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Michigan State University Extension
21885 Dunham Road, Suite 12, Clinton Township, MI 48036
(586) 469-6440

Public Policy


Macomb County's 2023 Citizen Planner Program Begins In-Person Sessions on April 20th!

A Land Use Training and Certificate Course for Community Land Use Decision-Makers

Citizen Planner is a time-tested educational program proven to be comprehensive without being overwhelming. The program is delivered "locally" to provide a convenient way for busy community leaders to obtain the latest technical knowledge and the proficiency they need to perform their duties more effectively and responsibly.  The program is a partnership with Macomb County Planning & Economic Development and instructors include MSU Faculty, MSU Extension educators, planners and attorneys.

Classes will be held in person from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Thursdays beginning April 20, 2023.

Topics include:

  • April 20 – Understanding the Planning and Zoning Context – Learn the legal sources and limitations of planning and zoning authority, and explore your understanding of ethical decision-making.
  • April 27 – Planning for the Future of Your Community – Recognize the function and importance of a master plan, know the process for developing one and its relationship to zoning.
  • May 4 – Implementing the Plan with Zoning – Discover the importance of zoning, learn how zoning is administered and gain confidence in your zoning reviews, including site plans.
  • May 11 – Making Zoning Decisions – Learn how to adopt and amend a zoning ordinance, understand the role of the zoning board of appeals and obtain skills in basic property development methods.
  • May 18 – Using Innovative Planning and Zoning – Strategize with placemaking and design-based solutions for local and regional success in the New Economy.
  • May 25 – Successfully Fulfilling Your Role – Strengthen your ethical decision-making skills, apply standards to your decision-making and know when to ask for help.
  • June 1 – County Resources for Planning & Development +



MSU Extension Assembly Rooms A&B

Robert A. VerKuilen Building, Entrance E

21885 Dunham Road, Clinton Township, Michigan 48036


The course fee is $250 per participant for the complete core program. The fee covers registration and course materials. A group (4 or more) discount is available. Participants that complete all six sessions will receive a certificate of completion.

+ Please note that the June 1, 2023 session is not part of the Citizen Planner core curriculum and cannot be counted towards the Citizen Planner certificate. Sessions 1—6 are required for a certificate; session 7 is required for a Macomb County scholarship.


Online registration is available at Payment can be made by credit card, check; an invoice is created with registration. Group registration is also available online. A $45 cancellation fee is assessed if registration is canceled.


One (1) scholarship is available to each Macomb County community. Contact Kambriana Crank ( for more information.

A grant program, Risk Reduction Grant Program (RRGP), may be available from your community’s liability insurance provider. Michigan Township Participating Plan offers to its municipal members one per community, which covers the complete registration cost reimbursement for completion of the Citizen Planner Program. For more information, please visit us on the web at For member governments of the Michigan Municipal Risk Management Authority (MMRMA), contact Cara Ceci at 800-243-1324 for more information regarding grants for education and training through the Risk Avoidance Program (RAP). For municipalities obtaining insurance through Nickel & Saph, Inc. Insurance Agency contact Stephen R. Saph, Jr. at 586-463-4573 or Contact your local community liability risk insurance carrier to see if similar grants or scholarships are available.


Persons with disabilities may request accommodations by emailing Kambriana Crank ( two weeks prior to the event to ensure sufficient time to make arrangements. Requests made less than two weeks prior to the event will be met if possible.



Planning and Zoning for Attainable Inclusive Housing, Dec. 14, 2022, 6 - 8 p.m. ET


REGISTRATION OPTIONS: In Person or Virtually through Zoom

This program is offered specifically for Macomb County officials and residents to increase their knowledge on attainable, affordable and workforce housing within their community. Participants will gain an understanding of tools such as zoning as well as state and local efforts in this work. In addition, we will review considerations for rural, suburban, and urban communities when thinking about inclusive housing. This program will count as 2 credit hours for Master Citizen Planner (MCP).

Click here to view brochure.

Click here to register.

COST: $40 per registrant or $30 per person for four or more from same community *Full scholarships for Macomb County local officials and residents


MSU Extension Assembly Rooms

Robert A. Verkuilen Building, Entrance E

21885 Dunham Road, Clinton Township, Michigan 48036




Michigan's Statewide Ballot Proposals


This fall there are 3 statewide ballot proposals that voters will be asked to consider in the November election. As always, Michigan State University Extension has prepared summaries and analyses of each proposal, and will be conducting programming to help voters learn more about the issues on the ballot.  

MSU Extension is partnering with the Citizens Research Council of Michigan to deliver educational programming on the ballot proposals this year. Voters will have two opportunities to hear from experts on each topic and ask any questions they may have to inform their vote. The forums will take place on Zoom and be broadcast on Facebook live, with registration required for the Zoom webinar.

