Everyone is impacted by how land is used. Land Use describes a decision-making process used to determine how land should be developed to meet the needs of residents, businesses, and government. Building mixed-use developments, adding more bike lanes and walking paths, or zoning land for commercial development are examples of just some of the ways land can be developed to meet community needs.


From basic to advanced core content, to special and emerging topics, the  Land Use Training and Education Program is designed to provide opportunities for elected and appointed officials, land use planning and zoning staff, the business community, community-based organizations, and concerned citizens from cities, suburbs, towns, and rural areas to engage in conversations and collaborative learning that will drive toward equitable and sustainable land use outcomes.

On-Demand Sessions Now Available

New sessions for 2022 just added!

Check out our online library of on-demand sessions covering the most popular topics for those new to the field, looking for a refresher, or looking to expand knowledge on a specific topic.

*As the registration terms and conditions state, access is limited to each individual as registered, and may not be shared with external persons. 

Land Use 101
Planning & Zoning: The Essential Elements


This session covers the nuts & bolts of planning and zoning, providing the essential information needed to understand planning, zoning and subdivision regulations. Participants will learn how planning and zoning tools can assist in development and redevelopment, as well as understand the roles and responsibilities of the various stakeholders involved in the planning process.  

Topics covered include – an introduction to land use planning, tools used for planning and zoning, planning exercises, procedures in the planning process, and discussion and questions.

Audience – Designed for anyone new to land use planning or interested in a review of the fundamentals.

Presenter – Phil Carlson of Stantec

Price – $69 for the 2.5 hour session

Land Use 201
Individual Breakout Sessions 

Click the + sign on the right of each session tab to view the full description. These sessions are $39 each and vary in length from 1 to 2.5 hours. 
Beyond the Essentials of Planning & Zoning

Hosted by Phil Carlson of Stantec

In this session, participants will learn how planning and zoning tools are used to deal with a variety of development issues influencing a community’s built environment. The complexities of variances and CUPs are a major focus, but we will also take your suggestions on what needs to be covered. The presentation will cover the what, when, and why (with “how-to’s” and “how-not-to’s”) with examples and case studies!

Subdivision 101

Hosted by Erin Perdu of WSB

The subdivision ordinance has important statutory authorities that are lacking from planning statutes and your zoning ordinance.  The subdivision ordinance does regulate the creating of new parcels of land, but the ordinance can also be the tool for dedication of public lands, the installation of public and private utilities, and the collection of development fees.  The subdivision training may be of interest for planners, engineers, administrators, parks, and legal professions.

Tailoring Opportunity Zones to Your Community

Hosted by Elissa Hansen & Karl Schuettler of Northspan

Since their designation in 2018, Opportunity Zones have generated significant attention as a potential tool to drive new investment in long underserved communities. While OZs are already generating millions of dollars of investment, they also come with serious concerns for the communities in which they are located. Opportunity Zone projects also look very different in urban and rural areas, and communities must tailor their approaches to best coordinate local development opportunities with potential sources of funding. In this session, the partners behind the MN Opportunity Collaborative will provide an overview of the incentive, explain how communities can leverage Opportunity Zones through collaboration on projects, outline how to make sure projects result in genuine social impact in Minnesota, and provide a hands-on opportunity to work through a case study that brings all of these ideas together.

Comp Plan Implementation

Hosted by Molly Just of WSB

Now that you have updated your comprehensive plan take advantage of that momentum and get implementing!  We’ll cover what must be implemented to ensure that your zoning ordinance is found consistent, what should be implemented (because if you don’t it might be another 10 years, or because you might lose stakeholder support if you don’t), and how to tackle implementation when it requires collaboration outside the planning department.  As time allows, we’ll break out into small groups to share experiences and tackle topics regarding implementation.

Managing Risk: Know the Legal Basics of Planning & Zoning

Hosted by Mike Couri of Couri & Ruppe, P.L.L.P.

