Identity Crisis: City or Suburb?
You'll learn about:
The opportunities and challenges that arise when planning for downtown revitalization in two inner-ring cities within one region
The variety of tools employed by municipalities to make their communities attractive to developers and future residents
The approaches to TOD planning, community involvement, public-private partnerships, and applicability to a wide swath of generalist planners
City or Suburb? A question once easily answered for communities within the New York City metropolitan region, is now more complicated as inner-ring cities have become economic engines in their own right, as a result of proactive planning initiatives that capitalize on location, transit accessibility, and branding of unique community assets.
White Plains (population 60,000) is a major regional employment and shopping destination. The city’s population triples on workdays and now has an equal share of transit users reverse-commuting from New York City as completing the traditional inbound trip. To accommodate this growing trend and market for transit-oriented development, the city completed a community driven vision plan for a new mixed use downtown transit district. The plan contains incentive and form-based zoning regulations as well as various public-private partnership strategies.
New Rochelle (population 78,000) recently adopted a Downtown Overlay Zone following an intensive year-long research, planning and community outreach process paving the way for 10 million square feet of new mixed use development. The new zoning provides developers and property owners a clear and transparent roadmap for investment; it also sets design standards, community benefit requirements and a Mitigation Fund intended to create an attractive and sustainable downtown while ensuring that development covers any public costs associated with growth.
, City of White Plains
, White Plains
Confirmed SpeakerThomas Roach was elected to the White Plains Common Council in 2001. During his time on the council, he focused on constituent service, sound fiscal management, and the environment. Clean air restrictions on construction sites, which he spearheaded, remain part of the approval process in White Plains and have served as a model for other communities. In February 2011, while serving as council president, Tom became acting mayor upon the resignation of his predecessor. He was elected mayor in a special election shortly thereafter and won election to his first full term in office in November 2013 with 76% of the vote. During his time as Mayor, Tom has worked to maintain strong city services under difficult financial conditions by producing budgets complaint with the state mandated tax cap, maintaining the city’s AA1 credit rating, and improving his financial outlook to one that is stable. He has pioneered the use of new communications technologies in an effort to keep residents informed, particularly during severe weather events. In two years, he has pushed through the project to cap the city’s landfill, which closed more than 30 years ago. He has spearheaded important environmental initiatives including bike lanes, Zip Cars, and electric vehicle charging stations. Tom has been appointed to the Tappan Zee Bridge Mass transit Task Force, is second vice president of the Westchester Municipal Officials Association, serves on the Executive Committee of the New York Conference of Mayors, and is active with Mayors Against Illegal Guns.
, City of White Plains, NY
, White Plains
Confirmed SpeakerChristopher Gomez, AICP, currently serves as the Commissioner of Planning for the City of White Plains, NY which is currently undergoing a building boom with over 4,000 multi-family dwelling units the development pipeline. Recently, Chris led a 15-month public planning process culminating in the White Plains Transit District Strategic Plan to re-imagine a new downtown transit-oriented node including the redevelopment of 4.5 acres of publically-owned land. Chris previously served as the Director of Planning and Development for the Village of Port Chester, NY where he spearheaded the adoption of the Village’s award-winning comprehensive plan, Local Waterfront Revitalization Program, and substantial downtown zoning amendments. In the role of Associate Land Use Planner with the Westchester County, NY Planning Department, Chris contributed to Westchester 2025, the County’s long-range regional planning initiative. Chris has an undergraduate degree in architecture from Lehigh University and an M.S Planning degree from Columbia University. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Westchester Municipal Planning Federation (WMPF) and as a Planning Commissioner in the City of Peekskill, NY. Chris also maintains professional certifications from the National Form Based Code Institute (FBCI), National Development Council (NDC), and National Charrette Institute (NCI).
, Mayor, City of New Rochelle
, New Rochelle
Confirmed SpeakerNoam has served as the Mayor of New Rochelle since January 2006 and has been reelected three times by landslide margins, most recently in November 2015. Prior to becoming Mayor, Noam served for ten years on the New Rochelle City Council. Noam has been at the forefront of efforts to strengthen New Rochelle’s economy, environment, safety, and quality of life. He has worked successfully to forge public-private partnerships aimed at job creation and economic growth, including the most ambitious downtown development initiative in New Rochelle’s history. He has been a strong advocate for thoughtful community planning, spearheaded the creation of New Rochelle’s award-winning Sustainability Plan, promoted efforts to establish new public access to the Long Island Sound shore, and adopted new land use policies to preserve open space and protect neighborhoods from overdevelopment. A strong advocate for his city, Noam has secured grants for critical infrastructure priorities, including the enhancement of major transportation corridors and the rehabilitation of New Rochelle’s playing fields. And Noam has worked in concert with public safety professionals to bring New Rochelle’s crime rate down to a fifty-year low. In 2013, Noam won the Democratic nomination for Westchester County Executive, but lost the general election to Republican incumbent Rob Astorino. During his campaign, Noam advocated a regional strategy for economic growth and shared services, while emphasizing his support for reproductive rights and sensible gun safety laws.
, Metro Transportation Agency
, New York