October 26 & 27, 2020

Resource Training & Solutions – 137 23rd St S #201, Sartell, MN 56377

GTS Educational Events, as part of its Land Use Training & Education Program, is proud to present the 2020 Regional Land Use Conference Series. The purpose of the regional conferences is to provide timely, relevant, and accessible land-use related information in a convenient “one-stop” opportunity. The conference format also gives attendees time for peer learning, networking and connections to local and statewide resources.

These one and a half day regional conferences will be held in October in the Twin Cities Metro area, the greater St. Cloud area, and the greater Mankato area. Topics will include the essential components of land use planning & zoning, a deeper dive into specific issues and plenary sessions providing information and resources to support the work of community planning. Participants can choose to attend both days or one day, depending on their needs and schedules.  See the concurrent session options below for more information!


About Susan Brower

Susan Brower

Minnesota State Demographer

Keynote Title – Demographic Shifts and the Role In Planning 

In this keynote presentation, Minnesota State Demographer Megan Dayton will share the new social and economic realities that are brought about by recent demographic shifts, and how demographic changes in regions and communities impact a range of areas including workforce, education, health, housing and transportation. Understanding the demographics in your region and community and how to access and use the data is a key component in helping you and your community plan for the present and the future.

2020 Regional Land Use – North Central Agenda

Monday, October 26th, 2020


1 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. Planning & Zoning – The Essentials with Phil Carlson

Tuesday, October 27th, 2020

8:30 a.m. – 9:30 a.m. Welcome & Keynote, Susan Brower

9:30 a.m. – 9:45 a.m. Morning Break

9:45 a.m. – 11:45 a.m. 3 Concurrent Session Options (see below!)

11:45 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. Lunch Break

12:15 p.m. – 1 p.m. Lunch Speaker

1:00 p.m.  – 1:15 p.m. Break

1:15 p.m.  – 3:15 p.m. 3 Concurrent Session Options (see below!)


Pre-Conference Session – Land Use Planning & Zoning: The Essential Elements

This workshop is an abbreviated version of the Basics of Planning & Zoning, covering 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 

Option 1 – Beyond The Essentials 

In this workshop, 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!

Presenter – Phil Carlson of Stantec 

Option 2 – Manage Risk: Know the Legal Basics of Planning & Zoning 

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.

Presenter – Mike Couri of Couri & Ruppe, P.L.L.P.

Option 3 – Tailoring Opportunity Zones to Your Community 

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.

Presenters – Elissa Hansen & Karl Schuettler of Northspan 


We’d love to see you at our 2020 North Central Regional Land Use Conference!

Days 1 & 2    |    $150
Day 1    |    $70
Day 2    |    $110 *Day 2 includes lunch

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About GTS Educational Events

If you are a nonprofit or public sector group looking to create a conference, workshop or educational event with impact, look to GTS. We believe educational events are successful when participants learn and grow and then return to their organizations and communities to make them stronger. We look forward to continuing our work with the broad spectrum of organizations striving to make a difference for the people and communities they serve.

GTS Educational Events is a nonpartisan organization, and does not take positions on any legislation or ballot measures, nor does it endorse or oppose any candidates in elections to public office.