Community Outreach Program
The Community Outreach Program was initially developed to give the planning boards of the region a forum for learning more about the planning tools and techniques needed to prepare for and manage growth. The Program was subsequently expanded to include basic training for planning boards, and education and training for conservation commissions and other local volunteer boards. A needs survey is conducted from time to time to keep up to date on emerging issues.
NCC provides education and training to member communities in several ways:
Planning Board Training
North Country Council planners provide basic training for planning boards in two locations each fall. These sessions focus on the procedures for subdivision and site plan review. Tips for running an efficient meeting and making the most of everyone’s time are also covered. The goal is to empower planning board volunteers to feel confident in their decisions.
North Country Council (NCC) organizes and hosts workshops for local board members and other interested residents several times each year. Topics are those that have been identified as high priorities by member communities. These workshops are free of charge. Announcements are typically mailed to chairs of local boards and area newspapers, and are posted on the NCC website.
North Country Council staff maintains a website, www.nccouncil.org, which includes information on services, links to sources of related information, and upcoming events of interest to planning boards and other local boards.
North Country Council has published a newsletter for member communities and partner organizations for many years. In 2008 a new feature called “Planners’ Corner” was added with information on current topics especially for planning boards.
North Country Council has always been a resource to communities for demographic information, sample ordinances, and educational literature on a wide variety of planning topics. The library includes current periodicals from the American Planning Association and other national organizations. Educational videos can be borrowed by member communities. (Other resources must remain in the library).
Planning Board Visits and Phone Calls
There are many situations where it is helpful to have an expert at the planning board meeting to hear directly about the issues of concern to your community. North Country Council’s (NCC) professional planners are available to visit member planning boards, discuss planning issues and concerns in the community, and follow up with guidance material and helpful examples. NCC staff will provide recommendations and direction to your planning board so they can proceed with confidence to better plan for the future of the community. Evening meetings are typically scheduled a month or two in advance. However, NCC planning staff is available each weekday during regular business hours to answer pressing questions from member communities.