2015 APA-MA Annual Planning Award Recipients

2015 APA-MA Annual Planning Award Recipients

On December 11, 2015, the American Planning Association, Massachusetts Chapter (APA-MA) and the Massachusetts Association of Planning Directors (MAPD) celebrated the holiday season and honored innovative planning projects and professionals across Massachusetts during the Annual Awards and Holiday Luncheon at the Hotel Marlowe in Cambridge. The following are descriptions of the 2015 APA-MA Annual Planning Awards recipients.

Comprehensive Planning Award: Union Square Neighborhood Plan

Preparing for the future extension of the MBTA Green Line, the Union Square Neighborhood Plan examines growth opportunities in Union Square, Somerville. Following a year-long community planning process, the Union Square Neighborhood Plan resulted in an ethical and well-honed plan that represents the community’s desires, needs and wishes.

Utile Architecture + Planning
The City of Somerville – Office of Strategic Planning & Community Development
The Principle Group
Nelson / Nygaard

Link for Further Information: Union Square Neighborhood Plan

Comprehensive Housing Plan: Devens Sustainable Housing Plan
This project partnership combined green building, low-impact development, smart growth, inclusionary housing, flexible zoning techniques, complete streets, and climate change adaptation into an innovative and replicable example of model neighborhood planning and development. MassDevelopment created a pilot project to demonstrate that single and multi-family zero-net energy housing could be built in a sustainable, affordable, and replicable manner at Devens. The Devens Enterprise Commission adopted a set of innovative residential development regulations to facilitate compact, energy efficient, and low-impact development. The collaborative efforts of MassDevelopment and the Devens Enterprise Commission are a replicable example of how government agencies can partner and lead by example to develop innovative regulations and work with the development community to create demonstration projects that help foster more sustainable approaches to development.

Devens Enterprise Commission:
Neil Angus, AICP, LEED, Environmental Planner
Peter Lowitt, Director
Marty Jones, President & CEO
Richard Henderson, Executive VP Real Estate
Ed Starzec, Director of Land Entitlements and Master Planning

Links for Further Information:
Devens Enterprise Commission Innovative Residential Development 1 and 2 Regulations
Devens Enterprise Commission Subdivision Regulations (Street Standards)
Pilot Project Single Family Home Construction Case Study

Commercial Corridor Plan: Route 6A Orleans RESET Plan
The Route 6A Orleans Plan is a comprehensive assessment of a two-mile historic commercial corridor that examines the inter-relationship between transportation, land use and zoning, and economic development issues developed by the Cape Cod Commission in partnership with the Town of Orleans and the Orleans Planning Board. The goal of the project was to provide guidance to the Town on ways that future land use along the corridor might be altered to maintain the character of the community and provide opportunities for greater economic vitality. The project was an implementation of the “RESET” project, a partnership design to provide targeted, town-specific technical assistance designed to help revitalize town centers on Cape Cod.

Cape Cod Commission
George Meservey, Director of Planning and Community Development, Town of Orleans
Orleans Planning Board

Link for Further Information: Route 6A Orleans RESET Plan

Professional Planning Tool: Watertown Mixed-Use Design Guidelines and Standards
The Design Guidelines and Standards for the Town of Watertown is a direct implementation of a two-and-a-half year Comprehensive Plan that created a vision for the Town in a way that residents could identify with. The Design Guidelines are organized into nine overarching categories that are color-coded to the most fundamental aspects of the built environment. A fold-out poster summarizes the aspirations of the work as a snapshot for the project’s intentions, avoiding the risk of a lengthy document that sits on a shelf. The initiative was enhanced by the willingness of a national developer to use their project as a test-case. The result of the collaborative process was a better educated community that was able to have more meaningful and informed conversations with developers by utilizing the language and tools outlined in the document.

Watertown Department of Community Development and Planning:
Steven Magoon, Director
Gideon Schreiber, AICP, Senior Planner
Andrea Adams, Senior Planner
Gamble Associates, LLC:
David Gamble, AIA, AICP, LEED AP, Principal
Brian Gregory, Associate, AIA, Designer

Link for Further Information: Watertown Design Guidelines

Social Advocacy Award: Point Neighborhood Artistic Crosswalks
The City of Salem’s Department of Planning and Community Development, the North Shore Community Development Coalition, and the Point Neighborhood Association implemented two artistically painted crosswalks in the City’s Point neighborhood. The crosswalks are visible along a primary commercial corridor in the Point neighborhood that connects to Salem’s downtown and has sparked conversations about art, mobility, and economic opportunity. Artist Ruben Ubiera – who was born in and emigrated from the Dominican Republic, and spent part of his youth in the Point neighborhood – designed and painted the crosswalks. This project is a result of neighborhood level planning calling for public art in the Point neighborhood; collaboration between the City, the neighborhood and local partners, and a high level of planning advocacy.


