Font Size

Local government workshops

The Local Government Workshop is one of G/FLRPC's signature initiatives, providing a forum for training and information sharing since 1996. Since that time, thousands of local government officials, board members, staff, and interested citizens have attended the workshops, held twice a year. 
 
For more information about a current or upcoming workshop, please scroll down. For information on a previous workshop, click on the link to the left. 
 
 
  • All sessions take place online via video conference (Zoom)
  • Sessions are free but registration is required
  • Register through Eventbrite by clicking this link
  • Each session is individually ticketed. You will need to sign up for each session you wish to attend
  • Sessions 8, 11, and 13 are a special track focusing on flooding along Wayne County’s Lake Ontario shoreline, but the information and discussions are applicable to many flood vulnerable places
  • Session length ranges from one hour to two hours; please note the schedule.
  • Zoom links will be emailed approximately 30 minutes before the start of each session (please check your junk and spam folders).
  • If you would like credit for attending, please make sure your name is visible on the screen during the session so that we can verify attendance and provide credit.
  • Questions? Email Jason Haremza at jharemza@gflrpc.org or text/call 585-295-3820

Many thanks to our partners:
PathStone Foundation
US Army Corps of Engineers
US Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service
FEMA
NYS Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services
NYS Department of Environmental Conservation Floodplain Management
National Weather Service
NYS Department of State, Division of Local Government Services
Syracuse University Center for Sustainable Community Solutions/Environmental Finance Center
Syracuse University Maxwell School
NY Sea Grant
Cornell University Department of Biological and Environmental Engineering
Landmark Society of WNY
Wendel
Highland Planning
Town of Brighton 



Schedule (download a pdf of the schedule here)

Oct 18 12-1PM
Session 1A
Meet G/FLRPC staff and learn about the Regional Planning Council’s work

Oct 18 7-8PM
Session 1B (repeated)
Meet G/FLRPC staff and learn about the Regional Planning Council’s work

Oct 20 7-8PM
Session 2
To Be or Not To Be: Observations on Hamlets in Upstate New York (G/FLRPC)

Oct 21 12-1:30PM
Session 3
Land Use Policy and Equity (Antiracist Curriculum Project/PathStone Foundation)

Oct 25 Noon-1:30PM
Session 4
Overview of Flood Risk Reduction Programs (US Army Corps of Engineers, FEMA, NYS Div. of Homeland Security & Emergency Services, US Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service, National Weather Service)

Oct 26 6-8PM
Session 5
Zoning Board Overview (NYS DOS)

Oct 27 6-8PM
Session 6
Site Plan Review Overview and Pro Tips (NYS DOS, G/FLRPC)

Oct 28 Noon-1:30PM
Session 7
Skills that Make Great Land Use Board Members (NYS DOS)

Oct 28 2-4PM
Session 8
Advancing Community-Level Resilience 1: A New Perspective on High Water and Property Risk on Wayne County’s Lake Ontario Shoreline (Syracuse Univ., NY Sea Grant, Cornell, G/FLRPC)

Nov 1 Noon-1PM
Session 9
Historic Preservation 101: Building a better future through preservation of our past (Landmark Society of WNY)

Nov 3 Noon-1:30PM
Session 10
Solar, Solar - Everywhere: Solar, Battery Energy Storage, Zoning, and Experiences  (Wendel)

Nov 4 2-4PM
Session 11
Advancing Community-Level Resilience 2: Sewer and Septic Opportunities for Action (Syracuse Univ., NY Sea Grant, Cornell, G/FLRPC)

Nov 8 noon-1PM
Session 12
Innovations in Public Engagement (Highland Planning)

Nov 9 2-4PM
Session 13
Advancing Community-Level Resilience 3: Adopting Local Models of Flood Resiliency and Barriers to Implementation (Syracuse Univ., NY Sea Grant, Cornell, G/FLRPC)

Nov 10 noon-2PM
Session 14
Community Choice Aggregation (G/FLRPC, Town of Brighton)





SESSION DESCRIPTIONS
Session Details Downloadable Here

Session 1A. Meet G/FLRPC staff and learn about the regional planning council’s work
Oct 18 12-1PM
Spend some time with the folks at G/FLRPC, learn a little bit about them, the work they do, and about the Regional Planning Council in general. 

Presenters:
Paul Gavin, Executive Director
Jason Haremza, AICP, Senior Planner
Jenny Loewenstein, Planner
Rob Richardson, Planner, Clean Energy Communities Coordinator
Emily Royce, Planner
Rich Sutherland, Planner

 Session 1B. Meet G/FLRPC staff and learn about the regional planning council’s work
Oct 18 7-8PM
Spend some time with the folks at G/FLRPC, learn a little bit about them, the work they do, and about the Regional Planning Council in general. Note: this session is a repeat of the one at noon to accommodate peoples’ schedules.

