Teens on Planning Commissions? No More, Says Michigan

Michigan's one-year experiment in giving local mayors and township supervisors the option to appoint someone less than 18 years-of-age to a planning commission appears to be coming to an abrupt end.

""Why don't young people get involved?"

This is the oft-heard refrain as we lament the low turnout of young adults in local elections and their absence from community planning efforts. A small but important step was taken here in Michigan in 2008 with the adoption of the new "Michigan Planning Enabling Act." This legislation opened up new opportunities for local (non-resident) business owners, school officials, and young people (under-18 years-old - not yet eligible to vote) to have a stronger voice in the long-term planning and development of their communities. A diversity of perspectives is essential to the success of any local planning commission. Where local communities take advantage of this opportunity, their planning efforts will be the better for it.

Unfortunately, this 11-month-old Michigan experiment in expanding the potential pool of planning commissioners may be coming to an abrupt end for the under-18 set because of a new bill, SB 726, introduced by Senator Patricia Birkholz, and recently passed by the state Senate."

Thanks to Rodney C. Nanney, AICP

Full Story: Youth in Local Government

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