Spring is Right Around the Corner: Start Planning!

Hello fellow planners – I hope everyone enjoyed the holiday weekend.

With a very light winter throughout Southern New England, mid-February is a great time to start mapping out our goals for the rest of the year and, consistent with CCAPA’s Start with Planning initiative, a number of implementation projects are underway.

Upcoming Events:  On Monday, February 26, CCAPA is pleased to partner with the Connecticut Home Finance Agency (CHFA) on an event at the Lyceum in Hartford.  Appropriately titled, “Affordable Housing Markets and Financing: How Affordable Housing Gets Built”, this event will explore not only the need for affordable housing but also the tools and techniques necessary to gain financing for aspirational projects.  The event features keynote presentations by Dr. John Glasgock, Director, Center for Real Estate and Urban Economics, University of Connecticut School of Business and Lesley Higgins Biddle, Senior Program Officer, Local Initiative Support Corporation, followed by a panel discussion.  To prepare for Monday’s event, please read up on the chapter’s housing resources at CCAPA’s web portal and APA’s Planning Home resource page. Click Here to register for Monday’s event. 

On Thursday, February 28 also at the Lyceum, planners can obtain CM credits at “Hidden in Plain Sight”, a Connecticut Main Streets focused on preservation and adaptive reuse.  Featuring James B. Lindberg, Vice President, Research & Policy Lab, National Trust for Historic Preservation, this event is in keeping with CCAPA’s value-of-place strategy for economic development.  If you cannot make it to the Lyceum, the same event will be repeated on March 1 at the Wall Street Theater in Norwalk. Click Here to register.

Connecticut Planning Magazine:  If not already, please take some time to read up on Connecticut Planning magazine.  The Winter, 2019 issue features ways to advocate for the disabled in planning.   With articles by Bill Voelker, Al Sylvester and Phil Barlow, the magazine is a great resource to improve advocacy and implementation of accessible design throughout our communities.

APA Policy Guides:  February is also a great time to comment on APA’s new draft policy guides on equity, housing, and surface transportation. Members can download the draft guides and share feedback using the associated comment forms online now through February 28. The draft guides, which were created by APA members and approved by APA’s Legislative and Policy Committee, represent the collective thinking of association members on organization-wide priority issues. CCAPA will make formal comment leading up to adoption at the 2019 National Planning Conference in San Francisco.  Visit here to learn more about APA’s policy guide development process and current guides.

Thank you as always for your support of CCAPA and good planning in Connecticut!

Michael Piscitelli, AICP

City of New Haven

Wrapping Up SNEAPA and Community Planning Month – People’s Choice Vote Closes Today, November 2nd. Vote now!

Hello fellow planners: It was great to see many of you in Hartford for SNEAPA and I truly valued the opportunity to talk with you about hot topics in your home communities as well as our statewide efforts in support of planning.

The conference planning committee once again delivered with educational and thought-provoking sessions, together with time for fun and interactive activities like the Game of Zones!  In addition to the heartfelt words of singer/songwriter Dar Williams, Mayor Luke Bronin and Chapter member Sara Bronin inspired the audience with the revitalization story in Hartford.  As we look forward to Springfield, MA in 2019, the chapter extends its sincere thanks to Demian Sorrentino, AICP, Chair, Dan Tuba, Honorary Co-Chair, Jamie Bratt, AICP, Phil Chester, AICP, Jeanne Davies, AICP, Maureen Giusti, Robert Gosselin, II, Emily Hultquist, AICP, Jennifer Kaufman, AICP, Marek Kozikowski, AICP, Michele Lipe, AICP, Craig Minor, AICP, Carly Myers, AICP, Rob Phillips, AICP, Steven Sadlowski, AICP, Heidi Samokar, AICP, Chris Smith and Alan Weiner, AICP for helping us to shine in Hartford this year!

