Comments Expressed by
 Workshop Organizers and Participants

Conservation Subdivision Design as a Tool for Building Community-wide Open Space Networks

"We heard great things about your ideas and presentation, and you more than met our expectations."

--David Goudy, Montshire Museum of Science, Hanover, NH


"Thanks so much for an absolutely wonderful presentation. It was exceptionally well-suited to our audience of Placer and El Dorado County officials."

--Judy Corbett, Local Government Commission, Sacramento, CA


"I enjoyed hearing you again this summer. Your numerous visits to this state have had great repercussions.  In almost every community where I work (in the Brainerd Lakes Area), there are thoughtful discussions about the merits of conservation design. This didn't happen until you showed up."

--Phil Hunsicker, Lakes Region Program Director, 1000 Friends of Minnesota


"I learned a lot in the short time you had with us (yes, you 'touched a life'). I now look forward to spreading the good word as I go around the Commonwealth."

--Leighton Powell, Scenic Virginia, Richmond, VA


"There were nothing but rave reviews of your presentation."

--Hank Metcalf, Planning Board Chair, Orono, ME


"I am a Village Council member and just wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed our day, and how productive it was to me.  Applying your ideas and perspectives will be of great value as we continue to deal with change, but preserve the uniqueness of our community."

--Douglas Lapins, Village Council, Pinehurst, NC


"Thank you for the time you spent with me in Montpelier recently. I found your presentation fascinating, and think your ideas for growth management and changes in our enabling laws deserve further attention.  I will ask Commissioner Holmes to follow up on your suggestions."

--Madeleine M. Kunin, Governor, Montpelier, VT


"I cannot thank you enough for coming to Spartanburg. You were a tremendous hit. Thank you for the great job you did knitting trees into your open space story. Everyone was very pleased, and my boss’s wife said that you stole the show. I agree."

--Stewart Winslow, for the Noble Tree Foundation, Spartanburg, SC


"Rarely have I so clearly experienced the ‘scales falling off my eyes’."

--David Kay, Harvard, MA

"I want to thank you for the stimulating, informative, and inspiring presentation. We all felt energized by it, as well as gaining the in-depth understanding that you communicate so well. It was fun, too! Some of the town officials are quite ready, now, to launch into the Growing Greener program. Thank you for taking the time and effort to provide such an excellent and valuable evening. I only wish we could have you here every month!"

--Patty Elkis, AICP, Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission, Philadelphia, PA


"As a result of your presentation we are making great progress in implementing your conservation design principles into our land use code.  The response we received and the support to change some of our Land Use Code was amazing! Our Board of County Commissioners now fully supports the idea of implementing these principles into our code."

--Julia Stantic, La Plata County Community Development Office, Durango, CO


"It was quite amazing to see such a diverse group of people all smiling at the end of your presentation. The reception to your talk has stirred the hope we can find common ground among groups with diverse interests."

--Mary Schneidewind, Association for Intelligent Rural Management, New Paltz, NY


"Thank you for bringing in Randall Arendt for the workshop and lectures. He is a real inspiration and I’m very excited to have been a part of it. I had hoped to get him here myself, and would love to be part of any planning or brainstorming process that involves implementing more of these ideas."

--David Weintraub, ECO: Environmental and Conservation Organization, Hendersonville, NC


"Fascinating, effective, gifted speaker. I wish he could have spoken  longer. Outstanding. Very enjoyable and informative. This was a wonderful presentation."

--Evaluation Comments, 9th Annual Planning Law Conference, Austin, TX


"The praise and accolades are still coming in.... It was a truly exceptional experience."

--Dana Beach, South Carolina Coastal Conservation League, Charleston, SC


"Thank you for such an excellent presentation. Many people expressed to me with great enthusiasm how stimulating your talk was. Your presentation was informative, provocative, and right on target about how conventional zoning is blind to the preservation of land."

--Michael Pessolano, Town Planner, Harwich, MA


"The local newspapers and e-mail have been buzzing ever since your inspired commentary. Thank you for being such a key contributor to the success of our gathering in Coeur d'Alene."

--Prof. Wendy McClure, Dept. of Architecture, University of Idaho, Moscow, ID


"Thank you so much for your contribution to the Your Town workshop -- and what a contribution it was! We witnessed a remarkable difference in the workshop participants after your presentation."

--Lisa Vogel, University of Georgia School of Environmental Design, Athens, GA


"The response to your workshop has been phenomenal. One planning commissioner actually rewrote his township zoning ordinance as a result."

