County invests in local Citizen Planner Program

Macomb County pilots scholarship program to enhance planning and zoning education for local community officials.

Since its statewide launch in 2002, Macomb Michigan State University Extension has offered the Citizen Planner Program biannually. This land use and zoning education and training program helps new and seasoned elected and appointed officials enhance their knowledge on the pressing issues of development and redevelopment in their communities.  

Local officials are responsible for managing the impacts of economic change and finding solutions to the challenges and issues facing communities across Michigan. Local communities can improve their quality of life by embracing the new economy concepts and proactively implementing them to shape the future of their community.

The 2017 Macomb Citizen Planner Program is a partnership between MSU Extension and the Macomb County Planning and Economic Development Department to expand and enhance this training for local officials countywide. The county has budgeted funding to provide one full scholarship to each of the 27 municipalities in the county to attend this training. If this pilot is successful, it will be continued in future years with the potential of expanding the scholarship base through additional public and private partnerships.

The Citizen Planner Program is a seven-week course offered through local MSU Extension offices. In addition, there is a Citizen Planner Online program that is very similar to the classroom program. Topics covered in both programs include smart growth and the new economy, conflict of interest, legal foundations of planning and zoning, master plans and the planning process, zoning, site plans and review, zoning board of appeals process, innovative best practices (green development, form-based codes, conservation design), holding effective meetings and managing conflict.

In both programs, participants receive a certificate of completion after completing all seven sessions in the classroom program or all three modules in the online program. Upon completion, certified participants are eligible to earn the Master Citizen Planner (MCP) credential by completing the online exam, giving a capstone presentation to their local community and meeting annual continuing educational requirements.

The Macomb Citizen Planner program will begin on Thursday, March 9, 2017, at the Macomb MSU Extension offices and run through May 4, 2017. Scholarships are available (one per community) on a first come-first served basis.

For more information about the Macomb Citizen Planner Program, please call 586-469-6440, email or visit the event page.

For more information about the Citizen Planner Program or other local programs being offered, visit the MSU Extension Citizen Planner page.  

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