Tag Archives: Michigan Association of Planning

APA sets principles for federal infrastructure investments

road06-800pxEverybody’s talking about infrastructure. The Michigan Association of Planning has made it a focus of their policy planning for the past two years. Governor Rick Snyder’s 21st Century Infrastructure Commission said the state needs to spend $4 billion a year more than it currently does just to reach the national average of infrastructure spending.

The American Planning Association has reacted to President Trump’s desire to improve the country’s infrastructure by establishing nine principles to guide the efforts of Congress and the administration. A new federal infrastructure program should:

  • Serve multiple modes and types of infrastructure
  • Be driven by local visions and strong regional planning
  • Address long-term funding sustainability
  • Harness private sector investment and creativity to advance and protect the public interest
  • Consider key factors of location and leverage
  • Promote access
  • Advance opportunity for all
  • Embrace and support innovation
  • Make communities safer and more resilient

Are you using all the benefits of your APA and MAP membership?

By Ben Carlisle and Paul Montagno

3 past MAP presidents -- DIck Carlisle, Paul Montagno and Dave Scurto, with MAP executive director Andrea Brown.

3 past MAP presidents — DIck Carlisle, Paul Montagno and Dave Scurto — with MAP executive director Andrea Brown.

Many of our readers are members of the American Planning Association (APA) and its state chapter, the Michigan Association of Planning (MAP). Carlisle/Wortman Associates’ commitment to these two organizations runs deep. We have three former MAP presidents on our staff * and Ben Carlisle is an elected member of the national AICP Commission, which oversees the American Institute of Certified Planners.

Naturally, then, we encourage you to join or maintain your memberships in both organizations. But don’t just take our word for it – the benefits are real and speak for themselves.

As planners, we’re keenly interested in new ideas and fresh approaches. APA delivers with its valuable monthly magazine, Planning, and 21 divisions which you can join, offering themes as diverse as hazard mitigation, regional planning, housing and new urbanism. APA has a library of reference papers and books and offer free photos taken by planners that you can use in presentations, proposals and publications. Check out their communications training guide.

Certification through APA has tangible benefits. The most recent APA/AICP survey shows that certified planners earn more than noncertified planners, even when experience and responsibility are considered. Certification also puts planners on equal footing with the architects, engineers, and other credentialed professionals with whom they work and compete.

If you’re a professional planner and a member of APA, you automatically belong to MAP. MAP also offers communities group memberships for their planning commissioners and elected officials. Anyone can join MAP for $60 per year.

Do your planning commissioners or zoning board members know what they need to know to keep your community out of trouble? MAP brings the training to you. MAP also has a planning library, publishes a regular newsletter and an e-newsletter. Learn at the annual conference in Kalamazoo, October 26-29, both in the conference sessions and a generous set of peer to peer networking opportunities. AICPs can earn continuing education credits at MAP conference sessions.

You can enhance the long-term benefits of membership if you give back a little to your profession. Teaching children about planning today will give tomorrow’s planners a supportive, knowledgeable constituency.

Join APA’s planners advocacy network or legislative action center to learn to influence federal and state officials and agencies.

Association membership is like a gym membership. It only works if you use it. Both APA and MAP offer an array of benefits you can use to improve yourself and your community.

Planning association grant will increase Bay City resilience

by Paul Montagno

Bay city resilience grant-webThe city of Bay City was awarded a cost-share grant from the Michigan Association of Planning to incorporate community resiliency into the master plan that Carlisle/Wortman Associates is preparing. CWA staff helped the city prepare the grant submission.

According to HUD, “A resilient community is able to resist and rapidly recover from disasters or other shocks with minimal outside assistance. Reducing current and future risk is essential to the long-term vitality, economic well-being, and security of all communities. By identifying future risk and vulnerabilities, resilient recovery planning can maximize preparedness, save lives, and bring benefits to a community long after recovery projects are complete.”

