The Latest News from PA Chapter of APA…
By Leah Eppinger, AICP
Welcome to 2024! I am excited to continue the momentum that the chapter has built in recent times. This year we are particularly excited about seeing new growth in our student engagement. I am honored to continue the long history of this organization by playing a role that allows for the PA Chapter of the American Planning Association to take a greater influence on both Commonwealth and National planning issues.
This organization has helped me grow both professionally and personally and I plan on repaying those gifts through my efforts to provide leadership and support growth. I look forward to continuing to interact with all chapter members as we strive to provide meaningful support and education to our membership and within our varies communities. We will continue to provide free and low cost AICP credit opportunities throughout the year, culminating in our Annual Conference held in Erie from October 14-16.
If you are looking for an opportunity to grow your network and your reach as a planning professional, APA PA is the place for you. Consider volunteering on one of our committees so your knowledge can be shared throughout the chapter’s membership. I extend a heartfelt thank you to all of those who are currently serving on these committees to improve the quality of work and discourse across our field.
I look forward to working with you all as we continue to strive to meet our mission: “The Pennsylvania Chapter of the American Planning Association provides leadership in the development of vital communities by advocating excellence in community planning through education, empowerment, partnership, and public policy.”
Get to Know Your Chapter President – Leah Eppinger
Leah Eppinger, AICP is the Executive Director of the Housing Authority of the County of Dauphin. She continues to push her organization to achieve the highest level of service to the residents and businesses of Dauphin County. The Authority maintains a strong Public Housing Program and Housing Choice Voucher Program which is responsible for housing over 2,000 Dauphin County households. Additionally, Leah is the President of Affordable Housing Associates of Dauphin County whose goal it is to maintain and increase the affordable housing stock in the County and has ownership in three LIHTC projects.
In the last number of years, Leah has developed several new programs while continuing to work towards increasing the number of affordable housing units in Dauphin County. Additionally, she works with local municipalities to assist in reducing barriers for new affordable housing development.
Leah has served as a state-wide elected member of the Pennsylvania Chapter of the American Planning Association Executive Board for the last eight years where she continues to promote housing opportunity and affordability through legislative action and local municipal codes.
Get to Know Your Chapter Vice President – Christina Arlt
Christina Arlt, AICP leads the Planning & Communications group at McCormick Taylor’s Philadelphia office. She has managed public engagement and communications for a variety of projects, including SEPTA’s Trolley Modernization program, SEPTA’s King of Prussia Rail project, the New Jersey Department of Transportation’s Local Aid Resource Center, and the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority’s Plan 2050.
Prior to starting at McCormick Taylor in 2019, Ms. Arlt worked for nearly a decade at the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC) in Philadelphia. Christina also worked in Planning & Zoning for Warwick Township in Bucks County and spent a year as a Fulbright English Language Teaching Assistant in Hamburg, Germany.
Ms. Arlt obtained her Master of City Planning with a focus on Land Use and Environmental Planning at the University of Pennsylvania, where she also obtained a Certificate in GIS and Spatial Analysis. Her undergraduate degree is in Urban & Environmental Studies from Franklin & Marshall College. Ms. Arlt volunteers for WTS-Philadelphia, an organization that supports women in the transportation industry, and is the Vice President of the American Planning Association Pennsylvania Chapter. She also teaches a class for first-year Master of City Planning students at the University of Pennsylvania.
Get to Know Your Chapter Treasurer – Pattie Guttenplan
Pattie E. B. Guttenplan, RLA, AICP, is the Assistant Director of Design and Outreach at the Montgomery County Planning Commission in Montgomery County, PA, working to promote good design in the built environment and to strengthen planning ties within the region and throughout the state. She is an AICP-certified planner and a Landscape Architect registered in PA, with over 35 years of experience in land planning and design in both the public and private sectors. Pattie’s experience ranges from design and project management for large- and small-scale land developments to planning studies that include revitalization, comprehensive plans, streetscape and gateway initiatives, and public space design. Pattie has also led many public engagement events, including design charrettes which were held both in-person and virtually.
Pattie has been on the Southeast Section Council of the state chapter since 2018, and is currently serving as the Vice-Chair. She has been very active with the Events Committee as well as the state-wide Legislative Committee, where she serves as liaison to the southeast section. As a member of this committee, she was one of the chief architects of the chapter’s surface transportation policy adopted in 2020, and continues to work on policy initiatives for the committee and the chapter. Pattie is also a Pennsylvania Municipal Planning Education Institute (PMPEI) instructor in Zoning, Zoning Administration, and Community Planning.
