Planning Resources

Northfield Township's 2014 legal victory in the matter of Grand Sakwa v. Township of Northfield is described here, on page 8.  Paul Burns represented the Township in this defense.  Close watchers of local meetings realize that Phil McKenna - founder of our current Township Planning Consultancy, was a key expert witness in this case.

Costs of Community Services Studies (PDF)

This document is a synopsis of 151 fiscal impact studies performed in 25 states.  These studies show that, nationwide, residential development is a net fiscal drain on communities.  Taxes on residential development fail to cover costs, while farmland, forest, open land, and industry generate more in tax revenue than they cost in services.

Kurt Schindler's Land Use & Planning Pages    These are now maintained by Mary Reilly

Kurt Schindler was co-chair of the MSU Extension Land Use Team. During his tenure he assembled hundreds of white papers discussing aspects of Michigan Land Use policies and land use law.  Topics include the dangers posed by Planning Commissioner ex parte communications and the dangers to political activism caused by S.L.A.P.P. (Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation).

According to Schindler, the pages have "been re-designed and formatted to comply with Google wanting it to be easier to use with cell phones, to comply with web accessibility standards, and to comply with MSU Extension’s new branding standards." 


MSU Extension:  Michigan Planning and Zoning Guidebooks

MSU Extension:  Preparation, deliberation and documentation are key to effective government meetings, by Kurt Schindler, May 24, 2016

MSU:  Planning and Zoning Center  - shows no faculty and no staff?

MSU Extension:On the Importance and appearance of avoiding ex parte communication, by Kurt Schindler, July 23, 2012

MSU: The Michigan Land Policy Institute

MSU Land Policy Institute: Rural Water Quality Protection: A Planning & Zoning Guidebook for Local Officials

MSU Extension:  Opening Meetings Act Role of Elected Officials 

MSU Extension:  Archived articles from Schindler's original site: This is where they've stashed the stuff that doesn't fit.

MSU Extension:  Code of conduct for planning commissioners and zoning board of appeals members,  by Kurt Schindler, January 28, 2016


USDA Cooperative Extension System

Community Planning and Zoning Pages 

Zoning Board of Appeals: Roles and Responsibilities

Best practices for planning and zoning - Cooperative Extension

Land Use in the Wildland-Urban Interface: Urban Sprawl and Smart Growth - Cooperative Extension

Fostering Distinctive, Attractive Communities with a Strong Sense of Place - Cooperative Extension

The Advantages and Disadvantages of Cluster/Conservation Development - Cooperative Extension


MDEQ Michigan Water Resources Information and Forms - this is an interactive map

Schindler vs the Wind Lobby

Citizen's Guide to Land Use Planning, Chapter 1 (PDF) - Huron River Watershed Council

Citizen's Guide to Land Use Planning, Chapter 2 (PDF) - Huron River Watershed Council

SEMCOG: Land Use Tools and Techniques (PDF)

"Land Use Tools and Techniques provides current techniques for addressing local land use decisions with the goal of positively impacting local communities and the Southeast Michigan region, and ultimately, in a healthy quality of life of all residents. The handbook is divided into four main sections- Land Development, Community Design, Environmental Protection, and Transportation. Each section is further divided into several specific chapters. Each chapter contains "Keeping it Connected", noting how issues are interrelated; Planning and Regulatory Considerations; Tools for Implementation, Case Example(s), and Additional Resources. The handbook also includes basic terminology on planning and development, a glossary, bibliography, index, and other available SEMCOG services to assist local member communities."

Washtenaw County Geographic Information System (GIS):

Parcels, Boundaries, Topography, Aerial Views, etc.


Property Parcel Search

(Everything You Wanted to Uncover About Motives but Were Afraid to Ask)

Why Smart Growth?

A Field Guide to Sprawl by Dolores Hayden

"A wonderful guide to the terrible things being done in the American landscape." --Eric Schlosser, author of Fast Food Nation