Presenters:
Paul Gavin, Executive Director
Jason Haremza, AICP, Senior Planner
Jenny Loewenstein, Planner
Rob Richardson, Planner, Clean Energy Communities Coordinator
Emily Royce, Planner
Rich Sutherland, Planner

Session 2. To Be or Not To Be: Observations on Hamlets in Upstate New York
Oct 20 7-8PM
City-town-village-hamlet-neighborhood. The ‘hamlet’ as a type of community is something of a curiosity. Even many life-long New Yorkers are not exactly sure what a hamlet is. In this session, senior planner and Upstate rambler Jason Haremza will share observations on the history and built form of hamlets and thoughts on their future. In addition, he will share some practical design guidelines and zoning recommendations for commercial development in hamlets.

 Presenter:
Jason Haremza, AICP, Senior Planner, G/FLRPC

 Session 3. Land Use Policy and Equity
Oct 21 12-1:30PM
This session examines how federal and local policies like redlining, racially restrictive covenants, exclusionary zoning, and urban renewal segregated Rochester and its suburbs, built wealth for its white citizens and disenfranchised people of color. It explores how local civil rights leaders like Howard Coles, Alice Young and many others fought back. Finally, it connects these past policies to the disparity and inequality we see in the region today and invites us to learn from and apply the activism of Rochester's past to its present.

Presenter:
Shane Wiegand, Co-Lead of the Antiracist Curriculum Project hosted by the PathStone Foundation

Session 4. Overview of Flood Risk Reduction Programs
Oct 25 Noon-1:30PM
Flood Risk is a shared responsibility and federal and state agencies share in this.  This presentation will provide an integrated overview of the flood risk reduction programs and tools and web applications individuals and officials can utilize to advise them on future risks and actions that can be taken to reduce risk.  Presentations will be provided by the US Army Corps of Engineers, National Weather Service, Federal Emergency Management Agency and US Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service, along with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and New York State Department of Emergency Services and Homeland Security.

Presenters:
Laura Ortiz, US Army Corps of Engineers - Buffalo District
David Walowsky - US Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service
Shudipto (Shu) Ruhman - Federal Emergency Management Agency
Kevin Clapp - NYS Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services
Mary Martin, NYS DEC Floodplain Management
[Representative TBD] - National Weather Service

 Session 5. Zoning Board Overview
Oct 26 6-8PM
This introductory course to the zoning board of appeals focuses on the statutory tests boards must follow to grant use and area variances and proper handling of zoning interpretations. Meeting procedures and notice requirements will also be discussed, along with the ZBA’s relationship with enforcement officials and the planning board, and the importance of making good findings.

Presenters:
Patricia Burke, Local Government Specialist, NYS Department of State, Local Government Services
Chris Eastman, Local Government Specialist, NYS Department of State, Local Government Services

 Session 6. Site Plan Review Overview and Pro Tips
Oct 27 6-8PM
The first part of this session, presented by NYS Department of State, is an overview of the statutory authority local governments have to review site plans. It will address the scope and content of a site plan and the role of the site plan in municipal review of development projects. A discussion of design and the reasons some approaches might be preferable to others is included in the course.

The later part of this session is presented by G/FLRPC and will look at a few specific site plans and highlight details that municipalities should look out for. For example, if your community wishes to encourage walking and biking, then the site plan review process should make sure that new development has good internal paths for pedestrians and bikes, bike parking, etc.

Presenters:
Ebony Mapp, Local Government Specialist, NYS Department of State, Local Government Services
Jason Haremza, AICP, Senior Planner, G/FLRPC

Session 7. Skills that Make Great Land Use Board Members
Oct 28 Noon-1:30PM
What makes a great land use board member? This course examines some of the necessary skills needed for new members and should serve as a refresher for more seasoned members alike. Topics include board procedures and applicable laws to more practical matters, including conducting site visits, working with consultants, avoiding ex parte communications, and working with the public. How to build your technical knowledge and find assistance when needed, as well as utilizing the comprehensive plan for your decisions, will also be discussed.

Presenters:
Ebony Mapp, Local Government Specialist, NYS Department of State, Local Government Services
Paula Gilbert, Local Government Specialist, NYS Department of State, Local Government Services

Session 8. Advancing Community-Level Resilience 1: A New Perspective on High Water and Property Risk on Wayne County’s Lake Ontario Shoreline
Oct 28 2-4PM
Join experts from Cornell University and Syracuse University to hear about innovative modeling that illustrates at-risk waterfront properties vulnerable to flooding in Wayne County. In this workshop, you will obtain a better understanding of who and what is at risk to flooding and meaningful ways to consider that risk over time.