A native of Lycoming County, PA, Pattie holds a degree in Landscape Architecture from Penn State University. She lives with her husband, Charlie Guttenplan, who is also a planner and their Airedale, Della. They have two grown sons: Jacob, a software engineer, and Aaron, an architectural designer. Pattie volunteers in her community, including serving as a trustee on a charter school board since 2001, and she enjoys quilting, piano, and singing.
Get to Know Your Chapter Secretary – Laura Ludwig
Laura Ludwig, AICP is a Senior Community Planner and Group Manager in the Planning and Design Group for Herbert, Rowland and Grubic, Inc. (HRG). Ms. Ludwig assists with various projects from comprehensive plans to downtown revitalization strategies to active transportation plans to zoning ordinance rewrites and other ordinance development work. Ms. Ludwig is based out of HRG’s Cranberry Township office in Western PA but enjoys getting to work on projects across the State assisting HRG’s other offices.
Ms. Ludwig has served as the Section Chair of the Southwest Section of PA APA for the past five years and has almost 20 years of community planning experience, graduating from the University of Pittsburgh in 2003 with her undergraduate degree and again in 2005 with a Master’s in Public Administration, with a focus on Urban and Regional Affairs. Ms. Ludwig passed the AICP certification exam in 2012. Prior to joining HRG in 2019, Ms. Ludwig served as the Community Development Director for North Fayette Township in Allegheny County for seven years. She also worked as a Housing and Community Development Consultant at Mullin and Lonergan Associates and began her career at Oakland Planning and Development Corporation (OPDC), a nonprofit community development corporation in the City of Pittsburgh, as an intern while attending the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs (GSPIA), later working as a Community Organizer and the Real Estate Program Manager at OPDC.
In her spare time, Ms. Ludwig enjoys spending time with friends and family, specifically her husband Mike and children, Alexandra (12) and Evan (9). Her kids keep her busy with all of their sports and activities! Ms. Ludwig also loves her Peloton bike and enjoys walking, hiking, and biking the many awesome trails in Western PA.
Anticipating, preparing for, and mitigating the impacts of climate change is critical to ensuring our communities continue to prosper and provide a high quality of life. This two-part session will first introduce a transferable methodology for assessing and visualizing the wide-ranging impacts of climate change at multiple scales within a community, from individuals parcels to an entire municipality. We will then shift focus to demonstrate how the results of this climate risk assessment can be used to identify and prioritize projects, programs, and policies that mitigate climate change, increase community resilience, and equitably distribute resources.
The first part of the presentation will use the Albany County Climate Resiliency planning process as a case study to describe a climate risk assessment that considers future flood risk, heat vulnerability, and social vulnerability. We will describe how to access and analyze the datasets used to conduct the climate risk assessment and discuss the utility of the assessment’s results in supporting decision-making at multiple scales (e.g., property owner, township, county) and informing future development.
The second part of the presentation will focus on applying the results of the climate risk assessment to identify and implement proactive projects, programs, and regulations that not only address climate impacts but also improve the public realm and quality of life for all. We will bring an interdisciplinary perspective to this portion of the session, discussing a suite of inter-related approaches to climate resilience and mitigation, including land use regulations, the integration of natural infrastructure into urban environments, strategic open space acquisition, and the importance of tackling climate issues from a coordinated, interdisciplinary, and regional perspective (increasing capacity, building partnerships, and resource sharing is key!).
State and federal governments are investing significant amounts of funding in climate mitigation and resilience-focused projects. Recognizing the importance of aligning funding sources with planning recommendations, we will conclude the presentation by highlighting several public funding sources available for tackling climate change.
Our session will utilize interactive polling throughout the presentation to encourage audience participation and information sharing. We will also conclude each part of the presentation with discussion questions to facilitate a dialogue with the audience.
Deadline to register is February 6.
Sustainability and Resilience CM credit is pending approval. You must attend the webinar live to earn CM credit.
**The Pennsylvania Chapter is not responsible for the materials or opinions of the speaker(s) you will hear**
APA PA Conference – Call for Presenters Open
The 2024 Call for Presenters is open! Proposals are being accepted online only via the Chapter website. The deadline to submit your proposals has been extended until Friday, March 15, 11:59 PM. Traditional and non-traditional sessions will be accepted. More information is available online.
Please save the date for the Annual Conference October 13-15 at the Erie Bayfront Convention Center.