With the Grain
Reason to Plan
Valuable Texts
This list is a starting point for land use references. Its emphasis is on local policy, and natural resources, in Michigan. (Some texts are applicable anywhere.) Click any purchase source for its address. We continue to expand the list to cover more natural resource issues.

For more printed materials (with less descriptive matter), see "Categories" of Michigan Planning and Zoning Resources from the Planning and Zoning Center.

Municipal Roles

Authority and Responsibility of Michigan Township Officials, Boards and Commissions, John H. Bauckham. (from MTA)
Authority is extremely concise, while detailing aspects of Township government often unknown even to the responsible officials. Citations include MCLA references (Michigan Compiled Law Annotated), which simplify finding recent changes and relevant case law.

Guide to Michigan County Government, Kenneth Verburg. (from MSU LPI)
See the description of Managing, below. Replace 'Township' with 'County.' Get yourself a copy. Set some time aside to read it. You'll be amazed at what they're supposed to do with all those tax dollars.

Managing the Modern Michigan Township, Kenneth VerBurg. (from MSU LPI)
Managing is the monster in the house. (If your Township Board is flaky, they will NOT want you to have this book.) It addresses everything: policy, personnel, planning, polls, petitions... lots of things you've overlooked.

Planning, Basics

Administering Township Zoning: A Basic Guide for Citizens and Local Officials, and City and Village Zoning: A Basic Guide for Citizens and Local Officials, Mark A. Wyckoff, for MSPO. (from MSU CES)
Remember the name Mark Wyckoff; it'll be on the test. He'll probably write the test. Another similar guide is available for county planning. You may find these free, or for a buck, at your Cooperative Extension Office.

Community Planning Handbook: Tools and Techniques for Guiding Community Change (from P&ZC)
The Handbook is huge, and gathers all the standard definitions for all the standard approaches in one place. The case studies point out that someone is doing it right somewhere. No more excuses.

Michigan Local Planning Commissioners Handbook, and Michigan Townships Planning and Zoning Handbook, Robert B. Hotaling. (from MSU LPI)
Everything by Hotaling is required reading. (When Michigan began certifying planners--and after a while at this, you'll feel like being certified :-) --he received certificate number two. His texts are inexpensive, and always relevant.

Planning and Zoning News (monthly, from P&ZC)
P&Z News is expensive, and well worth it. (Buy it for your whole Planning Commission and you'll get significant savings.) If you intend to stay involved in land use issues, subscribe this very minute.

Planning, Advanced

Cost of Community Services Studies, and related materials (from AFT)
New COCS Studies keep coming out (most recently Scio Township, near Ann Arbor), to the chagrin of developers and realtors everywhere. Summary: most housing developments don't pay their way in taxes. Oops.

Land Division and Access Control (from MAP)
Though written in 1990, and therefore inconsistent with many current details of land division law, the basics still apply. Sections on access control are more relevant than you might think. Read them.

Michigan Laws Relating to Planning (from MSU LPI)
Michigan Laws has been reissued in 1998, and details the complete structure of relevant State statutes. All Enabling Acts for County, Township, Village, and City appear, along with many related laws.

Planning and Zoning for Farmland Protection (from AFT)
Farmland Protection was written some years ago (Mark Wyckoff again) but details all the right things. Yes, there are places with a minimum lot size of 40, 80, or 160 acres. They're serious about their economy and resources. Are you?

Site Plan Review: A Guidebook for Planning and Zoning Commissions (from MAP)
These Guidebooks are highly useful (and often overlooked by many local units). Yes, there IS a right and a wrong way to review these things. Request a current list of other Guidebooks, which you should consider acquiring.

Conservation Opportunities

Conservation Options, A Landowner's Guide (from LTA)
Options clarifies how nearly anyone can decide the future of their land, saving or even making money along the way. The tools make you wonder why anyone would actually sell land, when that simply gives away all the control, pride, and profit.

Creative Land Development, Bridge to the Future, Robert A. Lemire. (from LTA)
Lemire asks the fundamental question, "Why do developers make all the money, at landowner and community expense?" He then explains how one community took back the right to determine its own future, and why the result satisfied everyone.

Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund Annual Report (from MNRTF)
MNRTF funds recreation or conservation projects for quality lands. If your community plans and applies correctly, MNRTF may foot much of the bill. Any individual can nominate land for acquisition, too. Get the complete nomination materials.

Preserving Family Lands; Essential Tax Strategies for the Landowner, Stephen J. Small. (from LTA)
Every landowner with significant acres or a significant bank account--and a desire to keep either in the family--must read this book. If not, the government will gladly accept either the land or the money after the landowner dies. It's not quite that grim, but close.

Saving America's Countryside, Samuel N. Stokes. (from NTHP)
Saving is great to read, covering nearly every community, agency, landowner, or developer initiative you can imagine (and some you can't). Read this, and you'll believe you can do it yourself, or at least wake up others to help.

Design Elements

Dealing with Change in the Connecticut River Valley: A Design Manual for Conservation and Development, Robert D. Yaro and Randall G. Arendt. (from LI)
Dealing is one source of the common pictures comparing a parcel of land, the same land after conventional (bad) development, and after creative (good) development. It includes many details of how to encourage the latter.

Designing Open Space Subdivisions, and Conservation Design for Subdivisions, Randall Arendt. (from NLT)
Either Design guide would embarrass the proprietor of nearly every subdivision ever drawn, and rightfully so. If every banker and realtor in the country were to learn what's in these books... well, we can dream, can't we?

Grand Traverse Bay Region Development Guidebook (from NDFG)
With great respect for well-intentioned, qualified authors: if there is NO serious effort to limit development in your community, get the Guidebook. Better to have developers do these creative things, than to make do with the doo-doo they usually do.

Rural by Design, Randall Arendt. (from APA)
If Randall Arendt wrote it, read it. Rural in particular. It is a complete, very detailed reference of what is wrong and how to fix it. It includes citations for obscure things, such as the phrase "Subdivisions are always named after what they destroy."

Natural Resources

How to Save a River, a Handbook for Citizen Action, David M. Bolling. (published by Island Press)
The title says it all, although it doesn't mention the great case studies and checklists for getting it done. It could serve as a handbook for saving almost any resource with insufficient public participation in its defense.

Living with Michigan's Wetlands: A Landowner's Guide, Wilfred Cwikiel. (from TOMWC)
If you are concerned about groundwater, habitat, scenic character, recreation... learn about wetlands. This new text tells you all you could know about wetland issues, and identifies many agencies that may know even more.

Michigan's Trend Future (from MAP)
This enormous study (thousands of pages) was slated by politicians who probably didn't care for the revealing results. It seems we're bleeding Michigan dry, and need to take planning seriously, NOW. Perhaps you can get just the colorful summary.


Purchase Sources (always request a current catalog)

AFT (American Farmland Trust)
American Farmland Trust Publications

NDFG (New Designs for Growth)
New Designs for Growth Development Guidebook

LTA (Land Trust Alliance)
Land Tust Alliance Publications

LI (Lincoln Institute of Land Policy) Get yourself a catalog, and ask NOT to receive a new one annually!
Lincoln Institute of Land Policy Publications

MNRTF (Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund)
Recreation Grants Section
Administrative Services Division, MDNR
Box 30425
Lansing MI   48909-7925

MAP (Michigan Association of Planning, formerly MSPO / MAPA)
Michigan Association of Planning Publications

MSU LPI (Michigan State University Land Policy Institute, includes Planning and Zoning Center)
Michigan State University Land Policy Institute Publications

MSU CES (Michigan State University Cooperative Extension Service)
Michigan State University Cooperative Extension Service Bulletins

MTA (Michigan Townships Association)
Michigan Townships Association Books

TOMWC (Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council)
Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council Publications

NLT (Natural Lands Trust)
Natural Lands Trust Publications

APA (American Planning Association) Get yourself a catalog, and ask NOT to receive a new one annually!
American Planning Association Publications

NTHP (National Trust for Historic Preservation)
National Trust for Historic Preservation Books

With the Grain - - Box 517 - - Mattawan, Michigan - - 49017-0517 - - wtg@wtgrain.org

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