm Act and GAAMPS. GAAMPS is an acronym, it stands for Generally Accepted agricultural management practices. And those GAAMPS are sort of what the state sets as those general practices that folks in agriculture are going to follow. So the Right to Farm Act as the overarching law that protects farmers from nuisance suits. And it's another one of those preemption of local zoning. And so zoning can't regulate anything that's covered in those GAAMPS. The GAAMPS are management practices. And if an item is covered, it's preempted from local zoning, like for example, a minimum of 40 acres to grow a crop that is preempted. That's something that a local unit couldn't enact in their zoning ordinance for agricultural practices. Some GAAMPS though, have shared responsibility between the local zoning. This is the case in both the farm markets and site selection GAAMPS. So agribusiness and agritourism, some of those entrepreneurial activities tend to fall into the shared responsibility category. Or there are no specific GAAMPS or Right to Farm ACT protections. So this is a gray area It's often really confusing both to producers and growers, as well as local government officials. So it's important to be working with your community as you go into some of these innovative agricultural endeavors. So thinking about what you're going to see when you look at your own local ordinates. Typically there is a zoning district or area for agricultural uses. We saw it in that future land use map from Decatur Hamilton townships. And it's very limited to other commercial uses other than farms. The idea is, this is land that's meant for agriculture. There's going to be a low population density that goes with it to kind of keep that expectation of a separation, a distance, a quiet place. Often you may see large minimum lot sizes to maintain that rural character. And sometimes zoning may be a little slower to adapt to innovative practices. And this planning process takes time. All of these interesting diversification like up on the screen you have some examples from Northern Michigan of yard yoga or a, I think they make cider at St. Ambrose, but those things are subject to local zoning. And there may be permitting processes and standards in the local zoning ordinance that are really important to be aware of and to work with your local community on. So, how do you be aware of what standards might apply to you? Are you thinking of starting up some sort of innovative AG, entrepreneurship or doing something out there like goat yoga or anything like that. Before you get too far into your innovative ag uses, you should check your local zoning ordinance, if there is one. You should think, What did you find out? What does the master plan say about the future land use, where your property is located? What does the zoning ordinance or the law currently say about what you can do in your zoning district? And where even is the ordinance and master plan and how do I figure out what's in them? So these are all really good questions and important things to think about. To find your ornaments, Most communities are posting a copy online. We're seeing lots of communities moving over to this. So I've got a screenshot from the village of Richland in Kalamazoo county. That show is a super awesome click through the different chapters of their zoning ordinance, and see what the sections are of their different codes. Not all units of government are at the stage of putting it online though. Lots of our smaller, more rural townships lack the capacity and the just general staff to do that. So you can always call and ask and figure out how to best get a copy of that ordinance. It could be getting a PDF email to you. There might be copies on hand at the local library. Lots of ways to get to it. If you're not sure. Give your local office and ring. Once you have a copy of that ordnance, there's going to be a lot of stuff in there. Trust me, a lot of my job is reading through local ordinances and they're thick. It's a lot of words, a lot of legal ease. But they generally follow a table of contents like you're seeing up on the slide right now. They'll start the title and the purpose talking about maintaining that public health, safety and welfare. There'll be a definition section which is really important. You'll be flipping back to that a lot because it's vital to have clear comprehensive definitions of if we're going to talk about what a wedding barn is, everybody needs to have the same definition of that. There's also the general provisions. Those are requirements that apply across most of the district. They're the sort of overarching rules for the local unit. And then there are also special use specific standards, special districts, all of these other categories that may come into play. But just know that your table of contents, like any book, the zoning ordinance book, is going to point you in the right direction. But reading through some of these first three is the best place to start, and then finding your specific district for the property in question and figuring out what that zoning district is and what is specific to it. So thinking about the audience today, here at Michigan AG ideas to grow with. It's probably going to be an agricultural district most likely. There are other types though. You will see natural or special and unique areas if there are special features we're wanting to preserve and protect. Maybe it's forest, our mining, as some areas, depending on the resources. Residential areas, rural tend to have larger minimum lot sizes and that sort of spaced out character we're use to. For commercial and office sectors. For more downtown business areas. And mixed use is one that's becoming more and more popular. The idea of both living and working in one place and buildings accommodating those uses. So how do you find out