Fall Planning and Zoning Workshop Archives

Thank you for joining us for our Fall Planning & Zoning Workshop. Read the Program. Below you’ll find presentation archives.


2023 Fall Planning and Zoning Workshop

Plenary – Public Participation: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Public participation is a cornerstone of the Planning and Zoning process and few would
disagree that it is a vital component of sound decision-making. However, unstructured participation can actually
impede the process, sometimes causing inefficiency, frustration and even animosity. We will try to discuss
participation issues that arise in Public Hearing management, Open Meetings Law and Freedom of Information Law
compliance and possibly “Citizen Audits” with an eye (and ear) toward best Planning and Zoning decision-making

Presented by:, Mark Schachner, Esq. Miller, Mannix, Schachner & Hafner, LLC.


Tiny Homes, Big Questions: Regulating Tiny Homes in Your Jurisdiction

While tiny homes have been around for years, recent trends in downsizing as well as a lack
of affordable housing have caused the popularity of tiny homes to skyrocket. This course will
provide an overview of the laws governing tiny homes in NY, and the regulatory options available at the local level. The
learning objectives are to cover the types of tiny homes local governments may encounter, the codes that are
applicable to the structures and the methods available to regulate the structures.

Presented by: Katie Hodgdon, NYS Association of Towns



Matching your Code to your Streetscape and Transportation Goals

This session will illustrate how to make sure your zoning match the streetscape and transportation goals your municipality wants to achieve. If you would like to
encourage transit coming to your neighborhood, make sure you have the density for transit (and your zoning matches).
If you want to encourage traffic calming, consider reducing your travel lanes and adding traffic calming elements and
street trees.

Presented by: Katherine Ember, Planning4Places



Protecting Wetlands and Streams in Your Community

Wetland and stream regulations are changing at the federal and state level. Many wetlands and streams are vulnerable to
degradation and loss. This session will detail changes to federal and state wetlands and
stream regulations and ways local governments are protecting these key water resources.

Presented by: Christine Vanderlan, Hudson River Estuary Program and Emily Svenson, Gordon and Svenson



Special Use Permits

Some uses require additional review and should be granted permission
only if certain conditions are met. SUPs are used in environmentally sensitive overlay zones
(like wetlands or steep slopes). Rules local boards must follow for reviewing and approving
applications are covered.

Presented by: Christopher Eastman and Brent Irving, NYS Department of State


Local Leader’s Toolkit for Attracting Private Investment

This session is designed to address the trend of local leaders relegating the responsibility for economic development to county or regional leadership. Even the best
county economic developer will struggle to meet local expectations without a clear sense of community vision.
This session overviews the foundation of local planning that is critical to any economic development effort, as well as
tools and tactics that local leaders can deploy to understand their assets, invest in critical infrastructure, and market
their community as a destination for private investment.

Presented by: Matt Horn, MRB Group



Watershed Protection and Water Quality for People and Wildlife:

Watershed-based planning is the foundation of the Hudson River Estuary Program (HREP) watershed team’s work. This session shows us the importance of the HREP watershed team and highlight examples of projects we’ve been involved in. This session will also include techniques to protect or restore aquatic resources and provide an overview of related funding and technical assistance opportunities related to these topics. Examples include riparian buffers, barrier removal, source watershed planning, and water quality monitoring. Social justice and equity topics will be covered by explaining how HREP is working to include environmental justice in our work proactively by using data for the prioritization of environmental justice work, highlighting a few specific projects, and giving a big picture overview of the implications of recent legislation such as New York’s Climate Leadership Community Protection Act (CLCPA).

Presented by: Anna Palmer, NYS DEC Hudson River Estuary Program


The Road Ahead: Solutions for Transportation and Land Use Challenges

The session will highlight the key findings of its draft Congestion Management Process & Coordinated
Transportation-Human Services Plan. These recently completed initiatives are integral to the
development of the long-range transportation plan. The presentation will focus on the connection between land use
planning & transportation & how tools like site design, access management, corridor planning, & zoning practices can
be utilized to reduce congestion & create more connected communities. It will also touch on important topics like
Smart Growth, ADA requirements, & evolving technologies. The session will offer attendees a first opportunity to
provide input on these plans & to learn about their relationship to the regional transportation plan, known as New
Visions 2050.

Presented by: Jen Ceponis, Carrie Ward, and Andrew Tracy, Capital Region Transportation Council


Housing Trends and Regulatory Options

This session will explore the rising need in housing,
how municipalities are identifying and addressing key obstacles, and focusing on evaluating
required local code modifications to support housing diversity. Program speaker will discuss
key housing goals of New York State and will identify various funding streams available to communities to update local
plans and to fund housing programs.

Presented by: Nicole Allen, Laberge Group


Free Assistance to Protect Your Community’s Drinking Water Source

Wetland and stream regulations are changing at the federal and state level. Many wetlands and streams are
vulnerable to degradation and loss. This session will detail changes to federal and state wetlands
and stream regulations and ways local governments are protecting these key water resources.
Participants will increase their familiarity with the types and values of wetlands in the Hudson
Valley. They will gain knowledge of the changes to federal regulation of streams and wetlands
in the context of the Supreme Court’s ruling in Sackett v. EPA and EPA rulemaking and of the significant pending
reforms to NYS wetlands regulations. Participants will gain knowledge of the gaps in protection for smaller wetlands,
seasonal streams, and adjacent buffers and knowledge of local measures to protect these sensitive and important

Presented by: Lindsey Drew, Stephanie Faccine, and Jayme Breschard, NYS DEC – DWSP2



2022 Fall Planning and Zoning Workshop

Plenary – Recreational Marijuana Implications for Planning and Zoning in NYS 

This session will provide an overview of the provisions of the law that will impact planning and zoning decision making, highlight discretion communities have implementing the law, foreshadow the regulatory landscape and explore lessons learned from other states that have initiated recreational cannabis.