We closed out Community Planning Month with our first public presentation of the Start with Planning Initiative at CCM’s annual convention on October 30 at Foxwoods.  Amanda Kennedy, John Guszkowski, Emmeline Harrigan, Erin Wilson and Ken Livingston presented the policy papers followed by an engaged question and answer session.  With the election just around the corner, please continue to share the Start with Planning message as we advocate for Connecticut’s core value and a team approach to problem-solving and program delivery.  The special edition of CT Planning as well as the policy papers are all available at https://www.ccapa.org/legislative/start-with-planning/

Earlier in October, CCAPA celebrated the Great Places in America designation for the Mill River Park in Downtown Stamford.  Now comes your opportunity to participate in the People’s Choice Award.  Please support Norwich, Southeastern Connecticut, the Mohegan Tribe and Connecticut by casting your vote for the Uncas Leap Heritage Area.  The 1.2 acre landmark along the Yantic River was the site of the Battle of Great Plains and is now a signature heritage destination in Norwich.  The vote closes today so please take some time and vote for Connecticut’s people’s choice! https://www.planning.org/greatplaces/peopleschoice/

Thank you as always for your support of CCAPA and good planning in Connecticut!


Michael Piscitelli, AICP

City of New Haven


APA Recognizes a Great Place in America: Stamford’s Mill River Park

Earlier today, Stamford’s Mill River Park was honored as one of the American Planning Association (APA) 15 Great Places for 2018 through the organization’s national flagship program, Great Places in America.  Congratulations and special thanks to Emily Gordon, who led the application process, and Nia Rhodes Jackson, Director of Programs and Visitor Services for the Mill River Partnership, who joined the national award winners in Washington earlier today.  The Connecticut Chapter was pleased to provide a letter of support, technical assistance and validation for the outstanding work of the Mill River Partnership, the City of Stamford and the community of stakeholders that have made Mill River Park a distinctive asset for the Downtown and the entire city.

APA’s Great Places in America recognizes unique and exemplary streets, neighborhoods, and public spaces — three essential components of all communities. These authentic places have been shaped by forward thinking planning that showcases affordable transportation options, promotes community involvement and accessibility, and fosters economic opportunity.

APA Great Places showcases the best examples of where and how people work and live every day. They are defined by many characteristics including architectural features, accessibility, functionality and community involvement.

Great Places in America is one of the ways APA starts the countdown to National Community Planning Month each October, a month-long event celebrating the accomplishments of the many residents, leaders, officials, and professionals who contribute to making great communities through the planning process.

To learn more about each of this year’s designees, as well as prior recipients from Connecticut, please visit: www.planning.org/greatplaces and please join us for a public ceremony at Mill River Park on October 5, 2018 at 10:00AM.

Thank you as always for your support of CCAPA and good planning in Connecticut!

Michael Piscitelli, AICP

SNEAPA registration is now open!

Registration for SNEAPA 2018 is open!  The conference is October 18 & 19 at the Connecticut Convention Center.  Visit www.sneapa.org to register, check out the program, and reserve your hotel room.  This year’s program includes 3 great mobile workshops, including a trip to Meriden, a downtown walking tour, and a visit to Hartford’s northern neighborhoods.  And the Thursday evening reception will be at the historic Society Room.

Happy Labor Day and Welcome Fall!

Hello fellow planners – I hope you had a very nice Labor Day weekend and are gearing up for a very busy fall season!

Many of you participated in our annual Hot Topics event at Goodwin College on June 8.  At the time, everyone was encouraged to explore Connecticut over the summer and I look forward to hearing your stories of discovery.  Chapter members also have been hard at work advocating for the profession and continuing meaningful efforts around the state, highlighted in part by the release of the draft plan for transit oriented development in Danbury, the conservation and development plan for Branford, and the intensive efforts in many towns for certification through the Sustainable CT program.  The opening of the Hartford Line is another great example of the relationship between planning and transformative change in each of the communities along the line.  Similar success stories will be featured at the Art of Planning, SNEAPA and the Chapter Awards program.

As we head into fall, please take some time to get involved with planning activities and participate at one of our upcoming events.

