2022 Master Citizen Planner Live Webinar Series

The 2022 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 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. 

2022 Topics include:

Prime Soils, Critical Habitat, and Beyond: The Open Space & Farmland Preservation Toolkit, April 21 - Harmony Gmazel, AICP. Michigan grows over 100 commodities on over 10 million acres of land. Likewise, Michigan is home to innumerable unique forests, dunes, wetlands, flora and fauna species. Preserving the quality and life of these amenities is a high priority for many communities, but what do the most successful preservation efforts look like? And how did communities get there?  Preservation efforts have far-reaching impacts on every community in Michigan: urban, rural and suburban. This session will present an update on recommended planning and zoning tools and will highlight successful case studies from local and tribal governments across the Great Lakes State.

Making Defensible Decisions: Discretionary Standards, Conditions, and Procedural Due Process, May 19 Mary Reilly, AICP & Wayne Beyea, JD AICP. Discretionary special land use standards are relatively similar among Michigan communities. How Planning Commissions make and document these decisions varies considerably. How do we provide the rationale to determine if an application…will be in harmony with the surrounding area, will not interfere with surrounding land uses, and will have no nuisance effects? In this webinar, participants will learn how Michigan communities have successfully supported discretionary decisions with facts, the relationship between discretionary and non-discretionary standards, when and how to apply conditions, and related statutory requirements. We will also briefly cover some of the more riveting elements of procedural due process essential to defensible decisions, such as timely and accurate notice and minutes. Includes Q&A session with Wayne Beyea, JD, Senior Specialist, MSU School of Planning, Design and Construction.

Stormwater Management at the Rural/Urban Interface, June 16Brad Neumann, AICP & Sarah Fronczak, MSU Extension Environmental Management Educator. The frequency of extreme rain events is projected to increase in the Great Lakes region. While this presents stark challenges for urban communities with extensive impervious surfaces, rainfall intensification also presents challenges to rural communities, particularly with agricultural landscapes that could contribute to sedimentation and nutrient loading in area waterways and stormwater infrastructure, damage to roadways, and compromised septic systems. Rural landowners, township and county government, and city/village officials all must cooperate to address climate change adaptation at the rural/urban interface.

JULY –  BREAK (no webinar)

AUGUST –  BREAK (no webinar)

Planning & Zoning for Solar Energy Systems, September 15 - Brad Neumann, AICP & Mary Reilly, AICP. Nearly every jurisdiction in Michigan will be approached about a solar installation within the next five years. Are you prepared? This session will provide communities with perspective and strategy for how to plan for and regulate solar energy systems. Discussion will include why we need to plan and zone for widespread deployment of solar energy systems and participants will learn about successful examples so they can lead an informed conversation in their own community.

GIS Visualization Tools for Land Use Decision Makers, October 20 – Tyler Augst. Quality data and analyses are essential to making planning and zoning decisions, but finding meaning in the wealth of data available, especially spatial data, can be tricky. This webinar will introduce participants to the basics of geographic information system (GIS) technologies and their role in visualizing spatial information. These visualization tools can help provide valuable insights to land use decision makers and also help communicate to the public about the challenges and successes communities are facing. Several examples of publicly available visualizations and how they have helped communities will be presented.

Leadership in Planning: A Statewide Showcase of ‘On the Ground’ Projects in 2022, November 17 – 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


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.