Through a review of the fundamental principles and key legal issues that guide land use decisions, as well as interactive discussions of case studies, participants in this session will learn how to make sound and legally supportable land use decisions. This workshop covers the legal basics of planning and zoning including statutory authority and constitutional limits, open meeting law, conducting public hearings, making findings of fact,  the 60-day rule and avoiding litigation.

Land Use Special Topics
Individual Breakout Sessions 

Click the + sign on the right of each course tab to view the full course description. These courses are $39 each and vary in length from 1 to 2.5 hours. 
Climate Action Planning at the State Scale

Hosted by Suzanne Rhees and Dan Shaw of MN BWSR

Minnesota’s state agencies and partners are engaged in collaborative climate planning at an unprecedented scale. This session provides an overview of state level climate planning initiatives under a Climate Subcabinet, along with a deeper dive into the Board of Water & Soil Resources’ climate action plan. The BWSR plan focuses on both climate mitigation and adaptation/ resilience across multiple soil and water conservation programs, including new initiatives for soil health and water storage. 

Taking the Plan Off the Shelf: From Climate Plans to Action

Hosted by Abby Finis and Jessi Wyatt of Great Plains Institute

This workshop highlights how communities can quickly move toward implementing equitable climate actions with tangible results. Highlighted are the broad range of benefits that can be realized through climate action. Participants will identify how to develop initiatives for their own communities. 

Transportation and Land Use Strategies to Reduce Carbon Pollution

Hosted by Tim Sexton and Nissa Tupper of MnDOT, Tom Fisher of U of M, and Rayla Bellis of Smart Growth America

The Minnesota Department of Transportation, Center for Transportation Studies, and Smart Growth America explore actions the state can take to reduce greenhouse gas emissions generated by our transportation system and land use patterns. Hear from topic-area experts and learn about opportunities related to transportation and land use planning in different geographic contexts. This session focuses on identifying equity impacts and considerations related to transportation and land use planning.

Transforming Land Use for Increased Public Benefit

Hosted by Jason Amberg of WSB and Megan Smith of Lake City, MN 

This session provides an in-depth overview of the processes utilized to transform utilitarian public land into a dynamic civic space that connects Lake Pepin with the downtown area of Lake City, MN. 

The speakers review the planning and community engagement strategy that gained support by residents, business owners, and politicians which led to commitment and funding for redevelopment. The discussion identifies how the many challenges faced were overcome through a 
transparent and inclusive planning and design process that is dramatically transforming the use and beautification of this important area 
of the City.

Increasing & Supporting Diversity on Advisory Commissions

Hosted by Terri Thao and Chai Lee of Nexus Community Partners, Courtney Schroeder of General Mills

As cities diversify in their residents and businesses, how do they ensure that same representation shows up on public advisory commissions? Hear from staff from Nexus Community Partners’ Boards & Commissions Leadership Institute (BCLI), along with invited elected officials and a currently seated advisory committee member about tools and strategies to help increase and support diversity (in this case, racial diversity) on advisory commissions.  

Purchase the All Access Pass for the best deal!

Receive access to all 11 sessions  15+ hours of content for $129!

In Case You Missed It…

Changing the Landscape of Land Use: The Intersection of Climate, Health & Equity

On March 25th, 2021 Mary Wynne of Fusion Learning Partners spoke to a panel of professionals to provide insight into why it is imperative that we rethink our approach to land use planning and zoning, and how we can approach this decision making process in a conscientious way that benefits ALL communities for generations to come. Panelists included Terri Thao, Program Director at Nexus Community Partners, Eric Weiss, Program Director at the Trust for Public Land, and Cameran Bailey, Senior Planner at the Met Council. Click the button below to review the session!

Tailored In-Person Trainings

Are you looking for a custom land use training for yourself, your employees, your city, or your county? This is the option for you! We will provide tailored, in-person (as COVID-19 protocols allow) trainings built around topics that are relevant to you and your work. Availability is on a case by case basis depending on needs, timing and location.


Please contact us at support@fusionlp.org for more information & to get connected!

About Fusion Learning Partners

From learning opportunities and events to organizational development and collaborative initiatives, Fusion exists to strengthen and transform the communities where we work, live, and thrive.

Because Innovation Begins with Learning.