Chapter Vote & Bylaw Amendment.  If you have not already done so, please take a minute to vote for the proposed amendments to the Chapter’s bylaws by this Saturday, September 8.  As discussed at Hot Topics, the amendment will make our bylaws consistent with APA’s requirements under the performance criteria for all chapters.  On a more practical level, the change prepares us for a leadership transition next year: a chapter vote would be held in the first part of next year with a President-Elect installed in July, 2019.  The new President would then take office in January, 2020.

APA Fall Policy & Advocacy Conference.  Please join APA members from across the country at the annual Policy and Advocacy Conference, to be held September 23 – 25 in Washington, DC.  The conference is highlighted by policy seminars leading up to Planner’s Day on Capitol Hill.  This year, APA Advocates will be focused on four policy objectives:

  • Invest in the nation’s critical infrastructure;
  • Expand housing choice and affordability with policies that support inclusive growth and greater access to economic and social mobility;
  • Provide high quality federal data that supports effective local planning and decision making; and
  • Promote healthy and safe communities through good planning and strategic public investments.

These policies are entirely consistent with our Start with Planning initiative here in Connecticut and I hope you can find the time and get to Capitol Hill.

SNEAPA 2018.  It’s not too early to make your arrangements for this year’s Southern New England Planning Conference to be held right here in Hartford, October 18-19.  The conference planning committee has developed a program with educational and thought-provoking sessions, with time for fun and interactive activities as well.  Singer/songwriter Dar Williams will give the keynote address; there will be mobile workshops to Downtown Meriden and to the historic Swift Factory in Hartford’s North End as well as a walking tour to the new University of Connecticut campus in Downtown Hartford.  The Thursday reception will be held at the elegant Society Room and is not to be missed even for those not staying overnight!  Please visit the conference website at https://www.sneapa.org/ for more information.

 Start with Planning Initiative.  CCAPA launched its 2018 policy framework to engage candidates for statewide office on matters important to planners and the planning profession.  Special topic areas include economic development, conservation, housing, coastal resiliency and transportation.  CCAPA will continue to advocate for Connecticut’s core value and a team approach to problem-solving and program delivery with presentations scheduled at SNEAPA on October 18 and CCM on October 30.  Please join us at these important interactive sessions.  The special edition of CT Planning as well as the policy papers are all available at https://www.ccapa.org/legislative/start-with-planning/

Thank you as always for your support of CCAPA and good planning in Connecticut!

Michael Piscitelli, AICP

City of New Haven


CCAPA Proposed By-Laws Revision

In order to conform with the American Planning Association’s election cycle, CCAPA has proposed revisions to Article XI, Chapter Elections, of the CCAPA By-Laws.

Please read the proposed revisions here: CCAPA Bylaw Revision 2018.

If you are a CCAPA member you will receive an e-mail asking for your vote this month.

2018 CCAPA Planning Award Nominations Now Open!

Each year, the Connecticut Chapter of the American Planning Association invites nominations for its annual Planning Awards to showcase outstanding projects, people and places.

The initial nomination process is simple. Simply e-mail the Awards Committee by October 5th at 4:30pm the following:

  • Project Name & Location
  • Nominee Name, Telephone & Email
  • A concise explanation of the project, what was accomplished, who was involved and why you think it is worthy of consideration

The 2018 CCAPA AWARDS Call for Nominations provides more details on which projects are eligible, and how to make a nomination.


New Professional Development Officer

CCAPA is pleased to announce that Steven Sadlowski, AICP will join the Executive Board as our new Professional Development Officer.

For those of you who do not know Steve, he has served as Director of Planning and Community Development in Winchester since 2015. In this role he supervised the creation of an online GIS, new zoning regulations, electronic permitting.  He has also worked on several development projects including the redevelopment of two adaptive reuse mill building projects.  Prior to his job in Winchester, he served as the Land Use Administrator in New Hartford and Canterbury.

