"Do it Together"
Katie DeLuca (Town of Greenwich Director of Planning & Zoning) partnered with the Greenwich Chamber of Commerce to speak to our members and the Greenwich Community as part of our Government and Community Affairs Advocacy series last month.
Katie stressed how important it is to have government and community discussions - "We need to do it together" beginning in the planning stages. Katie described the ongoing efforts to provide increased transparency and the re-allocating of resources within Planning and Zoning to support the business community.
Click here for a pdf of Katie's Power Point presentation.
Photo credit: Bernie Weiss Photos
Greenwich planner reaches out to local businesses
By Macaela J. Bennett | September 22, 2016
Planning and regulations don’t need to hinder the business community, Greenwich officials said Thursday.
Town Planning and Zoning Director Katie DeLuca met with Greenwich chamber businesses as part of continuing efforts to involve the community in planning decisions. DeLuca partnered with the Chamber of Commerce’s corporate and government committee in hosting the event at the Greenwich Water Club, which attracted a full house of town business leaders.
DeLuca prefaced updates to the latest planning and zoning changes with an explanation of how cities and towns introduced planning departments, dating back to the early 20th century in New York City.
“Zoning regulations are the way to implement our plan for how we want to grow,” she told attendees. “Just because we’re regulatory doesn’t mean we have to be unfriendly.”
She acknowledged the department still has room for improvement, particularly with how to increase efficiency, but she shared a number of ways her staff is working on those issues.
Technology is one of the primary tools she said she’s using to try and increase transparency and availability of information to the public. For example, she hopes a digital library will soon allow anyone to access documents including decision letters, staff reports and meeting minutes.
In response to residents’ frustrations over time about how long it takes for their permits to be processed, DeLuca said she recently replaced one of her departing staff members with a planner who specifically reviews zoning permits.
She added there are several ways her office has examined its work flow and is creating better defined processes. “There will always be the same depth of review though,” DeLuca said. “We are just working on making it more efficient and transparent so business leaders know what to expect.”
She said afterward that open communication and community input are the most important aspects of forming a vision for the town, and she hopes events like these both increase government transparency and encourage residents to share their feedback.
“I’m trying to get as many people into the conversation as possible,” she said.
After the presentation, attendees took her message to heart and lined up to speak with DeLuca and ask a number of questions.
Marcia O’Kane, chamber president and chief executive officer, said she was pleased with the event’s outcome and said it represents a vital part of the chamber’s mission to “serve as a conduit between the business person and town hall.”
“We think very highly of Katie DeLuca and all that she has achieved after taking the helm of her position,” O’Kane said. “She is both investigative and forthright in wanting the best for our residents.”
For the Greenwich Time article click here.
For event photos please visit our Facebook Event page.
We encourage your feedback and would like to share your thoughts, please comment below.