buildings on main street

Introduction to Planning

This course is a short introduction to your role as a planning official. The course introduces your duties and responsibilities as a planning official, as well as the groups you will be working with.

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Course Info

  • Duration 9 video lessons (46 Mins)
  • Published Published
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Browse Course Chapters

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    1. Introduction Chapter Duration 2 mins
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    2. Planning Official Wanted Chapter Duration 5 mins
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    3. What is the Planning Commission? Chapter Duration 4 mins
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    4. Private Citizen to Public Official Chapter Duration 4 mins
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    5. Fundamental Duties Chapter Duration 5 mins
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    6. Responsibilities of the Planning Official Chapter Duration 7 mins
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    7. The Planning Team Chapter Duration 8 mins
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    8. Why Be a Planning Official? Chapter Duration 3 mins
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    9. Review Activity Chapter Duration 4 mins

Course Description

This course introduces the basics of your responsibilities as a planning official. Many new planning commissioners take on this role in order to make a positive impact on their community. However, the world of planning can be vast and, at times, confusing, especially for the many public officials without a formal background in planning. Whether you are a new planning commissioner or an experienced planner with years of public service, it is always helpful to recall the reasons we need effective planning, the common issues planners run into, the common roles of the planner and the planning commission.

Many citizens desiring to be involved in local governance find that a position on a planning commission involves important responsibilities and new concepts. Top among these is the need to recognize the difference between a private citizen and a public official. This course introduces planning concepts that many citizens are unaware of prior to their work as a planning official. These include the “Open Meetings Act”, the limitation of some individual rights while serving as a public official, as well as the need to maintain public trust.

This course also provides an overview of the fundamental duties in planning including how these roles vary from state to state. We provide examples from Maryland, Washington and Colorado to highlight the importance of knowing how your state’s statutes affect your roles and responsibilities as a planner. Finally, this course provides overviews of the planning official’s typical responsibilities and the various planning entities and how they relate to one another.

Learn these skills

  • Civic Engagement
  • Ethics
  • Law and Policy
  • Regulations
  • Urbanism
  • Zoning Codes

Meet Your Instructor

Mary Reilly

Mary Reilly

Mary Reilly is a land use educator with Michigan State University Extension.

Meet Instructor

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