what district or property is in? You go to the zoning map, which is part of the zoning ordinance. It will have colored areas, probably would just find where your property is. If you're unsure, you can always call your local office and ask, this is my parcel, what is it zoned as? And so to kinda review. First step is to read all those general provisions and the definitions that apply to all the districts. Find out what district your property is in. And then read through that section for the district and it will go through what different uses are allowed for say, an Ag residential district. When you're reading those uses, they come in several varieties. And this slide is sort of laying out the least restrictive to most restrictive of the types of uses that may be allowed in a particular district. At least restrictive are permitted uses or uses by right. And those are things you just can do. That is one of the rights that comes with that land in that district. Everybody has it. It's just from the get-go. This is a permitted use. Things like building a residential building on in a residential district. If you want to put a house in a residential district, that's a permitted use. Sometimes there may be special land uses that have specific restrictions. So if it's a more intensive use, they may have additional requirements that you would need to meet for say, a particular outdoor venue. Maybe then they get into some requirements and we'll talk through what some of those ones you may see are. There may be a hybrid approach between the two and selecting some but not others. This is why it's really important to get in and read the actual language for your zoning ordinance and the district you're in. That's where you would find out if farm markets are a special land use in your ordinates now or not, and maybe it could become a permitted use in the next ordinance update. This is a handy table from Greenbush Township in our corner, and it has the special land use or It has several agritourism uses listed out. And then it goes into whether they are permitted by rights use or a special use permit with a special land use permit. And you can see most of them are happening unless, I'm guessing F is there Forestry District. But maybe you're zoning ordinates has something simple that is really great about laying it out. Or if it doesn't, maybe you could send this along to your local unit of government as Hey, I think this would help folks in our community understand what there zoning is. So when you're looking in that language around your district, you're going to be looking for whatever your particular uses you're looking to engage in. Is it an event setting, center or wedding barn, wineries? These are unique and different from say, like a pumpkin patch or a hayride. Are they in the master plan at all? Does your master plan have any language, for sort of Ag innovation. Do the adjoining crops require certain management practices that would cause conflict. Thinking about starting up a wedding barn next to heavy row cropping, there may be issues that the zoning ordinance is trying to prevent. Often zoning ordinances are working around noise and traffic issues as primary concerns with some of these innovative uses. Because it really is a change from that rural agricultural way of life that we think of an Ag districts to more of a commercial business. So these are all potential problems or concerns with public health, safety, and welfare that the zoning ordinance could be trying to address. Things like setbacks. How far from property lines do you need to be? What signage could be? Additional screening if it's close to residents, maybe putting up trees or things like that. These are all samples of things that might be in a zoning ordinance. When we look at some of these agritourism uses. There may also be things for heavy regulating heavy traffic use. Like if it's a popular microbrewery or winery, maybe there needs to be accessed from a public road or a paved road, maybe require. These are all just things that we have seen around the state. But again, it's really going to depend on what is in your local ordinance. More here with special events. They may have limits on the number of people. They may have, again, issues with parking. These are all concerns that we hear get brought up in local communities and the zoning ordinance is the tool for municipalities to address that. Same there with acreage requirements, these would show up in the zoning ordinance. We have a lot of examples here. I hope you're getting the message that there are a lot of ways communities regulate these uses. But it's important to find your own ordinance and what it sends. A sound is often another source of conflict. So don't be surprised if there are things regulating amplification or when sound happens, Those things. Remember that non agricultural districts could be a source to if you have to have that commercial processing space, think beyond just ag districts. What about an industrial district or the commercial district? Would that be a use permitted there if you had the property? So that's a real quick look at what you may see So you're not too surprised when you go leafing through your local ordinance. But now we're going to get into how can you work with your local government no matter what is in that ordinance. So we're just going to close out today with some general tips. The biggest take home from this section is going to be get in touch with your local unit. The state of Michigan lays out a framework for planning and zoning through those Enabling Acts. But these decisions are made locally by your neighbors. And each unit's process might look slightly different. For example. Some cities have fully online applications. That might not be the case in rural townships. So getting to know your local process and the