City of Salem:
Lynn Goonin Duncan, AICP, Director, Department of Planning and Community Development
Andrew Shapiro, Economic Development Planner
Deborah Greel, Public Art Planner
North Shore Community Development Coalition:
Mickey Northcutt, CEO
Rosario Ubiera-Minaya, Chief Program Officer
Lucy Corchado, President, Point Neighborhood Association
Ruben Ubiera, Artist
Link for Further Information: What is the Point?

Student Project Award:
Making College Square: Leveraging Public Transportation for a Safer and Greener Campus
As part of Tufts University’s Department of Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning Field Projects course, the project team developed the report “Making College Square.” The MBTA Green Line Extension will include a new stop directly on the Tufts University Medford/Somerville campus at the intersection of College Avenue and Boston Avenue. The coming of the College Avenue Green Line station presents an unprecedented, historic opportunity for the University to consider transit-oriented development, engage in placemaking activities, foster the creation of a vibrant and welcoming new destination on campus, and shift in transportation modes. The planning process included comprehensive stakeholder engagement, including an online survey and design charrette to identify community goals, themes, and visions and recommend design solutions to improve the safety and usability of the intersection.

Tufts University Students:
Nathaniel Fink
Betsy Byrum
Xiang Yu
Rayn Riel
Christine Cousineau, Faculty Advisor
Peter Ciurczak, Teaching Assistant

Professional Planner Award: Andrew Vorce, AICP, Nantucket Planning Director
Andrew Vorce has worked for Nantucket since 2003, and currently heads their “PLUS” department, responsible for planning, building, health, and historic preservation activities. During his time on Nantucket, Mr. Vorce guided the development of a Town-wide master plan and fostered the development, passage and implementation of several area plans. Mr. Vorce initiated a comprehensive update to the Town’s Zoning Bylaw, which was stuck in the 1970’s, with many inconsistencies and certainly not able to meet the development patterns and issues facing the Island. Mr. Vorce began a systematic process of changing the bylaw and maps to mirror the Town’s underlying development patterns, designating commercial zones more appropriately, opening up lots for development and promoting affordable housing. Through zoning changes and other efforts, Mr. Vorce has been an advocate and a leader in promoting affordable housing initiatives across the island, often in the face of difficult opposition. Mr. Vorce has also advocated for Nantucket on the State Ocean Plan Group, and is a regular attendee of APA conferences and events. The planning initiatives brought forward by Andrew have greatly impacted Nantucket in a positive way.

Young Planner Award: Alison LaFlore, AICP, The Cecil Group
Alison LeFlore is selected for this award due to her tireless efforts, from the start of her career, to serve the Massachusetts chapter of APA. Ms. LeFlore is currently the APA-MA Board Secretary, striving to improve the chapter’s communication with members. Ms. LeFlore served as the APA-MA Board’s Young Planners Group Chair from 2011to 2015 and prior to that, as the student representative for Tufts University. She has served on three SNEAPA Committees, coordinated events for young planners, assisted with programs and activities of the larger APA-MA Board, and worked with APA National to update the YPG Guidebook. The Emerging Professionals Rebate, which provides financial assistance to early career planners who want to attend the SNEAPA Conference, was Ms. LeFlore’s idea and has served as a model for other New England chapters. She developed and coordinated the Mentor Match program for the 2015 SNEAPA Conference – a program that pairs new professionals with experienced planners to encourage informal mentoring relationships. Ms. LeFlore is currently an Urban Planner at The Cecil Group and has experience working in both the private and public sectors. She holds a M.A. in Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning from Tufts University, and recently passed the AICP exam.

Faye Seigfriedt Award:

Peggy Sloan, Director of Planning & Development, Franklin Regional Council of Governments
As Planning Director at the Franklin Regional Council of Governments, Peggy Sloan and her department have served as the de facto planners for most of the towns in the county. As a result, she worked directly with many towns’ planning boards and boards of selectman. Ms. Sloan has been greatly admired by her former employees for her mentorship and her leadership as planning director. She has served on numerous county, regional and state committees on a variety of planning topics and has been recognized for her work in those efforts. She is on the Alumni Board of UMass LARP, working to strengthen the relationship between the department and alumni. She is also a regular guest lecturer. Ms. Sloan’s stature, both throughout Western Massachusetts and with various agencies of the state government, and her long term leadership as planning director in Franklin County has inspired many planners, particularly female planners and female citizen planners from mostly rural towns.

