The Michigan Association of Planning offers training throughout the year. MAP members receive discounts on all workshops.

Check out our Event calendar for other great learning opportunities. The calendar is updated regularly with new events.

During early spring, MAP hosts a number of regional workshops around the state both in person and virtually.

In addition, MAP's onsite workshops can be scheduled in your community at any time.

On Site Workshops

MAP training is available to your community year-round through our on-site workshop program. At an on-site workshop an instructor comes to your location, at a time and date convenient for your participants, and presents a comprehensive educational program, addressing the specific needs of your community. Workshop descriptions are below or you can view a  printable brochure

Virtual workshops are an option and can save dollars and time. Please contact Amy Vansen at if you are interested in hosting one of our workshops.

Planning and Zoning Essentials (Basic Training)

This information-packed, 4-hour program is perfect for new planning commissioners and zoning board of appeals members, but it's also a great refresher course for more experienced officials or elected officials looking to learn more about these boards. Roles and responsibilities of the board, site plan review, comprehensive planning, zoning ordinances, planned unit developments, and standards for decision-making are all on the agenda.

Zoning Administration

The zoning administrator is responsible for ensuring the integrity and effectiveness of the zoning process and for the public support it receives. Since he or she is often the initial contact with affected property owners, intelligent administration and enforcement conducted with sensitivity to public relations is essential. This program is for zoning administrators in rural, suburban, or urban settings as well as municipal officials, other staff members, or citizens interested in a more complete understanding of all facets of zoning administration.

Planning Commissioner Toolkit

The Planning Commission plays a pivotal role in the development of a community. This 2.5 hour workshop explains all of the Planning Commission duties from the master plan to site plan review and everything in between. How to conduct a meeting, handling difficult cases and conflict of interest are also reviewed.

Zoning Board of Appeals

Quasi-judicial functions of the zoning process are handled by the Zoning Board of Appeals. This interactive, case study based workshop goes into greater depth on the issues of practical difficulty and unnecessary hardship. A summary of voting and membership requirements and other procedural requirements unique to ZBA operations are reviewed.

Site Plan Review

This program will demonstrate the site plan review and approval process and provide practical tools and techniques on how to read a site plan. You'll discuss site design principles, such as pedestrian and traffic considerations, lighting, utilities, ADA compliance, inspections, and landscaping. Participants in this hands-on workshop receive an engineering scale, turning template and a sample site plan to evaluate.

Advanced ZBA: Beyond the Fundamentals

A high level, interactive session for ZBA members, where recent court cases and statutes are reviewed and where participants will dig into four different case studies and discuss their findings. Basic ZBA knowledge is necessary to best participate.

The Master Planning Process

Are you considering creating a new master plan or amending an existing one? This workshop is for you! Roll up your sleeves and learn step-by-step more about the requirements, components, and stakeholder involvement you'll need to organize when drafting or amending a master plan. Includes community- specific demographics discussion and brief overview of community engagement principles.

Zoning Ordinance: A to Z

This workshop to provides local decision makers with everything they need to know about this important regulatory, police power tool. A brief history of zoning, alternative ways to zone, a tour of a typical zoning ordinance including tips and best practices, zoning approval processes, and enforcement are all on the agenda.

Capital Improvements Programs

Do you know what the Planning Enabling Act says about the CIP? Do you know what should be included, and how often it should be updated? This program explains-- from start to finish-- everything you need to know to prepare and adopt a Capital Improvement Program, including: who should be involved in the Capital Improvement Program process; the accounting and budgetary requirements of a CIP; how to tie the program into your infrastructure capacity; and how to handle controversial topics.

Getting the Development You Want

Good development is achieved when a municipality plans for it, and then adopts codes and a development review process to implement the plan. In this 1 1/2 hour workshop, participants will learn how the master plan and zoning ordinance inform the development review process, how a community can balance the needs of all actors in the development review process, and best practices for a productive development review process.