officials who administer it can save a lot of headaches and start to build that working relationship between you and your local unit of governments. As you start to work through the system of getting a permit for a special land use or even figuring out what is allowed on your property. As we've talked about, it's important to first familiarize yourself with the zoning ordinance and all the sections that pertains to the property or use. Then go back and read that master plan. Again that's the justification for the zoning ordinance. So if you know the why, then it's really important to understand that why and see how it shows up in the zoning ordinance, especially when you go to make changes. In the last bit is understand what is required of you as the property owner or applicant. What application needs to go, what permits are required. And again, that's where contact with the local unit of government is really, really important. And making sure to open up those lines of communication. So who are you going to be communicating with? It's important to know the people. Your key point of contact is probably going to be the zoning administrator or Staff. Zoning administrator is a title that somebody in a local government will have. And they're probably gonna be the first person you're interacting with. You're going to take your questions to them, and it's their job to make sure that the zoning ordinance is being followed. Sometimes that can make them seem like the bad cop if they're having to say no, but just remember it as their obligation and their duty to follow the zoning ordinance as written. For smaller communities, that might be a contracted person that only works part time. but just know they're there to help. And you can consider a, we call them a pre- application meeting. But it's a meeting with staff before you even start the process to just talk through it and understand and get everybody on the same page to make all the steps that come afterwards go a lot easier. So that zoning administrator, great person to have their number with, they are going to be the most familiar with your local zoning ordinance. Of course I said they have to follow that ordinance to the T. If there are maybe some changes or some tweaks that you've been considering or you think would be a good idea for your community. That's where some other people come into play, the Planning Commission and the legislative body. The planning commission, if your community has one is made up of appointed officials. These are folks who developed the master plan and send it along to the legislative body we talked about earlier and make other recommendations about the zoning ordnance. Many of these boards are meeting virtually right now because of COVID-19 and modifications to the Open Meetings Act. So a great, easy way to start to get a sense for your local planning commission or zoning in your area. Sit in on some of their meetings, just put them on like a podcast in the background. Again, it's building that relationship with your local officials. And also the legislative body. Those are the elected people, your city or village council, a Township Board. And they may be involved with some steps to the application process, the ordinance will way that out. But they would also vote to enact or amend any changes to the zoning ordinance. If there is a use that you want to have added as a permitted use, it would eventually go through the legislative body. And one of my tips was to know what is required of you as an applicant. That's where it really helps to be forthcoming with that staff planner or the zoning administrator. Avoid last minute surprises, be honest with them. Really. They aren't your enemy. Even if it feels like they have to say no a lot, or if it feels like it's a very long process, you're both there to try and grow the community, advance it forward. So remember, the zoning administrator, the planner isn't your enemy. It's helpful to have them on your side and ask a lot of questions so that it doesn't get to a meeting before the Planning Commission. And all of a sudden there are surprises that doesn't bode well for anybody. Know that permits and site plans cost money, set aside some budget for these fees, and be ready to do things like verify that you own the property, have the details ready for forms. That's where it really pays to read through that ordinance and know what the requirements are, so you're ready to go. And be ready ahead of time, plan at least three months is a really low ball if you're in a small rural township maybe. Some Planning Commission's meet quarterly. This process can take time. That's because you're now part of a public process when it comes to planning and zoning. So all the meetings need to be open. We need to give everybody due process and maintain that trust in government. So just be aware, It can feel like it'll take awhile. But as you're going through the process, just like Kendra was saying, MSU Extension is here to help you as much as we can. We've got a couple of links here on this slide that should be active and you get the PDF to some resources. An introduction is zoning, written by my colleague Brad Neumann. Some more on those GAAMPS we talked about. There are Right to Farm resources from MSU Extension. And we even have some selected court cases that get into the real nitty-gritty of those Michigan right to farm cases. And of course, in addition to going to your local unit and building those relationships with the officials, you can contact me or any one of the other Extension land use educators. You can see up on this map, we have broken down the whole state. We're here to help. Just like Kendra was saying that Ask an Expert, if it's something with zoning and planning, instead of getting routed to our ag educators. It comes to me and my team around the state and