New CT Planning Issue: Planners Mobilize for COVID
In this issue, former CCAPA President Mike Piscitelli and Torrington planner Martin Connor describe the various ways that planners have been engaged in the fight against COVID-19; Attorney Dwight Merriam, FAICP ponders how in-person meetings can be made safe for participants; CCAPA Government Relations Co-Chair John Guszkowski updates us on the truncated, but still active, legislative session; Attorney Chris Smith provides an update on variance case law; and we learn about Fitzgerald & Halliday Communication Specialist Rachel Bright's work transitioning public outreach to a contact-free digital world. And we hear from eight CCAPA student members on why they're pursuing planning, how we can support new planners, and how the planning profession needs to change.
- Mike Piscitelli: “Nearly every person in our six departments has been able to work through the Stay Home, Stay Safe period. In between mask giveaways, small business focus groups and endless Zoom calls, we have not missed a land use commission meeting. This has allowed projects of national signifcance like the Neuroscience Campus at Yale New Haven Health to stay on its permitting schedule.”
- Rachel Bright: “I studied architecture and urban design as an undergrad, but after taking some planning classes and interning at an architecture firm, I realized that I preferred the “big picture” of planning over the details of architecture. That lead me to get a Master’s Degree in planning and start my career as a planner. Over the years, I found that I most enjoyed the creative aspects of planning, and now, as a Visual Communications Specialist, I have the opportunity to utilize my creativity and passion for design on planning projects that help build strong, livable, vibrant communities.”
- John Guszkowski: "The fact that the legislature was closed for business didn’t mean that the Government Relations team was idle...CCAPA has been an active contributor to discussions on some of the Executive Orders coming out of the Governor’s offce in response to the COVID-19 crisis. We were very involved in the recently-issued EO 7MM concerning outdoor dining and retail display, as well as being active in informing our membership and the greater public on other EO provisions concerning land use application deadlines and virtual meetings."
CCAPA Student Members on How
Planning Needs to Change
- Emily Persico: “I think we need to go much further to systematically root out classist and racist policies. I don’t have faith that municipalities will do this on their own and think that we need to approach solutions from a state or even national level.”
- Regina Harlig: “I’m excited to see that in some cities, planning departments and other agencies are starting to hire for positions related to equity and racial justice. My hope is that in the near future, these positions will no longer be needed, because anti-racism and equity will be the backbone of all planners’ work.“
- Mark Landolina: “A more ambitious approach to planning here can include an accredited university degree program, more regional planning power, stronger community education/participation and more long term visioning efforts through a 20-30 year POCD.”