MAP grants underwrite the cost of master plans, updates, plan elements or subarea plans that integrate best practices and policies for resiliency. Financial assistance for this project is provided, in part, by the Michigan Coastal Zone Management Program, Office of the Great Lakes, Department of Environmental Quality, under the National Coastal Zone Management Program, through a grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Michigan Historic Districts imperiled

MAP logoTwo bills currently being considered by the Michigan legislature would drastically change how communities establish and maintain historic districts.

The Michigan Association of Planning has taken a strong position opposing these changes. The association said:

Historic Preservation is the foundation of many community’s economic revitalization efforts, and is one of the most important tools to protect our history and culture, create a sense of place, and is relevant to community development efforts for both small towns and big cities.  From Grand Rapids to Ann Arbor, Detroit to Traverse City, Monroe to Marquette planners have long recognized the value of protecting historic buildings, downtowns, and neighborhoods.

 The association’s position is supported by its official, board-approved land use policy.

The association continued:

These bills will effectively eliminate historic districts in the State of Michigan. The way in which the current bills are written would:

  • Empower large landowners to determine the fate of a neighborhood at the expense of all other property owners;
  • Disempower neighborhoods from self-determination as a majority vote of electors in the local unit would be required for designation;
  • Politicize the appeal process from a non-partisan state board of experts to local elected officials;
  • Establish ambiguous standards that may deviate from the Secretary of Interior Standards for historic resources; and
  • Require that all (current and future) historic districts would be dissolved 10 years after the bill is enacted, unless a popular vote at the election immediately preceding the district’s dissolution is approved as a renewal.

Paul Montagno

 “Historic preservation has been one of the most successful strategies to protect urban neighborhoods and provide economic anchors in older cities and towns,” said Carlisle/Wortman Associate Paul Montagno, a past president of MAP who now serves on its board of directors. “Downtown development authorities, historic district commissions and leaders in existing historic districts who value historic designation should contact their representatives in Lansing about these bills.”



CWA staff includes three past presidents of the Michigan Association of Planning

Group-small-shadowCarlisle/Wortman Associates is home to three past presidents of the Michigan Association of Planning: Dick Carlisle, Dave Scurto and Paul Montagno.

CWA President Dick Carlisle served on the MAP board from 1995 to 2002 and as president in 2000 and 2001. During that time, the Michigan Society of Planning Officials (MSPO), an organization of citizen planners — planning commissioners and zoning board members – merged with the Michigan chapter of the American Planning Association, which represented professional planners.

“I was vice president during the merger negotiations then became the first president of the newly merged organization, facing the challenges of that blended board,” Carlisle said.

Dave Scurto was on the board from 2004 to 2011, serving as president in 2009-2010.

“The merged organizations had remarkable resources,” Scurto said. “We had 5,000 dues-paying members. We had a full time executive director and other staff. We were and are one of the largest chapters of the American Planning Association, which has helped give us a greater voice with APA.” During Scurto’s tenure, the MAP board extended its outreach, including a multi-day member event in Sault Ste. Marie and the creation of a social equity committee to encourage communities to make sure their plans are fair and just for all.

Paul Montago began his service to MAP prior to joining Carlisle/Wortman this year. He’s been on the board since 2010 and was president in 2013-2014.

“MAP establishes land use policies that members can use to inform and guide their plans,” Montagno said. “During my tenure on the board we worked hard to close the loop between MAP policies and our legislative advocacy. We also dove deep into the often fractious relationship between planners and real estate developers, resulting in some valuable sessions at MAP’s spring and fall conferences.”

“No other Michigan planning firm has three MAP past presidents on staff,” said the organization’s executive director, Andrea Brown, “But Carlisle/Wortman’s service to our organization goes far beyond this unique record. They are an elevated corporate member of the association, sponsoring our events and providing training and conference speakers and editorial content for our publications. We deeply appreciate all they do for the organization.”


Empower your zoning administrator

Code Enforcement-webWhere do communities most often get into legal trouble? Zoning enforcement. Yet decision makers often fail to designate a person whose primary job is that of zoning administrator, or they expect a planning director or building official to play that role.

At the Michigan Association of Planning conference in November, CWA’s John Enos spoke on the responsibilities and duties of the planner, planning commission and zoning administrator in the zoning enforcement process.

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