Planning for the Future is the Focus of Next PSU Roundtable

April 21st, 2006 by Adam

New Hampshire’s population grew 17.2 percent from 1990 to 2004, nearly twice that of other New England states. Many new residents are attracted by a change in lifestyle and the state’s natural beauty. More people results in an increased demand for services, and the pace of growth often exceeds a community’s capacity to adequately respond, and little by little, New Hampshire loses the characteristics which make it such an attractive place to live.

As a means of encouraging dialogue a roundtable discussion, Planning with the Future in Mind, is being held on Tuesday, May 2 at 6:30 p.m. in the Hartman Union Building Multi-Purpose Room at Plymouth State University. The University Environmental Committee, Plymouth Area Renewable Energy Initiative and PSU Common Ground are sponsoring the roundtable.

Many communities are asking how they can balance the need for development with long-term planning which conserves the ecological, social, and economic features of a particular place. In this regard, environmental planning seeks to integrate social, ecological, and economic considerations in order to create communities that serve present needs, and those of future generations. This includes protecting water quality, maintaining working landscapes, accommodating wildlife, and maintaining the natural and cultural features that make a place livable. Leading the discussion that will focus on these critical areas will be a diverse panel of experts: Carol Foss, Sophia Fisher, Clay Mitchell, and Luc Monzies.

As a senior integrative ecologist with the New Hampshire Audubon, Carol Foss is interested in how animals use the landscape, particularly in relationship to how people use the same landscape. To this end, she is working with a colleague on developing a natural resource-based approach to land use planning. Foss holds a Ph.D. in wildlife ecology from the University of Maine and has been active on the Concord Planning Board since 2000.

Since obtaining her Master’s degree in city planning from the University of Pennsylvania in 2005, Sophia Fisher has been a regional planner with the Lakes Region Planning Commission. She assists communities in several aspects of planning, including steep slopes regulations, town master planning and best management practices for aquifer and drinking water protection. She is particularly interested in the redevelopment of brownfield sites, or land that had previously been used for a particular purpose and is now no longer in use for that purpose.

Clay Mitchell is an attorney and a consulting planner working with a number of New Hampshire towns. He has a M.S. in environmental law and is a Ph.D. candidate in the Natural Resources and Earth System Science program at the University of New Hampshire where he is studying environmental and land use policy.

Luc Monzies, a native of Europe, made his home in West Peterborough two years ago. He currently serves on the Peterborough Planning Board, the town’s energy advisory group, and the West Peterborough Tax Increment Finance Advisory Board. As general contractor and president of Union Mill & Company Inc., he has spent the last two years renovating a 25,000 square foot mill and incorporating green design features. Luc and Partners are now building an organic café and market to create a social hub in an effort to continue the revitalization of the West Peterborough neighborhood.

Planning with the Future in Mind is the last in a series of four roundtables being held this year at Plymouth State University. For additional information please contact Melissa Greenawalt-Yelle at 535-3257 or at mgreenawalt@plymouth.edu.