Community Planning

Since 1976, Ted Fink has helped scores of communities design innovative land use programs to achieve sustainability. In 1991, he created GREENPLAN, which provides general community planning services to village, town, and city legislative and planning boards.  The firm also assists special boards or committees in preparing comprehensive plans and other specialized community planning projects. Ted has been a Professor of Land Use Planning at Bard College’s Graduate School of Environmental Studies and is currently an Adjunct Professor with Marist College’s School of Science, teaching environmental science and policy courses. He trains and assists municipal boards in their environmental and land use reviews of development projects under the State Environmental Quality Review Act (“SEQR”), New York State Town, Village and General City Law, and other federal, state and local rules and regulations.

Our Intent

We aim to balance the needs of people and the communities they live in, both in the present and the future, with those of the natural world. Through research, analysis, education, and design, we help develop and implement municipal planning programs. Our staff design and lead public engagement as an integral part of these programs.

a few Achievements

  • Staff are Members, American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP)
  • Town Planner in Warwick for 27 years and Red Hook for 14 years
  • Warwick presented with New York State Association of Realtor’s first annual “Smart Growth Award” for its planning program
  • American Farmland Trust uses Warwick's Plan, Zoning, and preservation programs as models for farmland protection
  • Red Hook awarded New York Planning Federation’s “Pomeroy Award for Zoning Achievement”
  • Red Hook awarded Pace University Land Use Law Center's "Groundbreakers Award"
  • Warwick cited as model of smart growth by Glynwood Center, NY State Association of Towns, Institute of Local Self-Reliance, and Smart Growth Network
  • Harvard Environmental Law Review uses Warwick's Zoning as an example of an "innovative land use law...[and a] successful emulate and encourage..."
  • Pace University Land Use Law Center uses land use controls, developed by GREENPLAN, as models
  • Received American Planning Association, Eastern Pennsylvania Chapter Merit Award for “Outstanding Contributions to the Quality of Planning Within the Chapter Area”

Our Services

Land Use Planning

  • Prepare or update comprehensive plans, zoning and subdivision regulations, local waterfront revitalization programs, and specialized land use controls to guide community development.
  • Prepare local laws, ordinances, and regulations for open space preservation, traditional neighborhood development, wetland and steep slope protection, scenic road and historic resource conservation, river and waterfront revitalization, as well as for public water supply and watershed areas, agricultural lands, and other important natural and cultural resources.
  • Conduct training sessions for municipal boards, to provide a better understanding of land use planning in general and New York State's planning and zoning enabling statutes.
  • Review and provide comment on proposed site plans, subdivision plans, special use permit applications, and zoning variances along with their required environmental impact assessments.
  • Foster public participation in the municipal planning process through development of public opinion surveys, community image surveys, visioning sessions, press releases, neighborhood and town meetings and workshops, and other methods of determining public goals and the priorities attached to them.
  • Creatively plan for community and regional park and recreation facilities by relating leisure time, behavioral activity, and environmental conditions to specific geographic areas.

Design Guidance

  • Assist communities in the development of appropriate guidelines for lighting, signage, site layout, architecture, building form, ridgeline development, and landscaping, among other design considerations.
  • Prepare illustrative manuals to visually describe what is desirable and undesirable for new development in a community by using photo and graphic examples drawn from the community and other relevant communities.
  • Where appropriate, incorporate guidelines as illustrative standards in a municipality’s land use control regulations.

Expert Witness

  • Provide findings of fact for the decision making processes of semi-judicial or judicial bodies.
  • Provide the various courts of law with concise and factual information on which to base a resolution, a ruling, or a verdict.

Environmental Assessment

  • Prepare or review environmental impact statements and environmental assessment forms under the New York State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQR). Prepare environmental impact assessment documents under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).  Conduct training sessions, for municipal boards, to provide a better understanding of SEQR’s substantive and procedural requirements.
  • Assess the environmental impact of proposed activities such as municipal and state government actions as well as residential, commercial, industrial, and institutional developments.
  • Investigate, document, and analyze the natural and cultural features of individual sites, areas, districts, municipalities and regions.
  • Undertake air, noise, fiscal, and viewshed impact analyses, cultural resource (historic and archaeological) surveys, vegetation and wildlife surveys, and wetland mapping.

Cost of Community Services 

  • Identify improvements and costs (impact mitigation) for roads, schools, sewer, water and other infrastructure needed by new development, through the use of Generic Environmental Impact Statements and other appropriate means.  
  • Calculate the proportionate share of costs for new development by determining the quantities of facilities needed to accommodate such development, the total cost of the facilities, the revenues that will be available to pay for the cost of the facilities, and the "net" cost to accommodate it.
  • Apply expertise in economic development, community planning, research, real estate market analysis, land development, and administration to assist communities in land use and community / economic development planning, program design and implementation.