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E-M:/ Job Posting for Michigan Land Use Institute



The Michigan Land Use Institute, one of the fastest growing and most effective state-based environmental research and advocacy organizations in the nation, is seeking a proven and talented land planner to advance its shoreline protection program and its overall mission to join natural resource protection with economic development. The successful candidate will have the opportunity to join a 14-member staff of community organizing, communications and technical experts working to improve the management of Michigan’s public and private lands.

Our 2,200 member non-profit organization based in Benzonia, Michigan, has developed cutting edge tools and techniques to tame sprawl, strengthen environmental policy, and build influential citizen movements aimed at fostering progressive land use policies. The Institute’s ability to combine  policy research, journalism and grassroots organizing has helped the us build a solid record of tackling the toughest land use and environmental policy issues and winning.

Send resumes and references by October 16th  to Arlin Wasserman, Policy Director, P.O. Box 228, Benzonia, MI  49616 or deliver them via email to arlin@mlui.org.

The Institute’s Land Planner will assist private land owners, local and state governments implement the Institute’s proposals for better management of rural lands, public forests and the land/surface water interface. The Land Planner also will assist in the development of new approaches for investing public funds in infrastructure development that protects natural resources, supports existing communities and limits sprawling development. For more information about our programs, visit www.mlui.org.

The successful candidate will work under the direction of the Policy Director to:

  • Implement the Shoreline Protection Program, which works with local governments to design and implement a model zoning ordinance that protects of shoreline habitat, especially the endangered piping plover. (25-30 hours/week)
  • Support Farmland Preservation efforts, including advocacy for state policies to slow the loss of farmland, development of local land use measures to support appropriate development of rural lands, and design of site plans to support environmentally sensitive development of farmland in northern Michigan. The Land Planner also will collaborate on the production of guidebooks, Internet resources, fact sheets and other tools to support citizen activists and local governments working to protect farmland. (as needed, about 5 hours per week and more if the project is funded)
  • Support the Transportation and Land Use Reform Program by helping the Transportation Project Coordinator identify and illustrate the land use impacts of state-funded transportation investment, and work with local governments, citizen groups and state agencies to develop mechanisms to ensure transportation proposals support community land use goals.  (as needed, 5 hours per month)
  • Assist in the design and writing of grant proposals to support the Institute’s work.
  • Work with the staff to establish clear, visual examples of the Institute’s approaches to the appropriate uses of urban and rural lands.
  • Establish and maintain relationships with other environmental/conservation groups.
  • Participate in membership recruitment efforts.
  • Support the Institute’s existing programs through public speaking, occasional writing for our quarterly magazine, The Great Lakes Bulletin and the Institute’s web site, and participation in regular staff meetings, evaluation and planning activities.



    The Michigan Land Use Institute was founded in 1995 to establish a new approach to economic development that strengthens communities, enhances opportunity, and protects the state’s unmatched natural resources. The Institute has a 14-member professional staff, and more than 2,400 member families, businesses, local governments and organizations. Our office, located in Benzonia, is in the heart of Northwest Michigan, a region of stunning natural beauty and vibrant small towns.


  • Master’s degree in Urban Planning, Land Planning, Architecture or Landscape Architecture, or a bachelor’s degree in the above fields plus at least 3 years professional experience.
  • Good understanding of Michigan’s land use planning and zoning laws and regulations, as well as familiarity with township and village planning and zoning practices
  • Experience in community organizing, the Michigan legislative process or transportation planning is all desirable.
  • Creativity in design for redevelopment of neighborhoods and small towns, and conservation-minded development for rural lands.
  • Familiarity with and commitment to environmental and land use issues.
  • Ability to conduct effective research into economic viability of development proposals, their impacts to natural resources, and the processes for permitting and implementing alternative plans.
  • Ability to improve the Institute’s capacity to develop positive, workable alternatives to environmental damaging and sprawling development.
  • Extensive travel to promote the shoreline protection program and other Institute activities around Michigan.
  • Strong writing and public speaking skills.
  • Strong interpersonal skills to build positive and lasting relationships with members and staff.
  • Ability to work effectively in an interdisciplinary, collaborative workplace.
  • Ability to work calmly and efficiently under deadline.
  • Commitment to service in the public interest.



    Computer Skills: Excellent familiarity and comfort with Microsoft Office 98 or 2000 and personal computer operating systems, as well as basic internet-assisted research and communications. Aptitude and experience with computer aided design programs preferred.
    Salary: Starting at $30,000-$35,000  plus health and retirement benefits.
    Hours: Full time.

    The Michigan Land Use Institute is an independent, non-profit organization that conducts research and works with policy makers and citizens to link environmental goals with economic development. The Institute is an equal opportunity employer, considering candidates without regard to gender, race, sexual preference, religion, or political affiliation.