Connecticut Building Congress May Program

| May 15, 2017

Craig Lapinski moderates a panel discussion with (l-r) Kent Schwendy, Tyler Theder and Caroline Vary, at the Connecticut Building Congress at the May program

Stamford, CT  – Members of the Connecticut Building Congress were treated to a robust discussion of the vision and plans for creating resilient and sustainable urban development on Tuesday, May 9. The program held at the Sheraton Stamford featured a panel discussion moderated by Craig Lapinski of Fuss & O’Neill and included Tyler Theder, Regulatory Compliance & Administration Officer, City of Stamford, Kent Schwendy, President/CEO of Corporation for Independent Living,  and Caroline Vary, Vice Chair, Stamford 2030 Steering Committee/Manager, Director of Asset Management, The Jonathan Rose Companies.

After a brief introduction by Craig Lapinski, the discussion was opened by Caroline Vary, who discussed Stamford’s participation in the 2030 project, a consortium of districts across the country that comprise urban areas committed to meeting the energy, water and transportation emissions reduction targets of the 2030 Challenge for Planning targets. Ms. Vary shared the district’s outreach mission for buy-in/participation with business and not-for-profit entities in and around Stamford, “our goal is to maximize the number of property managers that are working toward the energy and water efficiency, as well as resiliency goals staked out in the 2030 Challenge.”

Next up, Tyler Theder discussed the city’s approach to the urgent need for water management for the City of Stamford. Mr. Theder’s discussion opened with a review of the vulnerability of Stamford, as a coastal city, to threats of climate change, extreme weather and natural disasters. “As a city, how can we be resilient” is the question for Stormwater Management every day. Mr. Theder described the city’s efforts in stormwater management and the MS4 designation for the city of Stamford, an achievement recognized for only three cities in New England – the others being Boston and Springfield. MS4 is a designation reserved for cities with a Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System, one that is able to run storm and sewer off through separate systems, thereby greatly enhancing the city’s water resiliency.

The final speaker before the question and answer session was Kent Schwendy. Mr. Schwendy’s talk highlighted the coordination that is required between developers and regulators, and the need for effective communication. “There is an inherent tension in the development process where regulators want everything to be the same, and relatively easy to measure compliance and developers want to impress and have a marketing vision that stresses uniqueness,” Mr. Schwendy remarked, “and, developers aren’t evil, they’re just misunderstood.” The key to a harmonious relationship is understanding and effective communication where everyone understands the terms the same way and can relate to each other’s point of view. During the process, both sides have to be clear about what is working and what isn’t working, “’Yes’ or ‘No’ are the best answers; ‘Maybe’ is the worst possible answer there can be because it represents potential risk.”

The CBC will hold its next program on Tuesday, June 13 when they present the 21st Project Team and Scholarship Awards Banquet and Annual Meeting at the Bond Ballroom in downtown Hartford. Join us as we end our program year in celebration of the PTA Award Winning Projects and Teams. The Connecticut Building Congress will honor project teams that demonstrated extraordinary collaboration in the execution of their projects. The CBC will also recognize this year’s scholarship recipients.




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