A Message from APA-NYM’s President, Max Sokol

The countdown to the National Conference is on, with just a little over a month to go. The National Conference will offer a wide range of professional development opportunities (be sure to get those Law and Ethics CM credits!), and our Chapter is fortunate to be teaming up with the New Jersey and Connecticut Chapters to host a Local Reception at The New York Public Library’s Stephen A. Schwarzman Building. Capacity is limited at the Local Reception, so register now to avoid missing out on what is sure to be a memorable event at this historic landmark.

On Saturday, March 25th, our Chapter’s Executive Committee and the leadership of the thematic Committees joined together for a day-long retreat. The purpose of the retreat was to reflect on the state of our Chapter and begin to outline a combination of short- and long-term goals for the future. The retreat featured a combination of group discussions and break-out sessions, and the collaborative event offered a forum for Chapter leadership to collectively carve a path for the Chapter’s future. We touched upon the Chapter’s operating procedures, finances, and the objective to define quantifiable metrics to evaluate our progress as we move forward. Topics of discussion included—but not were not limited to—the Chapter’s visibility and communications strategy, partnerships (both within APA and with related organizations), and the all-important question of how to maximize value for our membership. We are currently discussing action-oriented next steps to maintain the momentum.

On the subject of providing value to Chapter members, the Long Island Section recently hosted a CM event on real estate financing, and specifically the nuances of financing mixed use development. This is noteworthy because the session was designed specifically to meet the interests of our membership. In late 2016, the Long Island Section issued an online questionnaire to ask for input and ideas for programming, and the Section’s Steering Committee organized this CM event to explicitly tackle the subject that rose to the surface in the results of the questionnaire. The take-away is that we always want to hear from you, the Chapter membership, to inform our areas of focus for the months and years to come. The Sections and Committees are great avenues through which to provide your input on an ongoing basis.

In other news, APA National continues its unwavering focus on legislative initiatives at the federal level. APA President Cynthia Bowen, AICP, recently issued a statement that offers targeted commentary on the Trump Administration’s FY 2018 federal budget proposal. President Bowen’s eloquent statement underscores the need for our federal government to “support essential investments in the future of our communities,” and the statement closes with a call to action for Congress to reject proposed cuts to vital departments and programs. If you are interested in policy and advocacy, I suggest checking out the Advocate’s Toolbox, a resource prepared by APA National. As aptly noted in President Bowen’s statement, “Planners stand ready to work with Congress and the Administration on policies and programs that will strengthen communities.”


Maxwell L. Sokol, AICP
APA New York Metro Chapter