Monday, September 20, 2010

Rockfall Foundation Annual Symposium to Explore “Changes to Regional Planning”

The Rockfall Foundation’s Annual Symposium, “Changes to Regional Planning - New Opportunities to Share State & Local Services” will be held Friday, October 8, 2010 at Essex Steam Train & Riverboat in Essex, Connecticut. Corporate sponsorship is provided by Essex Steam Train and Essex Savings Bank.

The morning presentations will explore best options for creating and implementing regional collaborations that provide services efficiently and economically, yet sustain Connecticut’s unique quality of community life.

“Connecticut is a small state, yet it is carved into dozens of regions and districts for services and infrastructure such as transportation, public health, fire, police, emergency management, cable TV & data, soil and water conservation, water and sewers, etc,” according to Trevor Davis, Symposium Chair and member of the foundation’s Board of Directors. “Plans are being considered for consolidation and raise a number of key questions for municipalities, regional planners and others: What are the best political and geographic options available? How can we plan for and improve regional collaborations while respecting community identity, “small-town” life, citizen access to decision-makers and local responsiveness?”

Featured speakers and presentations topics include: David Kooris, Vice-President and CT Director of Regional Plan Association, Stamford, CT, Emerging Regions - The Context for Middlesex County; John E. Harmon, Professor Emeritus CCSU Department of Geography, Rational Regions - Looking at Connecticut’s Tangle of Overlapping Regions; Linda Krause, Executive Director, CT River Estuary, Regional Planning Agency, Old Saybrook, Regional Planning Options in the Lower CT River Valley - How are we different?; and Tim Brennan, Executive Director, Pioneer Valley Regional Planning Organization, Springfield, MA, Choosing to Collaborate - Innovative Ways to Get Cities and Towns to Work Together. (Speakers’ biographical information below.)

“The symposium will be of key interest to local elected and appointed officials, land use planners, developers, and town planning and commission members,” said Davis. “And the presentations and follow-up discussions should engage all who are concerned with effective community planning.”

The symposium runs from 9 a.m. - 12:15 p.m. (8:30 a.m. registration), with an optional lunch served at 12:30 p.m. For complete program and registration information, visit, News and Events page; or call (860) 347-0340.

The Rockfall Foundation supports environmental education, conservation programs and planning initiatives in Middlesex County. Celebrating its 75th anniversary in 2010, it is one of Connecticut's oldest environmental organizations. The foundation provides grants, sponsors educational symposia, preserves and manages open space property, and maintains and operates the historic deKoven House in Middletown as a community center with meeting rooms and office space for county-based environmental groups.

Speakers at the Rockfall Foundation’s Annual Symposium

Friday, October 8, 2010

Emerging Regions: The Context for Middlesex County

David Kooris, Vice-President and Connecticut Director of Regional Plan Association, Stamford, CT

David Kooris is based in Stamford and manages the Connecticut and Hudson Valley programs for RPA that combine his background in urban design and sustainability with his devotion to the public process and climate action.. He is also involved in work across the region to better understand the link between built form and climate change. Mr. Kooris coordinates the City of Bridgeport's comprehensive sustainability initiative, BGreen 2020, which involves community leaders, business owners, and city staff in a process to balance economic prosperity, environmental quality, and social equity for residents, workers, and visitors. This effort works to implement many of the concepts outlined in the Greater Bridgeport Carbon Emissions Reduction Strategy, a research project conducted by Mr. Kooris to identify land use and transportation policies for a low-carbon future for Bridgeport and the surrounding towns. Lessons learned from this and a comparable effort covering the Hartford region are being scaled up to the state level to clearly articulate the role that development and infrastructure have in meeting emissions reduction targets. Working with the Town of Fairfield and several other municipalities and neighborhoods with active transit service in CT, Mr. Kooris is helping communities identify the appropriate scale and character of transit-oriented developments to meet both local and regional goals.

Rational Regions: Looking at Connecticut’s tangle of overlapping regions

John E. Harmon, Professor Emeritus Central Connecticut State University, Department of Geography

John Harmon was a professor of geography at Central Connecticut State University for 30 years until retiring in 2009. While his principal specialty was geographic information systems, he has maintained an intense interest in the formation and extent of human-defined regions. Dr. Harmon is the co-author of two books and numerous other publications involving regions and how they are built. He has taught courses in World regional geography, geographic information systems (introductory and advanced), transportation planning, and human geography. An active member of the New England-St. Lawrence Valley Geographical Society - 1979 to 1998, he served as State representative, Secretary-Treasurer, Vice-President, Editor Proceedings, and President. Since 1997, Dr. Harmon has served on the Executive Board of the Connecticut Arc-Users Group, a statewide association of users of a GIS software.

Regional Planning Options in the Lower CT River Valley: How are we different?

Linda Krause, Executive Director Connecticut River Estuary

Regional Planning Agency, Old Saybrook, CT

Linda Krause has served as Regional Planner and Executive Director of the Connecticut River Estuary Regional Planning Agency since 1987. She previously was Planning Director for the Town of Ledyard, Connecticut, and has been a private planning consultant for several Connecticut municipalities. In those capacities, she has completed numerous municipal plans of conservation and development, economic development plans, housing plans, transportation plans and open space plans. The Estuary Region encompasses nine small towns with a strong history of local self-determination. CRERPA functions as a coalition builder for shared services and shared approaches, building communications amongst all levels of government. In 2001, the Agency received a national NOAA Award as an outstanding local coastal program. Ms. Krause has served on the Groton (CT) Town Council and as Mayor, and has represented Groton on the Southeastern Connecticut Regional Planning Agency for 13 years, serving part of that time as Agency Chair. Her state activities include membership on numerous state boards and commissions. Currently, she is on the Long Island Sound Fund Advisory Committee, the Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations, and the Connecticut Maritime Commission. In 1998, Ms. Krause received a Governor’s Award for her environmental activities.

Choosing to Collaborate: Innovative Ways to Get Towns to Work Together

Tim Brennan, Executive Director, Pioneer Valley Regional Planning Organization, Springfield, MA.

Tim Brennan joined the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission (PVPC) in 1973 and since 1980 has served as the agency's Executive Director. The PVPC is one of the Commonwealth's 13 designated, public Regional Planning Agencies and is responsible for the second largest planning region in Massachusetts. It serves a planning district encompassing 43 cities and towns, 1200 square miles of land area and over 615,000 residents. The PVPC's focuses on land use, environmental quality, transportation, community development, historic preservation, economic development, housing, data collection/research, regional shared services and public policy formulation and advocacy. Mr. Brennan previously has served as the Chair of the Nationwide Institute for the Regional Community, but he is also active in many other organizations including the National Association of Regional Councils, the New England Association of Regional Councils, the Alliance for Regional Stewardship and the New England Futures Project. He is an adjunct faculty member of the Department of Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning at the University of Massachusetts and also serves on the faculty of the Graduate Public Administration Program at Westfield State College.

Rockfall Symposium Contacts:

Trevor Davis, Symposium Chair, 860-347-8738;

Claire Rusowicz, Development Director, 860-347-0340;

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