Presenters:
Mary Austerman, NY Sea Grant
Khris Dodson, Associate Director, Syracuse University Environmental Finance Center
Scott Steinschneider, Assistant Professor, Biological and Environmental Engineering, Cornell University
Aaron Vlasak, Research Fellow in Environmental Policy, Center for Environmental Policy and Administration, Syracuse University
Peter Wilcoxen, Professor, Public Administration and International Affairs, Director, Center for Environmental Policy and Administration, Syracuse University

 Session 9. Historic Preservation 101: Building a better future through preservation of our past
Nov 1 Noon-1PM
This workshop will present a broad introduction to the field of historic preservation and how it can benefit the social, cultural, and economic vitality of your community. We’ll start with the origins of preservation within the United States and New York State and move into the governmental and non-profit players and programs that support and promote preservation activities. We will then dive into the different levels of historic designation, including the National Register of Historic Places and local landmark designation programs—the benefits and implications of each. The final portion of the discussion will provide concrete steps for how your community can take advantage of preservation programs—including historic resource surveys, National Register historic districts, financial incentives like historic tax credits, and the creation of Master Plans and Design Guidelines.

Presenter:
Caitlin Meives, Director of Preservation, The Landmark Society of Western New York

 Session 10. Solar, Solar - Everywhere: Solar, Battery Energy Storage, Zoning, and Experiences 
Nov 3 Noon-1:30PM
Large-scale solar energy projects and the batteries needed to store this power are being proposed in every corner of New York, and they will continue to be a major topic of discussion as NYS strives to achieve its renewable energy production goals.  Unfortunately, many local communities are not prepared for these projects, which can range from simple backyard units to hundreds and sometimes thousands of acres of solar panels and accessory equipment. Do your local laws properly address the issues associated with large-scale solar and battery energy storage projects and their impact on your community?  Does your Comprehensive Plan and other local Planning documents (Agricultural Plans, Greenspace and Open Space Plans, etc.) address these large green energy projects? In some cases, these projects involve state-level authorities, agencies, or siting boards, local and County agencies and of course, the citizens and groups in your community, do your plans and laws address this?

This presentation will discuss the different types of large scale solar and battery energy storage projects, local laws, required processes/procedures and the issues that have arisen based on our experiences with dozens of these projects and the promulgating of the regulations associated with them.

Presenter:
Andrew C. Reilly, AICP, Director of Planning & Environmental Services, Wendel

 Session 11. Advancing Community-Level Resilience 2: Sewer and Septic Opportunities for Action
Nov 4 2-4PM
Tune in to hear from experts from Wayne County Soil & Water Conservation District and Syracuse University Environmental Finance Center on the challenges of at-risk sewer and septic systems and initiatives to makes those systems more flood resilient. In this session, you will learn about available options for system resiliency improvements and will have the opportunity to discuss these initiatives and the challenges to their implementation in the context of your own community.

Presenters:
Mary Austerman, NY Sea Grant
Khris Dodson, Associate Director, Syracuse University Environmental Finance Center

Session 12. Innovations in Public Engagement
Nov 8 noon-1PM
Do the same seven people come to every public meeting? Have you struggled to manage virtual and in-person meetings during the pandemic? Are you dealing with opposition and outrage in your community? Learn about the best methods and approaches for innovative public engagement from two seasoned experts.

Presenter:
Tanya Mooza Zwahlen, AICP, Highland Planning
Nancy Raca, Director of Engagement, Highland Planning

 Session 13. Advancing Community-Level Resilience 3: Adopting Local Models of Flood Resiliency and Barriers to Implementation
Nov 9 2-4PM
Join experts from the Genesee-Finger Lakes Regional Planning Council and NY Department of State to learn about policy tools and options that can increase your community resiliency, including model laws and guidance established by the Community Risk and Resiliency Act (CRRA). You will also have the opportunity to discuss the barriers and challenges your community has faced, or will face, in adopting these strategies, as well as a chance to brainstorm new opportunities.

Presenters:
Mary Austerman, NY Sea Grant
Khris Dodson, Associate Director, Syracuse University Environmental Finance Center
Barbara Kendall, Coastal Resources Specialist, NYS Department of State
Jason Haremza, AICP, Senior Planner, G/FLRPC

Session 14. Affordable Clean Energy for Your Community: Demystifying Community Choice Aggregation
Nov 10 noon-2PM
Community Choice Aggregation (CCA), also known as municipal aggregation, allows local governments to procure power from an alternative supplier while still maintaining distribution service from their existing utility. CCAs are an attractive option for communities that want more local control over their electricity sources, more green power than is offered by the default utility, and/or lower electricity prices. By aggregating demand, communities gain leverage to negotiate better rates and choose greener power sources. Several local communities have recently entered into CCA Agreements and their experience can inform others considering CCA. Rob Richardson, the Clean Energy Communities Coordinator and former Assistant City Manager in Canandaigua, guided the municipality through the CCA Process, will present and answer questions to demystify the CCA Process and offer guidance on how other municipalities can take this massive step towards reducing their carbon footprint.

Presenters:
Rob Richardson, Clean Energy Communities Coordinator, G/FLRPC
Jenny Loewenstein, Planner, G/FLRPC
Robin Wilt, Town of Brighton Town Board Member


Previous Workshops