Behan Planning and Design Speaker at Integrating Stormwater Goals with Community Planning & Design Conference
Hudson Valley Regional Council with funding from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and cooperation from the Benjamin Center at SUNY New Paltz presented the Green Infrastructure Conference on March 29th in New Paltz, NY.
With water quality making headlines in today’s news, the conference was well attended with municipal leaders eager to learn what they can do. The Hudson Valley Regional Council reached out to John J. Behan, AICP of Behan Planning and Design to tap into his twenty plus years’ experience as one of the leading experts on this topic.
John introduced the idea of a “watershed transect” where green infrastructure approaches can be applied appropriately to the setting. For example, in more rural areas, an appropriate green infrastructure strategy would focus on farm and forestland conservation while in suburban and urban areas more structured approaches may be more appropriate such as creating stormwater treatment wetlands, bioswales, and rain gardens. Mr. Behan also discussed the use of a generic environmental impact statement as an underutilized tool that can help link stormwater management plans and programs to implementation with green infrastructure projects.
Other Speakers included:
- Pat Pomeroy, Executive Director, Hudson Valley Regional Council discussed regional water quality and floodplain management initiatives and opportunities for regional collaboration on sustainability.
- Simon Gruber, Green Infrastructure Consultant, spoke on stormwater and green infrastructure trends related to planning for resilience, revitalization, and community development
- Amanda LaValle, Coordinator, Ulster County Department of the Environment Regional connections, reviewed Ulster County GI Mapping study, and case study of the SUNY Ulster Kingston Center adaptive reuse project completed in 2014
- Robert Feller, Esq., of Bond, Schoeneck and King, spoke on municipal strategies for sustainable stormwater management programs, including financing options and intermunicipal agreement
- Neil Bettez, Ph.D., Town Supervisor, Town of New Paltz, presented Linking Water Quality Restoration Goals with Benefits and Performance of Green Infrastructure
- Rick Alfandre, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, Alfandre Architecture, discussed Green infrastructure and water efficiency case study – 231 Main St in New Paltz
This conference is part of an ongoing regional education and training initiative on water quality planning, focusing on stormwater management priorities, opportunities for using green infrastructure for runoff reduction and water quality restoration, and compliance with regulatory requirements for MS4 municipalities in the mid-Hudson region of New York.
Behan Planning and Design Spends a Day with Rockland Planning Land Use With Students (PLUS) Program
Through the P.L.U.S. program organized by Keep Rockland Beautiful and other partners, high school students from six schools across Rockland County receive the unique opportunity to work with professional planners to learn what goes into making a project come to fruition. On March 18th Rockland Planning Land Use with Students held its annual Symposium to educate students about municipal planning projects and the challenges that come with them. This year, the students focused on transit-oriented development and learned the importance of historic value of a town, costs associated with projects, considering spatial nature of development, xeriscape landscaping and the value of working with stakeholders. In the photo above, John Behan of Behan Planning and Design, worked with the students to show them how to scale their proposal to fit the space available. The students learned that presenting to professionals is not as intimidating as they thought and that the interview process is all about hearing ideas and solutions to issues that confront our municipalities today. “This is a wonderful event -- a huge success and the students gain real-life experience through this program.” commented John Behan.
Behan Planning and Design Hosts Public Workshop
Behan Planning and Design and the City of Saratoga Springs hosted a second public workshop on February 4th to discuss desired city code changes as part of the city’s Unified Development Ordinance (UDO) project. Over 75 local residents, business owners and stakeholder group representatives attended the all-day event, which was held at the Empire State College on Union Avenue. The purpose of this event was to gather public input on desired changes to the city’s development codes as part of a zoning diagnotic study, a first step toward writing new codes for the city. The event was well attended, and gathered many useful suggestions for code improvements which can be implemented as part of the new development codes. To learn more about this project, visit www.saratogaspringsudo.com.
Behan Planning and Design Selected by the City of Saratoga Springs to Develop New Unified Development Ordinance
Behan Planning and Design was selected to develop a new Unified Development Ordinance for the City of Saratoga Springs. Behan Planning, in association with the Brendle Group, has just begun the project, which is expected to combine their zoning code, subdivision ordinance, stormwater regulations, street standards and other development requirements into a single, unified code which includes new sustainability initiatives recommended in the latest Comprehensive Plan.
