Monday, October 12th & Tuesday, October 13th, 2020

GTS Educational Events, as part of its Land Use Training & Education Program, is proud to present the 2020 Land Use Conference. The purpose of this conference 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.

This one and a half day conference will be held in October via the virtual platform, Zoom. 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 sessions below for additional information!


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

Days 1 & 2    |    $150
Day 1    |    $70
Day 2    |    $110 

*All content will be recorded for later access by paid attendees* If you would like to watch the sessions you miss, we will be recording all sessions and making these recordings available after the conference, free of charge to those who registered for the conference and for a nominal fee for those who did not register.

Note: If you register for only one of the conference days, you will only be able to access that days’ session recordings.


About Megan Dayton

Keynote – Megan Dayton

Minnesota State Senior Demographer

Demographic Shifts and the Role In Planning
Tuesday, October 13th from 8:30-9:30am

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.

About Jacob Wascalus

Lunch Presenter – Jacob Wascalus

Research Scientist 

 Using the Minnesota Compass to Learn About Your Community 
Tuesday, October 13th from 12-12:30pm

Minnesota Compass is an online resource that provides data and insights about communities across the state. Learn how to use to gather information (e.g., demographic, economic, housing data and more ) about the people and households who live and work in your community.


For a downloadable agenda, click here! 

Monday, October 12th, 2020

1-2:30pm Planning & Zoning: The Essential Elements Part 1
2:30-2:45pm Break
2:45-4pm Planning & Zoning: The Essential Elements Part 2

Tuesday, October 13th, 2020 

8:30-9:30am Welcome, Opening Comments & Megan Dayton Keynote
9:30-9:45am Break
9:45-11:45am Concurrent Sessions (5 options – see below!)
11:45-12pm Break
12-12:30pm Lunch Speaker, Jacob Wascalus
12:30-1pm Break
1-3pm Repeat Concurrent Sessions


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 

This session presented by Phil Carlson of Stantec 


Click the + on the right side to read the full session descriptions & speaker information!

Please note each session will be repeated once in the morning and once in the afternoon on Tuesday, October 13th. 

Session 1 & 6: Subdivision 101

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.

**Sessions 1 & 6 presented by Erin Perdu of WSB 

Session 2 & 7: 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.

**Sessions 2 & 7 presented by a panel of speakers: Elissa Hansen, Karl Schuettler, Terri Thao & Dannielle Lewis 

Session 3 & 8: Comp Plan Implementation

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.

**Sessions 3 & 8 presented by Molly Just of WSB

Session 4 & 9: Managing 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.

**Sessions 4 & 9 presented by Mike Couri of Couri & Ruppe, P.L.L.P.

Session 5 & 10: Beyond the Essentials of Planning & Zoning

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!

**Sessions 5 & 10 presented by Phil Carlson of Stantec 

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.