we have a lot of experience from assessors to folks who are on ZBA's. We can get you an answer. And of course, in my last little bit of time, I need to give my normal disclaimer. I am not a lawyer. This was not legal advice. Sometimes you do need that specialized legal advice. And you should consider maybe hiring a lawyer if it's a very complicated land use or a tricky situation. Again, not all lawyers are equal, but make sure you're getting one who is experienced in land use law, or at least municipal law because it is a very sort of niche field in the legal world. And you want to make sure your money is going into an expert, that can give you the sort of help you need. So with that, I wanted to leave plenty of space at the end for questions that came anything like that. If there are things that I went over with way too fast and confused everybody, let me know what questions do you have? Thoughts? Feel free to type questions in the chat, but you can also unmute your microphone if you'd rather verbalize your question. Yes. And Mr. Patino, I'm not sure what the question is there, but I saw a few things come through the chat about racial covenants and zoning. If anybody is interested in some of the dark history of zoning, it has been used in the past as a way to oppress minorities and maintain white privilege. There is a book that our whole team recently read called The Color of Law that goes into much more detail about both how zoning and planning, as well as federal housing policies and other things, are able to maintain systems of white power and privilege and have some suggestions for how to start to dismantle those. What are some of the questions you get asked most often Tyler about this type of thing? Generally, when presenting the public, folks are interested in how to change the ordinance. We spent a lot of time answering questions on that process, which is, varies a little bit from community to community. Some have amendment applications you can do, But with that, the answer is generally if you're zoning ordinance isn't doing what you think it should for the community. Go to the master plan, read through that and see what the community set It's vision for itself once. And then you can kind of use that document as a tool to then advance the argument for whatever changes to the ordinates you would like to see. So an example is if a community wants to be a place where families can live and grow up, but then they have restrictions on how many families can live in a house. Those seem to be at odds with each other and is a great entry point for making changes to the zoning ordinates. And again, the best way to do that is to work with the local officials and staff because they're the ones who are in the nitty-gritty of the process. They are your helpers to through this. It's better to swim with them and go through their processes. Another thing we always advise people is if you're coming up with a lot of issues with your zoning ordinance, That means that probably isn't up to date or there's some changes. And maybe your community needs engaged folks to help make those recommendations. So maybe it's time to take that next step and serve on a local board or committee. Alright, looks like some questions are coming in for you Tyler. Yep, I've got the chat pulled up, thank you Mariel Now I'm done presenting. Beth is asking, do you feel there should be a GAAMP done for agritourism? I am going to do a nice side step and say that is a little bit beyond my scope, but those are decisions for our elected leaders and those appointed to make those decisions. Not me. Ahh getting a question for other books suggestions. This is going to be a shameless plug. But, MSU Extension prints the Michigan Planning guidebook and the Michigan zoning Guidebook, which are really great little spiral bound references for anybody who works with the planning, or zoning enabling acts. And our great written in everyday language, understanding of zoning and planning. So you can find those by Googling Michigan planning guide book or Michigan zoning guidebook, and we'll get them shipped off to you. And then Anon is asking are for net profit small ag enterprise and Township residential fall under GAAMPS and limit local zoning board. Commercial ag overlaps into residential zoned area. Pros cons guidance. That is sounding like a very tricky and nuanced and again a lot of this is going to depend on local communities for what that zoning ordinance already is, Mr. Anon, So if you would like be a great thing to type into our Ask an Expert and give us some of those more details and we can offer some of that guidance. We also have some of those resources get really in depth into those GAAMPS and what exactly it's pre-amps for the GAAMPS from local zoning. So those would be the best places to start without more information on that. What's the difference between a Charter Township and a normal township? Charter Township would have a charter in the name and the biggest difference is what those townships are allowed to do. So a Charter Township then is allowed to grant some other services and do some different things further residences. The other Township are those that were carved out out of each county when Michigan was first formed. So just a little bit of what that government is allowed to do and authorize to do from the state. Alright, so looks like questions may have wrapped up. So I think we can Thank Tyler again for sharing this information with us. This was fantastic. Really appreciate your time and being willing to be a part of this event. There are several other sessions happening later today, the last day of the event, but a reminder that all of the sessions are being recorded so you'll be able to review them later if you choose to. And information will be sent to you through email you provided in registration.