Photo: The first public meeting
Behan Planning and Design Mentors Students at Rockland Community College
Subject: Using Transit Oriented Development to Plan Sustainable Futures
John Behan, Principal of Behan Planning and Design, worked with Rockland Community College and New NY Bridge officials to challenge students to find solutions to transportation issues at the Rockland P.L.U.S. (Planning Land Use with Students) symposium. The event, celebrating its 10th anniversary at the college, introduces high-school students to land-use planning and sustainability issues, and how these ideas could be applied locally.
“It was inspiring to watch the students get engaged and work through complex challenges municipalities face with increasing populations and the need for green innovative solutions to transportation obstacles.” commented John Behan, of his experience with the students.
Students at the seminar were asked to develop ideas to improve their local area: add trains, buses, mixed-use development, etc., and then present their ideas for discussion.
“Rockland P.L.U.S. introduces high school students to concepts in sustainable planning, asking, ‘What kind of community would you want to build if you could start from the beginning?’ ‘What would be the needs and wants of people in your community at all ages and stages of life?’” Keep Rockland Beautiful Executive Director Sonia Cairo said.
Students benefitted from immediate feedback after sharing their ideas. “The mentors listened carefully, giving their unique expertise to help students shape a sustainable plan for the community and balances social, economic, and environmental needs,” Sonia Cairo said.
For the full article from TZ Bridge Blog: http://www.rocklandtimes.com/2015/03/25/tz-bridge-blog-using-transit-oriented-development-to-plan-sustainable-futures/
Image: John Behan of Behan Planning and Design mentoring students at Rockland Community College.
Behan Planning and Design Peace Park Project featured in NYSPF News.
Behan Planning and Design’s work was recently featured in New York Planning Federation News. The article, titled “Growing Green Infrastructure: Lessons from New Research” featured our Stream Daylighting Project at Peace Park in the Village of New Paltz, New York. Behan Planning helped the village to secure funding for this project, which transformed a formerly buried stream in an underground culvert into a surface stream which would be an attractive visual element of the park. Behan Planning designed the new daylighted stream, cascading waterfall and ponds which travelled through the town-owned park in front of Village Hall. It was not only a practical solution, but one which helps to improve water quality and provides beauty and a place for the public to enjoy throughout the year. The article discusses the importance of green infrastructure projects and other stormwater management practices such as this being employed around the state. We are very happy to see this work highlighted as an important issue for both planners and designers.
For the full article go to: http://www.nypf.org/editable/documents/Winter2015Newsletter.pdf
Behan Planning and Design Staff Assists Students Learning about the Tappan Zee Bridge Project
Rebecca M. Nolan, RLA and Design Project Manager is part of the public involvement team for the New NY Bridge Project, which is replacing the Tappan Zee Bridge over the Hudson River north of New York City. Rebecca and other members of the public involvement team recently visited middle school students who were working on computer models of bridges. See full article below:
Image: Courtesy of New York State Thruway Authority and the New NY Bridge Project.
New York Planning Federation Features Behan Planning and Design Project
Behan Planning and Design’s award-winning conservation work in Pittsford, NY was recently featured in the New York Planning Federation News. The article, titled “A Success Story: Open Space Preservation Through Incentive Zoning” featured the Town of Pittsford’s Greenprint for the Future – an open space preservation plan that identified priority land for creating a linked network of ecologically or agriculturally important land. The “Greenprint” would become a key component of land use planning for the municipality. This work was completed in 1996 and won the 1998 American Planning Association National Award for Planning and Conservation of Places. We are honored that this work continues to be recognized for its foresight and vision, years after implementation.
Image: Town of Pittsford Greenprint Analysis Map
Behan Planning and Design Receives Merit Award from Upstate ASLA
On January 23, 2015 New York Upstate Chapter American Society of Landscape Architects held its Annual Design Awards Ceremony at the Inn on the Lake in Canandaigua, New York. Behan Planning and Design of Saratoga Springs was the recipient of the Merit Award of Achievement which recognizes professional work of significant quality, innovation and professional impact. The award recognized the firm’s design of the South Main Streetscape Project: in New City, NY for the Town of Clarkstown.
