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We are back for our third year of programming! Hancock Estabrook and MRB Group are offering a free annual training program to assist local governments, municipal officials, and planning and zoning boards.

The program will include 10 hours of remote training designed to provide a comprehensive education that encompasses all aspects of municipal governance. Each program in the series will be provided remotely on the fourth Thursday of each month with subject matter experts from MRB Group and knowledgeable attorneys from Hancock Estabrook, LLP. Topics will be lively, useful and – potentially as important – qualify for the education requirements for members of Planning Boards and Zoning Boards of Appeals.

Thursday, March 23, 2023 – 6:00 p.m.- 7:00 p.m.
Session 3: Now What?

Managing the Development of Solar Projects After Planning and Zoning Approvals

Solar projects are dominating the agendas of many regulatory bodies across the State. Our team will overview the tools that local governments can use to ensure that development and long range management of solar projects aligns with your expectations, and mitigates impacts on quality of life.

Thursday, April 27, 2023 – 6:00 p.m.- 7:00 p.m.
Session 4: The Power of Doing a Proper SEQR Review

SEQR Review

New York’s State Environmental Quality Review Act impacts nearly every decision you’ll face as a community development player. Getting SEQR right is critical to addressing development projects—whether you’re working to advance a development, or to stop one that doesn’t align with your community’s value. This session will focus on the processes associated with SEQR review, and on what to do when you’re faced with challenging SEQR questions.

Thursday, May 25, 2023 – 6:00 p.m.- 7:00 p.m.
Session 5: Financing Your Future

Municipal Debt Issuance, Tax Credits, and Grant Resources for Economic and Community Development

Our local government finance professionals will provide an overview of financial tools your community can use to address your top priorities. This session will focus on the process for obtaining funds, including municipal bonds, preparedness for financing opportunities, and management of financing alternatives.

Thursday, June 22, 2023 – 6:00 p.m.- 7:00 p.m.
Session 6: Beyond Euclid

Specialized Zoning Tools for Local Governments

R-1, R-2, Highway Commercial, Light Industrial…most zoning codes are pretty comparable to one another, and address a wide range of potential projects. As development trends evolve, local governments are employing a new breed of zoning and regulatory tools to stay nimble and address specialty projects and expanding resident expectations. This session will overview the use of Comprehensive Plans, Moratorium, zoning amendment process, form based codes, incentive zoning, overlay districts, and other tools leveraged by communities to protect and enhance quality of life.

Thursday, July 27, 2023 – 6:00 p.m.- 7:00 p.m.
Session 7: The Other Green Development

The Next Phase of Cannabis: Local Regulatory Tools

At the close of 2022, New York State issued its first licenses to cannabis dispensaries. This adds a new use for communities to evaluate and address as part of your regulatory framework. This session will review the latest state regulations relative to cannabis sales and cultivation, and provide an outline of opportunities for local governments to address cannabis sales in your community.

Thursday, September 28, 2023 – 6:00 p.m.- 7:00 p.m.
Session 8: Transforming Tough Properties

Brownfields 101

Many communities across New York State are challenged by real or perceived contamination on sites remaining from industrial and other historic uses. This session will explain the Phase Environmental Site Assessment and Phase II Environmental Site Assessments process, overview approaches to identify brownfields, the regulatory processes surrounding remediation, and potential funding sources to support transformation of these local assets.

Thursday, October 26, 2023 – 6:00 p.m.- 7:00 p.m.
Session 9: What Not to Say, and What Really Not to Do

Preventing Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

Federal and state laws surrounding sexual harassment and related workplace infractions, while seemingly common sense, can be complex and impactful to your work. New York’s laws impact nearly every element of local government operations, including volunteer boards! This session focuses on elements of state and federal law that seek to address workplace conduct issues, and on the expectations of you as a board or staff member when it comes to this critical topic.

Thursday, December 14, 2023 – 6:00 p.m.- 7:00 p.m.
Session 10: Santa’s Naughty and Nice List

The Year in Review

We’ll close out the year with a fun session on who got it really right and who might have missed the boat in 2022. We’ll provide case studies on the best examples of great development review, and a few pitfalls discovered by your neighbors that you should avoid going into the New Year.