Legislator of the Year:

Representative Sarah Peake, State Representative for the Fourth Barnstable District
Throughout her career as a State Legislator, Representative Peake has consistently been a strong supporter of zoning reform. Representative Peake laid the groundwork for the current Senate Bill 122, An Act Promoting the Development of Sustainable Communities. As House Chair of the Joint Committee on Municipalities and Regional Government, during the 2013-2014 legislative session, Representative Peake’s hands-on leadership and staff support led to the bill being reported out of Committee for the first time in life of the current zoning reform movement. The compromise language she and her staff crafted for the bill garnered a broad coalition of support and was used as the model for Senate Bill 122, which was filed at the beginning of the 2015-2016 legislative session. Representative Peake continues to be a leading voice in the effort to reform state zoning laws through her support of Senate Bill 122 as was evidenced by her testimony at the Joint Committee on Community Development and Small Businesses hearing of S.122 on September 15, 2015. She continues to advocate strongly for zoning reform.

MAPD Outstanding Service Award: Jim Clarke, Weymouth
For approximately 35 years, Jim has been one of the longest serving Planning Directors in Weymouth. He is also one of the longest time members of MAPD, joining around 1980. His years of service to the planning community include Chapter President of the New England American Planning Association, the predecessor of the current APA-MA Chapter. He was the APA Region I Representative on the APA National Board of Directors. Mr. Clarke has served on various committees at the national and state level of planning organizations through the late 1980s and 1990s. He was involved in early efforts at zoning reform.

His work in Weymouth includes the planning, design and construction of athletic fields, health assessment planning, playgrounds and parks, starting up the farmers market, historic preservation work, and researching and speaking about the Civil War history connection to Weymouth. Mr. Clarke has been extensively involved in the Southfield development at the old naval air station, which is creating a new community at this location.

APA-MA Exemplary Service Award: Brian Currie, AICP

Charles Downe Award, Jack Wiggin, FAICP
Presented by the Trustees of the Charles Downe Memorial Fund in memory of Charles E. Downe, a pioneer in the planning field who exhibited the best attributes of a professional and citizen planner, as well as a teacher and mentor of planners. This award recognizes planners who best exemplify these traits in planning.

John (Jack) J. Wiggin FAICP is the Director of the Urban Harbors Institute, University of Massachusetts – Boston. Mr. Wiggin is a recognized and respected leader in the field of coastal, harbor and waterfront planning. In his career, he has served many roles, including planner, teacher, speaker, citizen planner, volunteer, and author. He was instrumental in the establishment of the new Graduate Program in Urban Planning & Community Development at UMass-Boston and served as its Interim Director. In addition, Mr. Wiggin has been a member of the Town of Westwood Planning Board for more than twelve years with three terms as Chair. He was also the Chair of the Westwood Comprehensive Plan Committee. He Chaired the Advisory Council that drafted the General Management Plan for the Boston Harbors National Recreational Area. His body of planning and environmental work, teaching, writing, and community service, has greatly advanced the quality of life for communities and citizens across the Northeast and beyond.

During the luncheon, APA-MA and MAPD recognized individuals in the profession who have recently passed or retired:

In Memoriam

  • Brian Murphy, Assistant City Manager, City of Cambridge
  • Judith Robbins, City of Attleboro (former Mayor, president of Attleboro City Council, and Attleboro Redevelopment Authority)
  • Sharon Wason, Town Planner, Town of Foxboro


  • Larry Adams, Executive Director, Central Massachusetts Regional Planning Commission
  • Jim Clarke, Planning Director, Town of Weymouth
  • Michell Collette, Land Use Director/Town Planner, Town of Groton
  • Debbie Dachos, Planning Director, Town of Agawam
  • Mark London, Executive Director, Martha’s Vineyard Commission
  • Maryann McCall-Taylor, Planning Director, Town of Lexington
  • Steve Smith, Executive Director, Southeastern Regional Planning & Economic Development District

APA-MA and MAPD also congratulated the planners who passed the AICP exam in 2015:

  • Michael DiPasquale
  • Kyle Greaves
  • Emily Anne Lindsey
  • Steven Nutter
  • Melissa Shakro
  • Andrew Spiliotis