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Innovative Clarence Greenprint Wins a 2014 NY Upstate American Planning Association Award | Environment

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Innovative Clarence Greenprint Wins a 2014 NY Upstate American Planning Association Award
Environment, News
 Innovative Clarence Greenprint Wins a 2014 NY Upstate American Planning Association Award


The New York Upstate Chapter of the American Planning Association (NY Upstate APA) is pleased to announce that the Clarence Greenprint has been awarded the 2014 Planning Excellence Award for Implementation. The 2014 NY Upstate APA Chapter Awards recognize outstanding work being done by planners, planning firms, elected officials, and citizens to advance the science and art of community and regional planning in upstate New York. The award was presented at the NY Upstate APA’s annual conference held in Rochester on Thursday, Sept. 18. 

The Planning Excellence Award for Implementation recognizes an effort that demonstrates a significant achievement in accomplishing positive changes as a result of planning. Emphasis is on long-term measurable results to demonstrate that sustained implementation makes a difference. Nominated efforts need to have been in continuous effect for a minimum of five years. Winning efforts are distinguished for originality and innovation, quality, thoroughness, degree of public participation, effectiveness and results, and degree of community support.

The Clarence Greenprint is a highly successful open space preservation program in the Town of Clarence in northern Erie County, N.Y. The program’s design efforts began in 1998 and were implemented in November of 2002 when Clarence residents overwhelmingly approved a $12.5 million bond authorization to fund the protection of open space, riparian corridors, scenic vistas, and farmland in the town. To date, the funding has been used to protect 1,315 acres of irreplaceable land in perpetuity.   

The president of the APA New York Upstate Chapter, Ellen Parker said that, “The Greenprint is an excellent example of a municipal open space preservation program. Using the Greenprint plan, the Town of Clarence has successfully protected acres of forests, meadows, stream corridors and working farms in the town. One unique aspect of the Greenprint program is that it makes protected farmland available to farmers, keeping these lands in active agricultural use. This is an effective way to enable the transfer of land to the next generation of farmers. The Greenprint is a model for preserving open space that other communities can emulate.”

Peter Wolfe, chairman of the Town of Clarence Recreation Advisory Committee, the citizen group that guides the Greenprint program, and Mike Powers, Clarence Town Justice and member of the Committee – both co-founders and designers of the Greenprint program – said, “The program is preserving the town’s rural character, reducing noise, traffic and congestion and protecting the quality of life for all town residents, but that is not all – it’s also about our bottom line. Property values have gone up, tax rates have been kept low, and these protected open spaces preserve beautiful vistas, protect wildlife and provide ecological services such as clean water and flood control, saving the taxpayer money on engineered infrastructure. The program takes a balanced approach, protecting important natural areas and farms without restricting appropriate development in other areas of the town.”

In fact, after 10 years experience with the Greenprint and prior to renewing it in 2013, the Town of Clarence conducted a study to determine the program’s impact. Jim Callahan, Clarence Director of Community Development and an integral part of the program, advised that “the study revealed an average increase of 15 percent in the sale price of properties adjacent to preserved properties. Countywide data showed the average appreciation rate of properties in Clarence following adoption of the Greenprint to have been five times that of comparable towns in the region and Clarence’s tax rate was 30 percent lower than in comparable communities in the area.”  

The Supervisor of the Town of Clarence, David C. Hartzell, Jr., said, “The Greenprint helps preserve our community character and has made our town an even more desirable place to live and run a business. It is an integral part of our strategy to keep Clarence thriving for years to come. We are honored to receive this award and thankful to the NY Upstate APA Chapter for their recognition of our hard work.”

The Western New York Land Conservancy has been a partner in the project since its inception, assisting with program development and its implementation during its 12-year history. The Land Conservancy’s Executive Director, Nancy Smith, said, “We are so pleased to play a role in this innovative program. The members of the Recreation Advisory Committee who designed and created this program, the residents who voted for the Greenprint in 2002, the elected officials who stood behind it, and the citizens who championed it are all visionaries. The results of this inclusive public-private partnership will be a legacy with quality of life benefits that will last for centuries.” 

If you have questions about the Clarence Greenprint or the award, please contact Town of Clarence Supervisor David C. Hartzell, Jr. at (716) 741-8930, Clarence Director of Community Development Jim Callahan at (716) 741-8933, Clarence Town Justice Mike Powers at (716) 847-5417, or Land Conservancy Executive Director Nancy Smith at (716) 687-1225. 

The New York Upstate Chapter of the American Planning Association's mission is to serve and support the professional, student, and citizen planning community in upstate New York and to improve the quality of life through the use of planning. This diverse network of planners, planning board members, public officials, educators, students, and engaged citizens share information and learn about best practices from the state, nation, and around the world. APA members seek to implement good planning in their communities and impart the benefits of planning. Planners work with a variety of partners from the public, private and nonprofit sectors to craft policies, guidelines and incentives to help communities achieve their goals.

The American Planning Association (APA) is a nonprofit education and membership organization. Members include practicing planners, planning students, elected and appointed officials, planning commissioners, and interested citizens. The APA and its professional institute, the American Institute of Certified Planners, are dedicated to advancing the art, science and profession of good planning — physical, economic and social — so as to create communities that offer better choices for where and how people work and live. The APA includes 47 state and regional chapters across the United States.

The Western New York Land Conservancy is a regional, not-for-profit land trust that permanently protects land with significant conservation value in Western New York for future generations. The Land Conservancy envisions a future in which open spaces, working lands, wildlife habitat and scenic beauty are cherished and protected as part of the landscape and character of Western New York. The Land Conservancy is one of 1,700 land trusts nationwide, including 90 in New York State. Land trusts have protected 40 million acres over the last 20 years. For more information on upcoming events or the work of the Western New York Land Conservancy, please call (716) 687-1225 or visit www.wnylc.org.

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