Steve is also a steadfast member of “team AICP,” assisting with the annual training class for prospective AICP candidates. Steve’s has an MS in Geography from Central Connecticut State University. In addition to serving as our new PDO, Steve is also on the Board of Directors for the Northwest Connecticut Economic Development Corporation.

Please feel free to extend a personal welcome to Steve.

We also wish to acknowledge and thank Sue Westa, AICP, who served for many years as our Chapter’s PDO.  Our AICP-certified planners are truly appreciative of Sue’s work in developing “CM-credit” programs, facilitating professional development and elevating our work in keeping with national best practices.

Thank you Sue and welcome Steve!

SNEAPA Call for Sessions

The Southern New England American Planning Association (SNEAPA) invites you share your expertise and experiences in planning and development with a session at the 2018 SNEAPA Regional Planning Conference. CCAPA is hosting this annual event at the Connecticut Convention Center in Hartford, CT on October 18-19, 2018.

The SNEAPA Conference draws up to 700 planners, engineers, architects, landscape architects,
academics, students and other professionals, across the public and private sectors, from Connecticut,
Massachusetts, Rhode Island and the surrounding region.

The Committee seeks sessions that will provide attendees with knowledge and skills necessary to engage in best practices in planning, design, and public engagement. Priority will be given to sessions which provide significant audience participation, hands-on and skill-building workshops. SNEAPA provides opportunities for presenters and attendees to earn CM credits for AICP certified planners.

Visit www.sneapa.org for further information.

Start with Planning

CCAPA is pleased to announce the release of Start with Planning, our chapter’s policy platform for 2018 and a signature building block for good planning through technical assistance, public awareness and collaboration.  Our values not only “help planners plan” but also lend critical insights as Connecticut navigates through the year in the midst of a slow overall economic recovery and ongoing fiscal issues at many levels of government.  These challenges have understandably dominated statewide conversation, often leaving little room to emphasize the incredibly powerful stories of ingenuity and innovation happening across Connecticut.  We learned about these stories as part of the outreach for Start with Planning, which included small- and large-group conversations over the past six months.

This work is best summarized in our Winter 2018 special edition of CT Planning, our flagship publication, which features an overall summary of work accomplished to date and summary sections from a series of Policy Papers on key topics in planning.  A project Presentation Deck with a Summary of Member Comments from our conversation at SNEAPA in Providence is also posted on our website.

The Start with Planning message is focused on our collective sense of place, focusing on the authenticity of Connecticut as a core value and also recognizing the need to accelerate our pace in order to stay current with socio-economic trends moving at a far more rapid speed; and to continue to build up “Team Connecticut”, the broad coalition of technical professionals who can carry out the work in the years to come.  One immediate next step is the launch of CCAPA’s new Community Planning Assistance Team program.  Modeled after APA’s national program, CCAPA members are volunteering their time to assist you with a planning- or land use-related challenge in your community.

Pulling this initiative together required extraordinary efforts on the part of our members.  Special thanks to our chapter’s Executive Board, Government Relations Committee and Start with Planning research groups.  Guidance documents coming out of the University of Connecticut’s CIRCA program, the Connecticut Main Street Center and the Partnership for Strong Communities are particularly noteworthy.  The Regional Plan Association’s Fourth Regional Plan provided important guidance and emphasized the crisis in equity stating that, “in 2017, the region ranked as one of the least affordable and most highly segregated regions in the country by both race/ethnicity and income.”  Without a renewed commitment to social equity, there is simply nowhere to start on a path forward.

Our Government Relations Committee, co-chairs Amanda Kennedy and John Guszkowski, merit special recognition for the tireless efforts above and beyond their already-demanding responsibilities on the legislative side.  Thank you for your efforts on behalf of Connecticut’s planners!

I welcome your feedback on Start with Planning and encourage you to get involved.  We will continue the dialogue at an upcoming program or event, including Hot Topics this June and the Southern New England Planning Conference to be held October 18-19, 2018 in Harford.

If you would like more information on the many ways CCAPA can assist you in professional practice, please do not hesitate to call me at (203) 946-2867 or send me an email.

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