--John Koches, Water Resources Institute, Grand Valley State University, Allendale, MI


"We want to thank you for coming to Moscow and presenting such an informative involving workshop on community design and development. Your ideas and outlook will influence decision makers here for a long time to come. You combined an engaging sense of humor with solid design background in an approach that brought our community together for a rare opportunity for self-analysis."

--Paul Agidius, Mayor, and Linda Pall, Council Member, Moscow, ID


"Thank you so much for your wonderful, evocative, excellent presentation at our conference. The audience was stunned and excited. You planted all kinds of wonderful idea seeds. I've organized a lot of workshops over the years and I can't remember another one that had such an immediate, positive impact."

--Lyn White, Canoe River Aquifer Advisory Committee, South Easton, MA


"Your visit with us served as a vital catalyst in the reformulation of our master plan. You have launched us into a new planning orbit."

--Richard Hull, Sugar Loaf Community Foundation, Sugar Loaf, NY


"Already I am receiving calls for a repeat performance. I shall try to fend them off till Spring, having seen your calendar myself."

--Therese Landry, Androscoggin Valley Council of Governments, Auburn, ME


"Given the continued positive response in the ensuing weeks, we can surely say that your visit was an unqualified success."

--John McNall, Citizens Advisory Committee, Honeoye Falls, NY


"Thank you for last Saturday's workshop. It was magnificent. There was an incredible amount of listening, learning, and enthusiasm for all you were saying. I have never seen our people so responsive."

--Joan Manzelman, Northern Oneida County Council of Governments, New Hartford, NY


"The evening workshop was such a success that we are already seeing results. On Friday a developer came into our office and said: 'I want to redesign my subdivision using principles that Randall Arendt talked about at the lecture last night'."

--Karen High, Jefferson County Dept. of Planning and Environmental Management, Louisville, KY


"I have had several people tell me that yours was the best program they have ever attended at a MMA convention".

--William Livengood, Esq., Maine Municipal Association


"I was absolutely inspired by your presentation in Grand Rapids last Friday. I stayed up half the night on Sunday and wrote a new 'vision for our township'."

--Stuart Cok, Algoma Township, Kent County, MI


"Our town passed the Open Space Bylaw almost overwhelmingly, with only four dissenting votes. The Planning Board feels that without your expertise in educating our residents, this bylaw would not have been successfully adopted."

--Kathleen Mull, Planning Board, Littleton, Massachusetts


"From the conference evaluations, your presentation was overwhelmingly selected as the portion of the program the members of the audience felt to be the most useful to them. I would be interested in learning how to obtain a copy of your video."

--Ben Starrett, Florida Dept. of Community Affairs, Tallahassee, FL


"Your workshop was ranked the highest by the participants in terms of overall knowledge gained and practical application. Comments on the evaluation forms include: excellent, thought-provoking, effective, and fantastic."
            --Raymond Godfrey, Soil Conservation Society of America, Winooksi, VT

"Your ideas will have a lasting impact on the town. Already one developer is proposing to devote part of a major project to an extremely creative cluster design."

--Benjamin Frost, Town Planner, Kittery, ME


"On behalf of the Acton Planning Board I would like to express our sincere appreciation for your presentation of the conservation design concept at our Special Town Meeting. Your presentation was instrumental in getting the provisions passed."

--Roland Bartl, Town Planner, Acton, MA


"Thanks for the inspiration, the materials, and for putting them in a format that makes it easy to bring directly into the classroom."

--Prof. Elmina Hilsenrath, Landscape Architecture Program, University of Maryland


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Comments Received from Sponsors of  Commercial Corridor Workshops

"Thanks for your energetic and inspiring presentation. It was truly what we needed, in order to jump start this project, and our guests left inspired. We look forward to working with you again!"

--Sally Wakefield, 1000 Friends of Minnesota


"Thank you for your recent visit to Hickory. I greatly appreciate your efforts. Your presentation Reclaiming the Commercial Strip: Toward a More Sustainable Future for our Gateway Approaches was enthusiastically received. I have heard nothing but positive comments since the presentation.

Over 40 persons attended from three counties, including elected and appointed officials, Planning Commission members, planning staff, civic leaders, business persons, developers and local citizens.
It was a great 'kick-off" for our planned revisions to our future land-use plan and land --development code. The topics that you addressed were timely and quite pertinent to our current redevelopment and land use issues.

I greatly appreciate the additional hour that you spent addressing attendee's questions. It was a lively give and take session.

Thank you again for your time and the passion that you exhibited. The session was well-received and one that every municipality should hear."