“We are honored to be selected for this award." commented Cynthia A. Behan, landscape architect and principal of Behan Planning and Design. “It is a very tough competition with well-qualified Landscape Architecture firms and projects from across upstate New York competing each year. We are very proud of this project and to be recognized by our peers.”
The project involved reconstruction of the Main Street corridor executed in three phases over the past seven years. Behan Planning and Design led a team of design and engineering consultants who assisted the town in preparing a complete reconfiguration of the street to create a more pedestrian-friendly, attractive, and traffic-calmed setting for the New City hamlet center, (populations of approximately 36,000 people).
Image: Left: Cynthia A. Behan, RLA, Principal of Behan Planning and Design. Right: Joy Kuebler, RLA, ASLA, Chapter President, NY Upstate Chapter ASLA
Behan Planning and Design hires Richard R. Hopkins III, P.E.
On November 10th, Behan Planning and Design welcomed Mr. Hopkins, a licensed professional Engineer with 13 years of experience as a project engineer and project manager, to its staff. Mr. Hopkins scope of projects includes public and private development from residential subdivisions to commercial sites and includes all aspects of the project from, layout of the subdivision/site to the hydrologic and hydraulic design of drainage, grading design, sewer (gravity and force main), water main distribution and service design and testing. Mr. Hopkins has a strong background in construction management and administration and field representation providing engineering solutions in the time sensitive real world environment. As a project Manager, Mr. Hopkins, has been responsible for all technical aspects of projects including; proposal, contract set-up, client relations, scheduling, and budget. Capabilities also include transportation aspects of civil engineering.
Final Piece in Historic Restoration of Dutch Garden in New City: the New Gateway
October 1st the Patch features article written by Lanning Taliaferro on the transformation of Dutch Garden Park in New City. The article reads: The ribbon-cutting Sept. 30 for the new gateway to Dutch Garden County Park in New City is the final piece in the historic park’s total restoration, Rockland County officials said.
From First Street, and from the parking area, you can now see the ornamental Tea House— hidden from pedestrians and drivers on Main Street for more than 80 years. There’s a sitting patio, and new plantings, brickwork and fencing consistent with the park’s historic character and landscape.
“Providing greater access to Dutch Garden for public enjoyment was a top priority for this Administration,” said County Executive Ed Day. “This thoughtfully designed gateway reclaims a neglected commercial site, turning it into a spectacular community amenity, increasing opportunities for recreation and reflection in one of Rockland’s most treasured open spaces.”
Behan Planning and Design Part of Collaborative Effort of New Lebanon's Rebranding
The little town of New Lebanon, NY has been getting ample attention lately. The Wall Street Journal featured a compelling story on the Shakers as the "first modernist" and recognizing the Shaker Museum in New Lebanon and its exhibit at the Farnsworth Museum in Rockford, Maine.
A new concept in tourism led by Ruth Abram and her team from Behold New Lebanon was heralded in a leading article in the New York Times.
September 10th, The Chatham Courier featured an article entitled, Town Working on Rebranding Itself written by Gail Heinsohn and on September 12th, Eastwick Press featured an article entitled New Lebanon's Future Looks Bright by Thaddeus Flint. At last month's New Lebanon town board meeting, Behan Planning and Design, hired last year by the town, described their long-range plan to revitalize New Lebanon's historic hamlet center. Behan Planning and Design has been meeting with the town and its residents to map out a clear plan for New Lebanon's future making it more cohesive, and an inviting place that makes people not only want to visit but open a business and live there. Michael Allen, project manager, cited some of the needs addressed in the plan included, "business development, recreation, visual beautification, infrastructure and housing." New Lebanon has a lot of work ahead, but with the continued support from residents and local businesses the best is yet to come.
Behan Planning and Design Honored at Dedication Ceremony
On Sunday, September 7th, the Town of Clarkstown held an event to celebrate the completion of the New City Revitalization project with a ceremony and concert. Behan Planning and Design and Maser Consulting were recognized as the design team that was dedicated to the project from start to finish. Started nearly 10 years ago, as a visioning workshop, Behan Planning and Design helped shape the hamlet into a vibrant pedestrian-friendly community and downtown that promotes business and economic growth. The end result is a place of which residents can be proud and where businesses can flourish.