These programs will be held on:

  • October 12, 7:00 PM

  • October 19, 12:00 PM

The three ballot proposal summaries are currently available at They’re posted as downloadable PDFs.

More information and registration for the webinars is available at:


The Future of Farming - Help Build Macomb County's Strategic Agricuture Plan


Sept. 29, 2022 - 7:00-8:30 p.m. and Oct. 6, 2022 - 6:00-8:45 p.m. ET

Farmland and the businesses supported by local agriculture is an important part of Macomb County's economic viability.

Macomb County Department of Planning & Economic Development invites interested individuals to assist in developing a Strategic Agricultural Economic Development Plan by attending a series of two workshops hosted by Michigan State University Extension.


Growers, Food Processors, Governmental Officials and other members of the public


Each workshop will supply background information about the variety of policy and program options that can be deployed to support and preserve agriculture and provide participants a chance to give input about which might be best in Macomb County.


MSU Extension Assembly Rooms

Robert A. Verkuilen Building, Entrance E

21885 Dunham Road, Clinton Township, Michigan 48036




Fall 2022 Citizen Planner via Zoom - September 20 to October 25, 2022


Tuesdays, Sept. 20 - Oct. 25, 2022
6 p.m. to - 9 p.m. ET

Citizen Planner Online includes similar content to the classroom program, but is offered in a flexible, self-paced, online format. Citizen Planner Online is different from other courses – the concepts are conveyed through stories about issues unfolding in a fictitious community called Spartyville. The situations Spartyville planning officials face are similar to those many communities must address. The online series of seasons and episodes follows a creative storyline that all learners will enjoy. All you need is a broadband internet connection and a computer, laptop, or tablet. The online version of the program includes:

  • Access to resources similar to the classroom program.
  • Access to relevant web resources, decision-making tools, and online exercises

For more info on the course, for pricing info and/or registration click:


Fiscally Ready Communities Series

Capital Asset Management and Planning


Local governments may find that unplanned repair and replacement of big-ticket items can be difficult to budget for, adding to the vulnerability of their community’s fiscal health.  Michigan State University Extension, in partnership with the Michigan Department of Treasury, is offering the next installment of our Fiscally Ready Communities series, “Capital Asset Management and Planning”. This FREE webinar will cover the fundamentals of Capital Improvement Programs, best practices, policies and procedures for capital asset management and planning.  There are three dates to choose from: June 29, July 28 or December 9.  You may register here.






MSU Extension staff write informative articles on statewide proposals. Keep checking the link below for updated information.  "White paper" proposal language can also be found through the link.

Click here for more information.





Citizen Planner - February 24, 2022

Local Planning Commissioners and Zoning Boards of Appeals are often called upon to make important decisions to guide growth and development of their communities.  


Issues surrounding land use planning and regulation, and the tools and techniques available within Michigan to address them have become increasingly complex.

Michigan State University Extension's Citizen Planner Program was developed to address the basic, ongoing training needs of citizens appointed to serve on local land use planning bodies. The Program is delivered at the the local level in conjunction with county MSU Extension offices.  The Citizen Planner Program's objective is to equip volunteer community leaders with the technical knowledge and leadership skills needed to perform their duties more effectively and responsibly.  Macomb County MSU Extension staff worked with a committee of area residents, public officials and professionals to develop a program customized for the Macomb County area. Macomb Citizen Planner is offered in partnership with Macomb County Planning and Economic Development, which provides scholarships to local communities.

Certification is given after completion of six "core" courses. Register online by February 10 by clicking CP Registration. Payment can be made by credit card, check; an invoice is created with registration. Group registration is also available online. A $45 cancellation fee is assessed if registration is canceled after February 10, 2022, the registration deadline.


Planning and Zoning for Solar Energy Systems - May / June 2022

Meet the challenge of becoming solar-ready in Michigan communities


Michigan's diverse energy future is set in motion. Utility companies have bold plans to expand solar options and other forms of renewable energy over the next two decades and beyond. The shift in the utility sector from centralized power generation to a higher number of accessory and principal use solar energy systems (SES) means nearly every jurisdiction in Michigan will be approached about a solar installation within the next five years. The purpose of this training is to help Michigan communities meet the challenge of becoming solar-ready by addresses SES within their planning policies and zoning regulations. Learn the following at one of our in-person or virtual trainings:

  • the context for solar energy development in Michigan
  • how various components, scales, and configurations of SES fit into landscape patterns ranging between rural, suburban, and urban
  • planning and siting considerations for solar energy systems including colocation with other land uses
  • sample zoning approaches that attempt to balance the interests of property owners and the community as a whole

Learn more and register at

Download the program flyer here