--Brian Frazier, AICP, Planning Director, City of Hickory, NC


typical dunkin donuts     mature trees and vernacular architecture for dunkin donuts


"I wanted to write County Planning a note of appreciation for its efforts in producing the Twice Green event in Lakeland. Randall Arendt is an outstanding speaker, and his topic of rural conservation design is timely. The program was well run, attendees were enthusiastic and engaging, and the hands-on planning exercise was informative. The event’s value of 4.5 AICP credits was a bonus, as well as the door prizes (good idea). I am looking forward to my next project in Polk County and the opportunity to apply some of Mr. Arendt’s planning principles."

--Erin Degutis, RLA, ASLA, AICP, URS Consultants, Tampa


"The East Central Florida Regional Planning Council hosted Randall Arendt's new seminar, Reclaiming the Commercial Strip January 29, 2009.  With 190 advance reservations and 35 registrations at the door the attendance of was double initial expectations and a very good indication of the strong interest in the topic and Randall's star power as a speaker.  He did not disappoint; the message was timely and accompanied by excellent graphics and photos that tell the story of how to begin the reclamation and reuse of commercial corridors. Since we were able to garner sponsors advance registrations cost only $10, a bargain for an AICP accredited presentation. Total net cost to our council will be less than $1000, a very good value."

--Phil Laurien, AICP, Executive Director, East Central Florida Regional Planning Council, Maitland


"Everyone loved your presentation and thought it was very informative, especially the graphic pictures – which really helped our local officials to visualize the concepts and prove they can be implemented! One person commented that you were very laid back and he appreciated the fact that you didn’t preach to the group, and that you just shared your knowledge and experience in a way that informed and inspired."

--Jill Weyer, Senior Planner, Sullivan County Planning & Env. Mgmt., Monticello, NY


"You offered an excellent workshop and, as far as I can tell, there were a lot of happy people here on Friday. You gave us all a lot to think about. Your presentations were chock full of information—most participants couldn’t keep up with their note-taking."

--Prof. Jack Sullivan, FASLA, Landscape Architecture Program, University of Maryland, College Park, MD


"I really enjoyed your workshop on transforming the strip. I’ve always felt that the ‘traditional’ zoning methods have caused more harm than good, and have been a hindrance to good design. I hope that the local county staff members can take the workshop to heart and move away from the fossilized establishment to a better vision of redevelopment and a return to integrating of land uses, horizontally and vertically."

--Kevin Mack, RLA, ASLA, Dewberry Associates, Gaithersburg, MD


"Great job yesterday at the Lyceum.  Sorry to have missed talking to you, but I couldn't get through the ring of your  fans. I was wondering if you'd consider being a Keynote speaker at a national conference that we're holding this September.  The National NEMO Network is now about 30 states strong.  We think a talk focused on the topic of your new book would be perfect for this audience.  They would really benefit by hearing your take on all this and seeing real examples from a real practitioner."

Chester Arnold, Center for Land Use Education and Research, Nonpoint Education for Municipal Officials (NEMO) Program,  University of Connecticut Extension Service


"Thank you for returning to New Berlin and sharing your incredible insight and expertise.  Your session Reclaiming the Strip was hugely successful and timely, and drew professionals from throughout Wisconsin. In addition, the City is in the process of updating its Comprehensive Plan and will be incorporating your principles related to sustainability and form-based concepts. The City has enjoyed its partnership with you over the years both in your assistance in updating our codes, and with the training that you have provided to community development staff, elected officials, and residents. Your most recent training session is certainly applicable to towns, villages and cities all across the country, and I would encourage any colleague of mine to invite you in to share your knowledge."

--Greg Kessler, AICP; Director of Community Development; New Berlin, WI


"The seminar was great, your presentations were inspiring, and the workshop was just lots of fun. The only downside was that your examples reminded just what a great place my community could be, if only it weren't so backward. So I left inspired but depressed."

--Bert Ray, AIA, Wimberley, TX


"Today was GREAT!  I think I'm really a planner stuck in an engineer's body. I find all the stuff you went through today to be so interesting, and stimulating. I've often daydreamed many of the planning concepts that you illustrated today, in particular the house fronting on greens idea.  I also thought that maybe a ‘greenway street’ of some sort -- that might double as an infiltration area. Anyway, at my age I don't figure I'm going to establish myself as a conservation land planner, so guess I'd better stick to my water resources engineering."

--David Venhuizen, P.E. Austin, TX


"I can truly say that, without the requirement for CM credit, I would have missed a wonderful day-long experience. For me the real shocker came in the afternoon. I left the world of public planning 30 years ago after earning a MSCRP from the University of Texas, As a charter member of the AICP, while a student we were privileged to listen to lectures from Stuart Chapin, Buckminster Fuller, and Ian McHarg, and your lecture was as impressive as any of those. I hope you inspire a new generation of students."

