2020 Conference Cancelled

Early Morning Sessions, 9:15 am - 10:45 am

1. Roles and Responsibilities of Planning Boards and Zoning Boards of Appeals

Credits - MIIA, CPTC Level 1 Certificate

Join us if you are a new Board member or building inspector. This program will launch you into your role as a local official, introduce you to the functions of the two boards and the main tools of planning and zoning. This session will also include an introductory discussion of the Open Meeting, Public Records, and the Conflict of Interest Laws.

Speaker: Bob Mitchell, FAICP, Planning Consultant;


2. Introduction to the Subdivision Control Law and ANR

Credits - MIIA, CPTC Level 1 Certificate

This session addresses the purposes of the Subdivision Control Law and the Planning Board’s authority under the Act. It also covers important procedural requirements and board responsibilities when reviewing subdivision and ANR plans; adoption of subdivision regulations; review of ANR plans; access issues; preliminary and definitive plans; Planning Board waivers; modifying, amending and rescinding plans; enforcement; vested rights and zoning freezes.

Speaker: Barbara Saint Andre, Attorney, Town of Medway

Moderator: Ralph Willmer, FAICP, Technical Assistance Program Manager and Principal Planner, Metropolitan Area Planning Council, CPTC Chair


3. Form-Based Code for Small Towns: Developing and Adopting a Form-Based Code System

Credits - AICP CM I 1.5

The Form-Based code has been a popular alternative for new development or urbanized areas, particularly for larger communities. In this session, the panel will define FBC, and describe the benefits and challenges of form-based codes as they may apply to smaller communities. We will also describe the steps that such communities can take to successfully implement a form-based code system.

Speakers: Christopher Ryan, AICP, Ph.D., Town of Harvard, MA Director of Community and Economic Development; Neil Pade, AICP, Town of Canton, CT Director of Planning and Community Development; Alan Manoian, AICP, Town of Ayer, MA Director of Community & Economic Development; Maren Toohill, AICP, Town of Littleton, MA Town Planner

Moderator: Maren A. Toohill, AICP, Town Planner, Town of Littleton, CPTC Board member


4. Retaining Local Control over Wireless Facilities Siting

Credits - AICP CM I 1.5

Municipalities and municipal utilities across Massachusetts are being inundated with requests for siting of wireless facilities including larger “macro” facilities and, increasingly, small wireless facilities or “small cells.” While the first wave has focused on built-up areas, the wireless industry is now seeking to expand to residential neighborhoods and smaller communities. Meeting the growing demand for mobile data will require installation of millions of new small cells across the nation, and the recent emergence of the 5G standard will only accelerate this growth. Federal limits on local control over the permitting of wireless communications facilities have recently been extended and modified through the FCC’s Small Wireless Facilities order to apply to wireless facilities attached to utility poles, municipal streetlights and existing wires located in the public ways—as a result, municipalities and municipal utilities must accommodate the wireless industry in their buildout. This panel will review federal constraints on local permitting authority and describe the relevant technologies and their implications. It will also offer strategies in addressing legal, technical and aesthetic permitting challenges and cover zoning and grant of location practices and standards needed to maximize municipal control over wireless siting.

Speakers: Andrew Afflerbach, Ph.D., P.E., CEO and Chief Technology Officer, CTC Technology & Energy; Alan Mandl, Esq., Of Counsel, Ferriter, Scobbo & Rodophele, PC/p>

Moderator: Katharine Lacy, AICP, Senior Planner, Massachusetts Housing Partnership, CPTC Board member


5. Resilient Lands: Nature’s Value in a Changing Climate

Credits - AICP CM I 1.5

Land conservation plays important roles in climate mitigation and resilience for people and nature. This workshop will present the latest status and trends in land use, from Mass Audubon’s 6th edition Losing Ground report, along with an overview of the Resilient Lands Initiative to develop and implement a new Statewide Land Conservation Plan. This process involves a diversity of stakeholders for eight key "land values" including habitat, forest and farms, urban open space and public health, outdoor recreation, water supply and watersheds, economic stability and protection from climate impacts. Conserved land reduces impacts such as heat islands, flooding and water supply threats while connecting habitats, helping farmland be more resilient and diverse, and improving forest resilience. Information on ecosystem services will be provided, and we will gather input and ideas from workshop participants for the Resilient Lands Initiative.

Speakers: Bob O’Connor, Director of Conservation Services, Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs; E. Heidi Ricci, Assistant Director of Advocacy, Mass Audubon, Shaping the Future of Your Community Program, CPTC Board member

Moderator: : E. Heidi Ricci, Assistant Director of Advocacy, Mass Audubon, Shaping the Future of Your Community Program, CPTC Board member


6. Planning Ahead for Rural Massachusetts

Credits - AICP CM I 1.5

Massachusetts’ 170 rural communities, which comprise 59% of the state’s land area and only 13% of the total population, face different challenges than the rest of the Commonwealth. This session will provide an overview of the findings and recommendations of the recently issued Rural Policy Plan. This session will also discuss strategies that small towns have taken to attract new young families, visitors and small businesses to stay economically relevant and financially sustainable.

