American Planning Association

North Carolina Chapter

Message from our President

Kenneth Bowers, AICP

Chapter President

President’s Message for March 2017

Spring is in the air a little earlier than normal this year, although as I write this the weather forecast is calling for a potential surprise March snowfall. The weather, much like our political climate, continues to be full of surprises.

Springtime means that the National Planning Conference is not far away, and APA-NC will be sending a number of planners to New York City this May. As a former resident of NYC, I always look forward to a trip to “the City” and this year’s conference should be a blast with plenty to see and do. I plan to check out some of the many new parks that have been developed since I lived there, including Governor’s Island and Brooklyn Bridge Park, as well as take in some Mets baseball. I hope to see many of you in New York, perhaps at the Southeast Chapters Reception, which will be held at Hudson Station Bar and Grill at 440 Ninth Avenue on Sunday May 7th, 7 to 9 pm.

Planning is also moving forward with the North Carolina Planning Conference in Greenville. It’s shaping up to be a great conference. The theme chosen for this year by the Local Host Committee is “Rural, Urban, Points in Between.” Look to see a call for session proposals in your inbox and up on the APA-NC website in the next few weeks.

I’d like to give a shout out to the winners of our 2017 Great Places in North Carolina program, now in its sixth year. This was a big year for communities starting with the letter “m”, with Morehead City, Mebane, and Mooresville taking home awards, as are Winston-Salem and Lewisville. I’d also like to say thanks to Kelly Bennet, AICP, and all the volunteers who make this program an ongoing success—there is a lot of behind the scenes work that goes into this each year. As in years past, we are teaming up with the League of Municipalities to host a Great Places event in the Legislative Building as part of Town Hall Day, on March 29.

On January 27, it was announced that APA-NC has been awarded a $50,000 grant to help build local capacity for integrating planning and public health, making us one of 28 chapters have received funding through the Planners4Health initiative led by APA. The Planners4Health initiative is part of APA’s Plan4Health three-year, $9 million program to help communities combat determinants of chronic disease by promoting physical activity and access to nutritious foods. APA-NC will use the grant funding to broadly share knowledge and resources on building coalitions with public health professionals and more strongly integrating public health into local and regional planning practices. This builds on the excellent work done by APA-NC members at the Centralina Council of Governments along with a coalition of partners using an earlier Plan4Health grant.

Applications are being taken for the 2017 APA-NC Summer Fellowhip Program. The program was created to increase diversity in the planning profession by fostering increased interest among minority students and women in the field of urban planning, and is open to graduate and undergraduate woman and minority students majoring in urban planning, urban design, urban studies, geography or public administration at an accredited university in North Carolina. If this describes you, and you would like to earn $2,000 by spending your summer learning more about planning, you should apply. The fellowship period is from June 1 to Aug 30. Applications are due by 5PM on Friday April 7, 2017.

The Chapters Presidents Council is currently finalizing an update to the Chapter Performance Criteria, by which all chapters are to abide. They include ten mandatory elements (covering things such as elections, budgeting, reporting, and goal-setting) and a list of twelve elective items, of which chapters should be implementing at least four. Of these twelve, APC-NC is currently executing on nine, showing how well-developed our chapter has become. I will be working with the Executive Committee and staff to ensure that all of our reporting to APA national is compliant with this revised guidance.

I wish everyone a fabulous springtime and hope you have plenty of opportunities to get outside and enjoy the warming weather.