Westchester County Executive Robert P. Astorino and Edward Buroughs, commissioner of the Westchester County Planning Department, announced that Westchester County will receive the 'Best Practices' Award of Merit from the American Planning Association (APA) County Planning Division and the National Association of County Planners (NACP) at the annual APA National Conference in Seattle, WA, on April 19.
The award specifically recognizes the Westchester 2025 Comprehensive Plan Base Studies Program, a shared service offered through the County's long-range land use planning initiative.
"Good land use planning throughout Westchester promotes smart economic development," Astorino said. "Businesses looking to expand or relocate want up-to-date information and timely decisions. Westchester 2025 helps municipalities deliver on both fronts by making it easier for them to update their master plans."
Westchester 2025 assembles maps, charts, figures and analysis in the form of web-based data sets representing the 'base studies' that planners have always used to draft comprehensive plans. The Planning Department is currently working with the Town of North Castle, and recently completed work for the Town of New Castle and the Village of Rye Brook. The program is a shared service that facilitates community planning and has saved municipalities $150,000 since work began in 2011.
"It's an advantage for everyone when municipalities update their comprehensive plans," Buroughs said. "By saying, 'This is our vision for our community and we stand behind it,' communities offer a better approval process and peace-of-mind for residents, governments, and developers. By providing data and build-out scenarios, we are incentivizing municipalities to prepare comprehensive plans."
The same processes and expertise that goes into the award-winning Westchester 2025 program were used by the Planning Department to assemble the county's 8 comprehensive analyses of impediments rejected by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) under the housing settlement.