Speakers: Linda Dunlavy, Executive Director, Franklin Regional Council of Governments, Greenfeild MA and Chair of the State Rural Policy Advisory Commission; Jeanne LeClair, Economic Development Director, Gateway Hilltowns, Chester, MA

Moderator: Michael DiPasquale, AICP AIA, Extension Assistant Professor, University of Massachusetts-Amherst, CPTC Board member


Late Morning Sessions, 11:00 am - 12:30 pm

7. Introduction to the Zoning Act

Credits - MIIA, CPTC Level 1 Certificate

This course addresses the purposes of the Zoning Act and the process (and the Planning Board’s role) for the adoption/amending of zoning bylaws and ordinances. The difference between variances and special permits will be discussed. Additionally, the course will include how zoning is enforced and by whom as well as the role of the Zoning Board of Appeals in variances and zoning appeals.

Speaker: Carolyn M. Murray, Attorney, KP Law P.C.

Moderator: Alan Pease, Town of Ashby Planning Board, CPTC Treasurer


8. Drafting Zoning Amendments

Credits - MIIA, AICP CM I 1.5

While regular review and amendment of a municipality’s zoning ordinance or bylaw in response to changing needs and circumstances is essential to ensuring that it remain up-to date, the process can be tricky. This course will provide a step-by-step roadmap on how to adopt and amend zoning codes in accordance with the strict requirements of G.L. 40A Section 5. Local officials and staff will gain an understanding of what type and scope of amendments are permissible; the relationship between zoning and other municipal planning documents; and the essential role of the Planning Board in the process. Tips for drafting zoning amendments, and strategies for successfully getting them passed will also be addressed.

Speaker: Adam J. Costa, Attorney, Mead, Talerman & Costa, LLC.


9. Zoning Pitfalls and Pratfalls: What NOT to do!

Credits - AICP CM I 1.5

Drafting zoning by-laws and ordinances for your community is becoming ever more complicated; in addition to legal issues, many zoning regulations suffer from practical and wordsmithing woes. What mine fields should you avoid? We will review common pitfalls to avoid, and share stories of some of our zoning pratfalls over the years.

Speakers: Barbara J. Saint André, Director, Community and Economic Development, Town of Medway; Judi Barrett, Principal, Barrett Planning Group LLC

Moderator: Ralph Willmer, FAICP, Technical Assistance Program Manager and Principal Planner, Metropolitan Area Planning Council, CPTC Chair


10. Traffic and Planning Boards – Addressing Resident Concerns About New Development and Increasing Traffic

Credits - MIIA

The general purpose of a Planning Board is to provide for and guide the orderly growth and development of a community. This is accomplished primarily through development of a community Master Plan, the Zoning Bylaw, and the Planning Board's Rules and Regulations Governing Subdivision of Land. With additional development and changes in land use patterns comes increasing burdens on the community infrastructure, the most apparent of which is increased traffic. This session will discuss the role of the Planning Board in project review, the public hearing process, submission requirements for Transportation Impact Assessments, peer review and community input, and mitigation of impacts.

Speakers: Joseph Scardino, Chair, Stoughton Planning Board; Noreen O’Toole, Retired Stoughton Town Planner; Jeffrey S. Dirk, P.E., PTOE, FITE, Partner, Vanasse & Associates, Inc.

Moderator: Bruce Hughes, Old Colony Planning Council, CPTC Board member


11. Is Your Community a MVP? Planning and Action for Resilience

Credits - AICP CM I 1.5

The Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness (MVP) program provides support to Massachusetts municipalities to plan for climate change resiliency and implement priority projects. Funding is provided to complete vulnerability assessments, develop action-oriented plans, and subsequent grants for implementation projects. The Commonwealth is also the first state in the nation to complete a Statewide Hazard Mitigation and Climate Adaptation Plan (SHMCAP) involving all agencies. Learn about the MVP program, local projects the program has funded, and how your community can benefit.

Speakers: Kara Runsten, Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness Manager at the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs; Alexandra Vecchio, Climate Change Program Director, Mass Audubon; Jillian Wilson-Martin, Sustainability Coordinator, Town of Natick

Moderator: E. Heidi Ricci, Assistant Director of Advocacy, Mass Audubon, Shaping the Future of Your Community Program, CPTC Board member


12. Adaptive Reuse of Buildings Using Historic Tax Credits

Credits - AICP CM I 1.5

Historic rehabilitation tax credits can play a significant role in the financial success of a historic renovation project. This session will explore the use and syndication of historic tax credits. Hear from the primary players involved in successful projects, including a developer, lawyer, and historic preservation consultant. Each panelist will provide guidance and their insight into the successful use of historic tax credits.