"As the Town and County government seat, and the largest of our hamlets, New City is at the heart of not only Clarkstown but also Rockland County," said Supervisor Alex Gromack. " I am pleased this project has come to fruition; it has already fostered economic development in downtown New City while making it more pedestrian friendly and aesthetically pleasing for our residents."
Image: From left to right: Rebecca Nolan, Behan Planning and Design;Joe Caruso, Master Consulting; Rick Hopkins, Maser Consulting;Ed Lettre, Town of Clarkstown; Cynthia Behan, Behan Planning and Design; John Behan, Behan Planning and Design
Journal News Reader Praises New City's Transformation
In the September 2, 2014 edition of The Journal News' Opinion section an avid reader gave accolades to the beautiful transformation in New City, NY - a hamlet revitalization project designed by Behan Planning and Design and Maser Consulting.
The letter reads: "I was a construction superintendent for 40 years on high-rise building which included site work. The work being done in New City on Main street, New Hempstead Road and Congers Road between Main Street and Route 304 is commendable. The grading, blending of different materials and their lineup in the concrete sidewalks, etc., curb work, tree planters, parking spots, relocation of the poles and lights and wiring, with new entrance work with the new asphalt into the various businesses, the new stone walls (especially on New Hempstead Road) are highly professional..."
Behan Planning and Design Featured in Landscape Architect and Specifier News Magazine
Behan Planning and Design was featured in the August edition of Landscape Architect and Specifier magazine for their design work in Clarkstown, NY. The streetscape design project, which has been part of an ongoing community revitalization effort, was showcased in the article entitled "Clarkstown City Center". Behan Planning and Design, in partnership with Maser Consulting and FP Clark Associates, led the design work of the 2 miles of street reconstruction, completed in three phases. The article chronicled the transformation of the hamlet from a "haphazard" vehicle-dominated strip to a "beautiful, vital city center".
Features of the project included great attention to detail with granite curbs and edging, stone veneer retaining walls, raised planting beds, hanging flower baskets, custom tree grates and civic spaces with bench seating, fountains and bike racks. The park-like design is not only beautiful but environmentally friendly with solar-powered lighted bus shelters and improved stormwater management. Behan Planning and Design’s vision has clearly paved the way to inspire other municipalities of the possibilities that lie ahead.
The full article can be found on page 16 here: http://landscapearchitect.epubxp.com/i/358403
City of Newburgh Embarks on Redefining its Broadway Design Guidelines
Behan Planning and Design has been selected by the City of Newburgh, New York to develop architectural design guidelines for the historic Broadway corridor. The firm will be assisting the City to develop these guidelines with the goal of community revitalization and civic pride. Behan Planning and Design is very excited to work with the local residents, business owners, and stakeholders to revitalize a vibrant historic commercial corridor that will boost economic development for years to come.
West Nyack receives $2.2 Million for Pedestrian Improvements through DOT Transportation Enhancements Program
In addition to the Consolidated Funding Application (CFA) grants awarded in December from the NYS Environmental Facilities Corporation, the Town of Clarkstown received another $2.2 million through DOT’s Transportation Enhancement Program (TEP). This funding will go towards sidewalk and streetscape improvements, such as providing handicapped accessibility, on Strawtown and Sickletown Roads as part of the hamlet’s revitalization efforts.
Clarkstown secures $1 Million Dollar Grant for West Nyack through Green Innovation Grant Program
Governor Cuomo’s office announced that the town of Clarkstown has been selected to receive a grant from the NYS Environmental Facilities Corporation through the Consolidation Funding Application (CFA) process for $1 million for the West Nyack Wetlands Restoration project.
The project will involve the construction of stormwater wetlands and the naturalization of two channelized streams south of the Hamlet Green. The project will restore the floodplain and native red maple habitat. It will feature other green infrastructure practices such as stream buffering, a permeable parking lot, and rain gardens. All of these techniques will act to slow down the flow of stormwater, allowing more water to infiltrate into the ground and reduce flooding.