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MSU Extension


American Citizen Planner Classroom™

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  • 20 hours of contact time
  • 7 courses for nationwide use
  • community based
  • includes a Train-the-Trainer session
  • includes instructor guides
  • includes access to online curriculum
  • designed to be the classroom version of the online program

American Citizen Planner Classroom is a seven-week, non-credit course series leading to an optional certificate of completion. Earning the certificate involves the successful completion of seven core sessions.

Courses are held for consecutive weeks at a local facility. Participants are encouraged to sign up for the entire course. Each session is designed to be approximately 2 1/2 hours in length and includes hands-on learning. The first seven core sessions provide a basic skill set and are required for certification. Participants with limited time may enroll in individual sessions of their choosing.

Introduction to Planning and Zoning:
Smart Growth, Ethics, the Planning Team and Planning Resources

Legal Foundations of Planning and Zoning:
Cases, Statutes, and Other Planning Authority

Roles and Responsibilities: Planning
Comprehensive Plan content and process

Roles and Responsibilities: Zoning
Zoning, Site Plans and the Zoning Board of Appeals process

Plan Implementation and Development Controls:
Subdividing Land, Zoning Controls, and Non-regulatory Techniques

Best Practices for Innovative Planning and Zoning:
Causes of Sprawl, Traditional Design, and Conservation Design

Art of Community Planning:

Participation, Effective Meetings, and Managing Conflict


© 2012 Michigan State University Board of Trustees, East Lansing, MI 48824