October is National Community Planning Month!  Community Planning Assistance Team (CPAT): Upcoming Activities & Events

Many of us have already received the APA Interact email on October 5 indicating that this is National Community Planning Month, which kicked off in grand style this week with the announcement of APA's 2016 Great Places in America. Everyone is talking about planning and its role in creating healthy, strong, inclusive communities that work for all community members.  Locally, Washington’s Community Planning Assistance Team (CPAT) has been very busy with a couple of upcoming events:

(1) We are collaborating with National APA and CPAT planners from several states to conduct a webinar on October 21 titled: "Engaging Communities with Pro Bono Planning". While Washington has the oldest and most established program at the state level, several states have recently established programs and others are trying to start such programs.  In the webinar we will discuss the value of these pro bono planning initiatives, how to start and maintain a CPAT program, recruit volunteers, evaluate community applications, and communicate benefits.  The webinar is free and qualifies for 1.0 CM credit.

(2) We are preparing for a CPAT event on October 18 in Whatcom County  for the Mount Baker Foothills Chamber of Commerce.  The Chamber submitted a application in April requesting assistance for developing a visitors center and community park and ride in Kendall (25 miles NE of Bellingham). The CPAT committee met with the project applicant and agreed to follow through with a one day planning event planned for October. We’ve assembled a team of volunteer planners, designers, and an economist to collaborate with chamber members, local project stakeholders, and community members in crafting design concepts and an implementation strategy.

The Community Planning Assistance Team provides communities (cities, towns or communities) the assistance of professional planners and other specialists in articulating visions, solving problems or resolving issues. The objectives of CPAT are to connect plans and actions, identify local and regional resources for sustainable planning, and advance the principles of APA for a Livable Washington. CPAT assistance is targeted to communities that lack planning resources.  CPAT members include planners with expertise in land use, transportation, economic development, urban design, natural resources, parks and recreation, historic preservation, and other areas. There are members all over the state. In addition, CPAT is affiliated with the planning schools at Eastern Washington University and the University of Washington. With these resources, CPAT is accustomed to working with diverse community groups and finding progressive solutions.

While we have a full team for the upcoming Whatcom County event, CPAT is always looking for projects and volunteers. If you know of a community that could use some CPAT assistance or would like to volunteer on a CPAT project, please contact Bob Bengford ([email protected]) or Patrick Lynch ([email protected]).

Return to the October issue of The Washington Planner