Presented by:, Wade Beltramo, Esq., General Counsel, NY Conference of Mayors,
David O’Brien, President and CEO, Massachusetts Cannabis Business Association





Ethical Considerations for Boards

An interactive discussion of the legal and ethical issues involved in the decision‐making process of planning boards and ZBAs.
Presented by: Mark Schachner, Esq. Miller, Mannix, Schachner & Hafner, LLC



Short-Term Rentals – Balancing Local Impacts and Economic Benefits 

(STR) continue to gain in popularity as a convenient option for vacationers, business travelers
and people seeking a weekend gateway. Unfortunately, perceived and actual impacts on
neighborhoods, community character and the availability of affordable housing continues to grow as well. While STR may have reinvigorated local tourism markets throughout the state, more and more communities are facing an important choice – should we take a hands-off approach for the benefit of our economy, or should we more strictly regulate STR to preserve local community character and keep local residents from being priced out? This session offered a snapshot of local and regional STR markets, positive and negative impacts to local communities, and how various municipalities haven chosen to address the issue.
Presented by: Kevin Schwenzfeier, Senior Planner, David Gilmour, AICP, Senior Planner & Nicole Allen, AICP,
Director of Planning & Community Development, Laberge Group



Climate Resiliency in Albany County: Data, Strategies, and Funding Sources This session provided an overview of the Albany County Climate Resiliency Plan. The presentation will describe the datasets developed as part of this project to map flood risk, heat vulnerability, and social vulnerability down to the parcel-level for all of Albany County. The presentation will describe how
these datasets can be used by municipalities to inform future decision-making, proactively identify projects and
policies that reduce risks related to climate change and apply for future funding. To illustrate how the data can be
used, several proposed projects identified as part of the planning process will be described and used to convey best
practices related to climate resiliency (e.g., green infrastructure, open space acquisition and preservation in flood
prone areas). The presentation will also highlight the disproportionate impacts socially vulnerable populations will face as the climate changes as well as several state and federal funding sources available to support climate resiliency work.

Presented by: : : Elizabeth Podowski King, Landscape Architect + Planner, Colliers



Adapting Planning Board Procedures for the Digital Age 

With the switch to virtual meetings during the COVID-19 pandemic, Planning Boards throughout the state have been bridging the digital
divide and finding creative ways to use digital technology to streamline reviews and improve transparency. For this
session, the speakers will present a case study from the Town of Thompson (Sullivan County). In early 2021, Building Department staff and the Town’s planning consultant worked collaboratively to streamline Planning Board policies and review procedures, make the review process more understandable and transparent, and transition Planning Board members to an all-digital format for application review and meeting prep.
Presented by: Helen Budrock, AICP, Delaware Engineering and Jim Carnell, Director, Department of Building,
Planning & Zoning, Town of Thompson


Hot Topics and Comprehensive Planning for Small Towns

This session will overview hot topics that many small and rural
communities are grappling with and how to include them in comprehensive planning efforts.
Topics such as solar farms, short term rentals, climate change, and affordable housing are significant issues facing
many communities and this session will introduce participants to the planning toolboxes available to address them.
The session will also introduce APA’s Sustaining Places: Best Practices for Comprehensive Plans and offer tips on
creating or updating a small town comprehensive plan. Participants will have time for Q and A on these and other
small town planning topics.
Presented by: Nan Stolzenburg, FAICP CEP, Principal Planner at Community Planning & Environmental


Climate Action Planning 

Communities, municipalities, and planning and zoning boards, are
becoming increasingly interested in coordinating a response to climate change. They develop
Climate Action Plans to mitigate emissions of Greenhouse Gases (GHGs) and to prepare for
expected changes to the climate. Interest is growing fast. New York’s Climate Smart Communities
program, a technical resource and grant program coordinated by NY’s Department of Environmental Conservation has
roughly 150 municipalities participating. It is also supported by CDRPC.
Presented by: Jim Yienger, Principal of Climate Action Associates LLC

Planning Case Law Update 

The goal of this session is to provide guidance on how to prepare an administrative record to withstand an Article 78 challenge to a decision by a legislative body or by a land use board. Recent notable cases will be reviewed and discussed in detail to evaluate how judges are examining administrative records of decisions on basic types of approvals such as adoption of changes to zoning codes, compliance with SEQRA, decisions to grant or deny site plan, subdivision and special use permits and decisions to grant or deny requests for use and/or area variances. Principals will be drawn from these cases to assist these Boards in future decision-making.
Presented by: Terresa M. Bakner, Partner, Whiteman, Osterman & Hanna LLP

Next Generation Transportation Planning Resources 

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law introduced numerous grant programs for transportation planning and project development. Learn about the new Law and how the Capital District Transportation Committee (CDTC) can help communities plan for the next generation transportation system.
Presented by: Sandra Misiewicz, Capital District Transportation Committee

Stormwater Management Plan Review, Regulatory and Implementation

This presentation is geared for Municipal officials and DPW personnel and intended to broaden understanding of
what engineers look for when reviewing development plans submitted for approval. Also included are discussions recognizing the importance of planning with resiliency and smart goals when developing
sites. Other areas of discussion include SEQR and resources available to assist involved parties in the field of planning stormwater management.
Presented by: Brad Grant, P.E., and Nadine Medina, P.E., Barton and Loguidice

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