--John Higdon, AICP, Higdon Development Co., Austin, TX  


"The Reclaiming the Commercial Strip workshop was a huge success!  It’s difficult to say if our capacity attendance and active audience participation was due to the timing of the topic relative to local development trends, your enthusiasm of your presentation, or their anticipation based upon your very popular ‘Conservation Subdivision’ presentation last year.  No matter what the reason both the private and public sectors are now talking about the same vision for the community and it looks like we’re entering into a concerted era of enlightened development…or, better put, re-development!"

--Steve Ribble, ASLA, CLARB, Ames A/E, Bangor, Maine


"After hearing Randall Arendt’s presentation on Highway Commercial Corridor Redevelopment Design, I can confidentially predict that if all towns followed these guidelines and philosophy, the quality of life throughout the country would improve, followed by immeasurable positive effects. Mr. Arendt offers towns a tremendous 'return on investment'."

--Norman B. Peck III, Zoning Commissioner 1988 –Present, East Lyme, CT


"Thank you for your visit to Walker County and your outstanding slide lecture on the Highway 27 Tourist Corridor Development and Design Guidelines, which presented us with many very innovative and practical ideas. When some of the surrounding towns learned you were coming to Walker County, they asked if they, too, could attend your workshop with us, as they had been impressed with your previous work with them.

Your talk was very well received and we have had many requests for the DVD you provided, as well.  We look forward to sharing this excellent information with the cities within our county, and working with you on future projects.

Walker County based much of our new land-use plan on the design principles described and illustrated in your earlier presentation on alternative ways to develop residential properties and green space subdivision.  We have been identified as a progressive community within the State of Georgia, and I have received several appointments to state programs based upon our wisdom in soliciting your guidelines in 2001."

--Bebe Heiskell, Sole Commissioner of Walker County, Georgia


"It was important to have Randall's expertise regarding commercial corridor development at our regional Build Smart Summit, attended by 180 P&Z officials from central MN (including , City/County elected officials, realtors, business reps, tribal reps, planners, developers, and architects).

Through Randall's presentations we were able to identify many land-use opportunities for all areas of our region and we appreciated that the message contained positive, pragmatic solutions.

And, as the event coordinator, I appreciated Randall's attention to details.

Following our Summit I've received several calls from groups who would like to bring Randall back, and I expect that we will be working with him again."

--Cheryal Lee Hills, Executive Director, Region Five Development Commission, Staples, MN


"Thank you for visiting Chestertown. Your presentation Reclaiming the Commercial Strip: Toward a More Sustainable Future for our Gateway Approaches was timely and very well received.  As always, your images and commentary were both entertaining and thought provoking.  The ideas presented are beneficial to both small towns and larger jurisdictions."

--Gail Owings, Director, Kent County (MD) Planning, Chestertown, MD


"Your recent community training workshop for Chautauqua County was extremely well received. People became really involved in your presentation and asked many good questions..  Participants particularly liked your method for converting them, slowly over time, into attractive and successful mixed-use corridors through good design."

--Terry H. Martin, Ph.D., Consultant to Chautauqua County (NY) Planning Department


"As Polk County is taking steps to include conservation planning principles into our local planning process, Randall Arendt’s recent presentation at our Twice Green workshop was timely, informative and inspirational. He provided practical examples on how communities can preserve natural areas and open space, while growing in a quality manner. This was a tremendous help to our efforts to build support for conservation planning. We are now confident that we can craft a ‘win-win’ situation for future development."

--Tom Deardorff, Growth Management Director, Polk County, FL


"Randall Arendt has been a repeat guest of the Village of Fontana over the past seven or eight years, and each time he visits our community, he leaves it with a renewed sense of vision and purpose. During his most recent stay, community residents, Village officials, and business leaders were energized by Randall’s presentation on Reclaiming the Commercial Strip.

It is difficult to put into words just what it was about the workshop that made it such an effective experience for us. All I can say is that Plan Commissioners and Board Members still reference that night back in May, over six months later.

The images in the slideshow provided a very enjoyable and readily understandable learning experience, easily more effective than a professorial lecture on the “Rights and Wrongs” of commercial development.

Photos of our own community, taken by Randall as he toured the Village prior to the workshop, were seamlessly integrated into the presentation and stimulated the audience to engage in meaningful discussions about what we were doing right and where we needed to improve. Perhaps the most enduring benefit of this experience was the increased ability of Village leaders and staff to describe and define the type of commercial re-development they wish to encourage, as opposed to the old standby ‘I’ll know it when I see it’.

I strongly suggest that any community looking to reinvigorate their out-dated commercial areas invest in Mr. Arendt’s seminar."

--Joseph McHugh, Executive Director, Community Development Authority, Fontana, WI


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