MSU Extension Land Use Educators offer a broad variety of training courses and presentations on topics related to local planning and zoning tools and techniques, land use and environmental issues, local government, leadership development and more.

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

Community Development

Public Administration

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

Natural Resources and Environment

  • Planning and Zoning for Solar and 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 Local Officials

MSU Extension 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 commissions 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 Charrettes & 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. Our educators work with the National Charrette Institute at MSU to assist communities in this way.

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

Find an MSU Extension land use educator in your area.

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