Speakers: Katie Day, Klein Hornig, LLP; Brian Lever Preservation Planner, Epsilon Associates, Inc; George Vasvatekis, Managing Partner, 1620 Capital LLC

Moderator: Doug Kelleher, Principal, Epsilon Associates, Inc.


Lunch, 12:30 p.m. – 1:45 p.m. – Networking

Afternoon Sessions, 1:45 pm - 3:15 pm

13. Planning with Community Support

Credits - MIIA, CPTC Level 2 Certificate, AICP CM I 1.5

The course describes how to conduct a planning process, with an emphasis on a comprehensive or master plan that will ultimately have the support of the community. A variety of public participation strategies will be examined, including plan implementation processes. The course will cover how to design the community engagement process.

Speaker: Brian Currie, AICP, Consultant

Moderator: Michael DiPasquale, AICP AIA, Extension Assistant Professor, University of Massachusetts-Amherst, CPTC Board member


14. Vested Rights and Nonconforming Uses and Structures

Credits - MIIA, CPTC Level 2 Certificate

The course will cover the issue of vested rights under zoning and subdivision law, why they exist, and how they affect the work of the Zoning Boards of Appeals and Planning Boards. Participants will learn what the Zoning Act says about vested rights and the way it occurs. This session will answer the question regarding whether nonconforming structures and uses can change and if so, how much. Finally, the course will address how judicial decisions shape the way provisions of the Zoning Act are interpreted today.

Speaker: Ilana Quirk, Attorney, Freeman Law Group, LLC

Moderator: Alan Pease, Town of Ashby Planning Board, CPTC Treasurer


15. Data 101: Where to get it, how to use it, and effective ways to message it

Credits - AICP CM I 1.5

What does “ACS” mean anyway, and how is it different than the Decennial Census? What other data sets exist beyond the Census? How big of a margin of error is really too big? Know the answers to these questions and others! Attendees of Data 101 will be introduced to some easy-to-use basic data resources that can help you understand your community from a data-driven perspective, (b) learn more about how you can be a critical consumer of data presented by consultants, advocates, and developers and (c) understand steps you can take to help your community manage its data better and make it available to policy makers.

Speakers: Lily Perkins-High, Analytical Services Manager, Metropolitan Area Planning Council; Callie Clark, Director of Policy, Massachusetts Housing Partnership, Center for Housing Data

Moderator: Maren Toohill, AICP, Town of Littleton, MA Town Planner, CPTC Board member


16. Inclusionary Zoning, and Zoning that is Actually Inclusive

Credits - AICP CM I 1.5

Nearly half of the Commonwealth’s cities and towns have some form of inclusionary zoning. Yet with few exceptions, these provisions have not resulted in the creation of a significant number of affordable units. This session will explain the nuts and bolts of inclusionary zoning, review the findings of the ongoing statewide inclusionary zoning survey, explore what is and isn’t working, and clarify realistic production goals.

Speakers: Katharine Lacy, AICP, Senior Planner, Massachusetts Housing Partnership (MHP); Judi Barrett, Principal, Barrett Planning Group LLC


17. How to Use Peer Reviews Effectively

MA Assn. of Consulting Planners

Credits - AICP CM I 1.5

This session will provide planning directors and planning board representatives with an overview of what a peer review consultant can do, the benefits of peer reviews, the legal framework in Massachusetts, and the nuts and bolts around peer review procurement. Peer review consultants will share their experiences.

Speakers: Leonardi Aray, AIA, Principal, Leonardi Aray Architects; Gerry Preble, P.E., LSP, President, Beals & Thomas; Kristina Johnson, AICP, Deputy Director of Planning and Community Development, Hudson, MA; Gigi Munden, P.E., Founder and Owner, Munden Engineering

Moderator: Anne McKinnon, AICP, Urban Planner, Jacobs


18. The Process of Repurposing a Shopping Mall: Factors and Forecasts of Changing Retail and Real Estate

Credits - AICP CM I 1.5

Over the past 15 years the face of retailing in New England and the US has been changing radically due to the popularity and ease of on-line shopping and shifting demographics. What will happen to these buildings and the large sites of paved land on which they sit on? This panel will reveal the possible futures for these sites and how careful planning and redevelopment can result in repurposed and redesigned projects that reestablish interest and add to the sense of place and fiscal well-being of their cities and towns.

Speakers: Robert R. Pellegrini, Jr. Esq., PK Boston Law; Matt Mrva, RLA, Associate, Director of Planning and Landscape Architecture, Bohler Engineering; Arnold Robinson, AICP, Associate | Regional Planning Director Fuss and O'Neill; Daniel LaFrance, AICP, Associate, Fuss and O'Neill; Paul Cincotta, Engineer, Owner of P. J. Cincotta Inc.; Jamie Kelleher, Axiom Architects

Moderator: Robert R. Pellegrini, Jr. Esq., PK Boston Law

2020 Annual Conference