Why take the ZAC Program?

Participants working in a group during the 2016 ZAC ProgramZoning administrators are among the most important local officials. They are the front line for new development and redevelopment in a community. How well they do, or do not do, their job has a great impact on the future of their community. Consider the following:

  • If a zoning administrator makes a mistake it can result in:
    • The community getting sued;
    • A building being erected or a land use being established contrary to the zoning ordinance; and/or
    • Creating a bad impression of the community, depending on how applicants or complainants are treated.
  • Millions of dollars are spent by Michigan communities and insurance companies defending communities from lawsuits or paying damages. Some of these costs were created by incorrect decisions by local zoning administrators. A recent judgment in federal court was for $800,000 against a township and its zoning administrator!
  • Most zoning administrators have had no formal training. They learned on the job and may not have uniform skills, but courts expect them to know the rudiments of law as it relates to zoning administration.

Past Participant Recommendations

Looking for recommendations and/or the opinions of past program participants? Check out the responses below:

  • “This program will protect your community, will protect you, and will greatly improve customer service to ALL customers.”
  • “This is the best class I’ve taken in years. It has given me more confidence to do my job correctly and pointed out areas to work on.”
  • “I was presented with many practical ideas that I should be able to implement immediately.”
  • “Knowledgeable instructors, excellent material!”
  • “This should be a state mandated program.”
  • “You can learn about the pitfalls to avoid legal issues.”
  • “You have to go. The information is terrific!”
  • I was able to use one of the example staff reports for both ZBA and Planning Commissions, which made the meeting process smoother.”

Past Participant Survey Opinions

When 2015 participants were asked to describe their personal opinion of their knowledge of zoning administration following program completion, 90% of surveyed participants described their knowledge as “good” or “excellent” (as opposed to only 25% before the class). This is typical.

  • One hundred percent of the 2015 participants would recommend all Zoning Administrators attend the program and 96% recommend it for consultants providing zoning services.
  • All participants that have taken the Zoning Administrator Certificate program have rated the overall program “excellent” or “good,” with most rating it “excellent.”
  • When asked when the program should be taken to be of the greatest benefit, the responses were overwhelmingly positive. Respondents asserted that the program would be beneficial to zoning administrators of all skill and experience levels, but especially for new ZAs.