Workshop course

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MARQUETTE — A first training program for local elected officials working in the fields of planning, zoning, community and economic development will take place in the Township of Marquette this fall.

Advance registration is required.

Michigan State University Extension is offering its first Citizen Planner program from October 3 through November 3. 7. The program runs every week for six Mondays from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. The courses take place at the town hall of Marquette.

Of the 2021 Citizen Planner program participants, 100% reported having a better understanding of their council’s responsibilities and limits in making land use decisions as a government agency, compared to before the program.

Online registration is available at Payment can be made by credit card, check or charged for payment. The deadline for registration is September 16.

The course was recently completely updated and is offered at a discounted price of $250 per participant, which covers registration, course materials and refreshments.

Participants who complete all six sessions will receive a certificate of completion and can go on to become a Master Citizen Planner.

Scholarships to participate in Citizen Planner may be available from a government liability insurance provider, such as the Michigan Municipal Risk Management Authority, Michigan Township Participating Plan, and others.

The scholarships are offered because this training is seen as an important strategy to avoid liability risk and associated costs to local ratepayers.

The training includes proper procedure for planning and zoning, and knowledge to avoid compromising people’s due process and private property rights, plus much more.

Training program instructors include MSU Extension educators who specialize in land use planning, law, and zoning. The course is taught by several experienced instructors so that participants receive different perspectives. The series of six classes includes:

1. Understand the planning and zoning context: Learn the legal sources and boundaries of planning and zoning authority, and explore your understanding of ethical decision-making.

2. Plan the future of your community: Recognize the function and importance of a master plan, know the process of developing a plan and its relation to zoning.

3. Plan Implementation with Zoning: Discover the importance of zoning, learn how zoning is administered, and gain confidence in your zoning reviews, including site plans.

4. Make Zoning Decisions: Learn how to pass and change a zoning ordinance, understand the role of the Zoning Appeal Board, and gain skills in basic real estate development methods.

5. Use innovative planning and zoning: Strategize with placemaking and design solutions for local and regional success in the digital economy.

6. Fulfill your role successfully: Strengthen your ethical decision-making skills, apply standards to your decision-making, and know when to ask for help.

For people who can’t fit a six-week course into their schedule or who prefer online learning, Citizen Planner Online is a completely online, self-paced version of the Citizen Planner program.

It takes about 15 hours to complete and is accessible 24/7, so individuals can do as much or as little at a time depending on their schedule.

Learn more about Citizen Planner Online and the Citizen Planner program at

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