2023 Master Citizen Planner Live Webinar Series

The 2023 Master Citizen Planner (MCP) Webinar Series is designed to offer participants the latest updates and information on current topics. Using Zoom Webinar, MSU Extension educators will provide an overview of topics of interest to planning and zoning officials. Webinars fall on the third or fourth Thursday in April, May, June, September, October, and November. Webinars take place from 6:30-7:30 p.m. ET. Each session is available individually or participants can register for all six at once. All webinars will be recorded and sent to registrants. 

2023 Topics include:

Michigan Demographic Trends, April 20 - Tyler Augst and Dr. Jaclyn Butler, State Demographer. Michigan has seen some drastic changes over recent decades that shape how local leaders plan for the future of their communities. Throughout our history, the state has seen periods of heavy in-migration, booms in births, recession driven outmigration, and more. The recent 2020 Census results showed that overall Michigan’s population grew, but that growth is not equally distributed. This webinar will explore statewide trends, as well as regional variation within the state. Topics important to community planning like our aging population, racial-ethnic diversity, and sources of population growth will be discussed. 

Zoning Conflict and the Public Meeting: the Who, Why, How and Best Practices for Next Time, May 25 - Mary Reilly, AICP. Most local governments are faced with a public meeting that becomes emotionally charged with conflicting viewpoints, we have all been there. Meetings like this can hinder a planning commission, zoning board of appeals, or other public body from doing their work and leave board members and staff feeling bewildered, wondering if anything could have been said or done to improve the tone of the meeting. While emotions and opinions are real and heartfelt, they don’t fit neatly into our findings of fact. This interactive webinar will review the legal elements of required public participation as well as current trends and research on required public hearings versus other forms of engagement. Participants will learn best practices and tips for keeping meetings civil and productive. 

Local Government Regulation of Mining in Michigan, June 22 - Brad Neumann, AICP. Current public policy in Michigan includes measures to fix the roads and electrify the economy. What both goals have in common is the need for additional natural resource extraction in the state. The Michigan Zoning Enabling Act details that local government can regulate but not prohibit the extraction of natural resources. Any such regulations must be “reasonable” in accommodating customary mining operations. Also, local governments cannot regulate anything pre-empted by Part 632 – Nonferrous Metallic Mining Regulations of the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act. This webinar will cover the extent to which local government can regulate mining activity and highlight related restrictions on zoning authority. 

JULY –  BREAK (no webinar)

AUGUST –  BREAK (no webinar)

Local Hazard Mitigation Planning: Saving Lives One Plan at a Time, September 21 - Harmony Gmazel, AICP. Many but not all communities in Michigan have an adopted Hazard Mitigation Plan. We live in an era when hazardous weather, technological impacts and human activity increasingly cause losses of life and property.  It is critical for today’s planning officials to understand hazards and mitigate for their impacts. Join this interactive webinar for guidance and information regarding:   

  • Recent hazard trends in our state; 
  • Successful planning activities and partnerships;  
  • New planning trends related to increased resiliency; 

 Invitation to Engage: Interested attendees are invited to share their local hazard mitigation examples throughout the webinar.  

Mending Communities through Reuse of Land and Storytelling, October 19 – Kambriana Crank. Communities across the country still experience the residual impact and trauma of historical events and those that still exist today. Segregation, poverty, racism, and violence just to name a few, continue on in communities with lack of resources for restoration. Through effective community engagement and substantial resources, local officials have the potential to implement change with community members in hopes to combat current day issues faced. One way we will explore this process of moving towards healing and mending harm between residents and local officials is through the reuse of vacant land or buildings.

2nd Annual 'Master Citizen Planner Showcase, November 16 – Hosted by Harmony Gmazel, AICP. Master Citizen Planner (MCP) is a status granted to people who complete the Citizen Planner Program and demonstrate commitment to continuing their own education each year. This showcase highlights the practical outcomes of that commitment. MCPs can be found doing incredible planning and zoning work for their communities across Michigan. Several MCPs from around the state will each give a short presentation on a unique project, topic, or case from their community. Join us to learn directly from your peers!

More information about becoming a Master Citizen Planner can be found here. Current MCPs interested in presenting should reach out to the nearest land use educator.

Cost per webinar: $10 for MCPs; $20 for Regular Registrants

MCP Registration

Registration for The 2023 MCP Webinar Series - MCP Registration is open.

Registration closes at 11:59 p.m. ET on November 15, 2023.

Regular Registration
If you are not a Master Citizen Planner (MCP) use this registration option.

Registration for The 2023 MCP Webinar Series - Regular Registration is open.

Registration closes at 11:59 p.m. ET on November 15, 2023.


Michigan State University is committed to providing equal opportunity for participation in all programs, services and activities. Accommodations for persons with disabilities may be requested by contacting the event contact two weeks prior to the start of the event. Requests received after this date will be honored whenever possible.

Contact Information

For more information contact Kara Kelly, Citizen Planner Program Coordinator, at 517-353-6472 or cplanner@msu.edu.