Risk Management

As more communities face litigation related to planning and zoning decisions, this is essential training for all elected officials, planning commissioners and zoning board of appeals members. Topics include identifying a conflict of interest, applying discretionary standards during special land use reviews, reasonable expectations of a developer and how your comprehensive plan can minimize risk.

Community Engagement

Knowing which public engagement technique to use for which audience, and managing the public participation process so that all voices can be heard, all the while ensuring that the input is meaningful and relevant is one of a planner's greatest challenges. A process that can be rife with politics, on one hand, and rewarding and beneficial on the other, is part and parcel of the effort. This interactive session explains best practices on how to engage with community members and stakeholders in a more meaningful way.

Making Good Decisions Together

This workshop reviews the roles of the various boards/commissions and explores how they fit together. The principles of the Open Meetings Act and Freedom of Information and the purpose these laws play in effective decision making is explored as well as, a review of recent court cases and how to apply those decisions to their communities’ practices.

Zoning Administration 2.0

MAP's 2.0 workshop is a fast paced, interactive session. The following topics are reviewed: roles, laws other than zoning that affect land use, enforcement, court cases, and trends in zoning. Experience in zoning administration and enforcement a plus.

Staying in Your Lane and Building Bridges

This one hour workshop reviews roles and responsibilities of various boards and positions, different levels of participation, the purpose of the master plan and how it relates to other plans and ordinances along with the values of collaborating, explores different levels of participation, and how different elected and appointed officials can be helpful in their roles.

Master Planning for Coastal Resiliency

This 3-hour interactive program introduces specific planning techniques and case studies for shoreline protection, urban waterfront redevelopment, smart growth techniques and environmental policy and regulation at the local level, where the positive impact can be significant.

Housing Supply, Choice, and Affordability

A fast paced, 2.5 hour program that reviews master planning for housing, community engagement around the issue of housing, zoning reforms that your community can do, including a deep dive into one missing middle type--ADUs, plus how to tackle the approval processes and meetings that can stop the development a community has planned for.

Master Planning for Housing

The housing element of a master plan focuses not just on today’s shelter goals for current residents, but also for the residents a community hopes to attract and retain well into the future. A housing element that includes a thoughtful and robust analysis of appropriate demographic data, coupled with a comprehensive community engagement program, can establish the framework to get the community on board and informed about local housing needs and gaps. This workshop reveals what data must be considered and how to get your community on board from the beginning of the planning process, so that there is buy in at the end for policies that embrace an appropriate mix of housing now and into the future.

Zoning Reform for Housing

MAP’s Zoning Reform Toolkit for Housing Supply and Choice, completed in June 2022, was created to provide local regulatory solutions that can be implemented now, without changes to the State Zoning Enabling Act. This session provides background on the national housing shortage and its effects in our State, an overview of the 15 tools included in the Toolkit, insight about selecting the tools that match your housing market, and talking points to get you past common obstacles to implementing successful housing solutions.

Stand By Your Plan

Density resistant neighbors can have a chilling effect on new housing development, even if the density increases are modest and “around the edges.” This workshop provides step by step guidance for navigating the “hot seat” of public input to anyone responsible for project approval. It includes new research on public participation in development review, including a first-ever dive into the data of who participates and why and presents strategies for laying the groundwork for future successful projects.

Accessory Dwelling Units

ADUs because of their size and the ad hoc nature of their development fit into almost all Michigan communities. This session dives into the five elements of ADUs (what, where, when, how, why). The workshop includes several hands on exercises where participants try their hand at placing an ADU on a property, ADUs in a neighborhood, as well as a whole municipality. Participants will be asked to bring some current and historical census data about their own community.


MAP's Build Your Own Workshop

Select from a list of topics that are most relevant to the issues facing your community. Sessions range from 24 minutes to 2.5 hours. See full descriptions here. Contact MAP staff for group rate pricing.

Watch On Demand, packages include three sessions.

Member Rate: $75 | Nonmember Rate: $100 | Student Rate: $25

Register Here [FORM]

Can't find exactly what you are looking for? Please contact Amy Vansen, MAP's Director of Information and Programs with questions.