SEQRA & NEPA IMPACT / ECONOMICS / FISCAL / PERMITTING / PLANNING

►Diligent, competent, equal-handed service, attention to detail, time and budgetary commitments, a versatile skill set, mediating standpoint and common sense judgment have been hallmarks of over 25 years in the planning profession.  

 

  • A wide range of environmental, land use planning, permitting, environmental and development advisory capabilities.  
  • Learn more about the practice in the Resume, and Services and Projects pages.
  • NYC, Westchester, Hudson Valley, Long Island and New Jersey

 

►Since 1987.

 

►An approach that seeks to provide value to every client and add value to every project.  

 

►Take a look at the list of municipal and private-sector clients on the Clients and Municipalities page. 

 

►Whether you are an attorney, architect or engineer, consultant or consulting firm, municipal official, developer or development professional, call us to discuss how we can help you reach your goals.

Services

►Can we do any of the following for you, your organization or agency?  

 

We can:

  • Work with applicants, property-owners, municipal officials, review boards & government agencies to address development issues. 
  • Prepare and review environmental and regulatory documents.
  • Perform reliable fiscal and economic analyses.
  • Coordinate the activities of other professionals.
  • Work with regulatory agencies to obtain permits and licenses, and changes to resource mapping.
  • Provide thoughtful, informative guidance for planning and development projects.  Focus efforts and make efficient use of limited resources. Develop thoughts and vet ideas.  Understand and articulate competing viewpoints.
  • Meet your time and budgetary commitments. 
  • Reduce the time needed to become familiar with NYS's new SEQRA forms.
  • Advocate for good planning, sound development, a greater range of options for current and future generations, and conservation of land and energy.
  • Evaluate a proposal or a plan.  
  • Identify needs, strengths, weaknesses, opportunities or threats.  
  • Research, organize, evaluate and present complex information.

 

►For agency clients specifically, we can:

  • Assist with grant applications and administration
  • Work with and back up staff for planning & zoning administration
  • Free up staff time for other tasks
  • Organize and manage information and department activities
  • Review environmental documents such as EISs
  • Draft ordinances and code amendments
  • Preare, edit and revise policy documents
  • Prepare background studies and opportunities analyses
  • Meet with applicants and citizen committees
  • Work effectively with municipal staff and other consulting professionals
  • Mediate the interests of applicants, municipal and agency departments and staff, and board members
  • Develop the record for projects under review to support prudent, timely and substantiated decision-making.  

 

►Want to see what else we can do for you? Detailed information is in the Statement of Qualifications below.  See the Services and Projects pages for information on specific services and projects.  

 

►A quick snapshot of John Lynch's core competencies is provided in the skills-oriented resume below.  See the resume web-page for other resumes and additional information.  

Skills and Experience
John Lynch AICP Skills Resume.docx
Microsoft Word document [22.8 KB]
Statement of Qualifications
J Lynch Statement of Qualifications, Jul[...]
Adobe Acrobat document [2.4 MB]
View John Lynch's profile on LinkedIn

See below and the Interesting Ideas page for blogs, ideas and things that I like.

Westchester Municipal Planning Federation

INRIX Traffic Scorecard

Scenic Hudson's Sea Level Rise Mapper

"Bronx Irish at the Ramparts", 1984 documentary about changing northwest Bronx & Back in the Bronx presentation

PBS's "Visions of New York City"

NYC Channel 7 Eyewitness News Special: Climate Chaos

US Green Building Council -- Neighborhood Development Resources

Westchester County, New York Mapping / GIS Resources

NYS DEC Online Interactive Mapping

Look up your family in a 1940's phone book or just see pictures of the old neighborhood.   

Check out www.1940snewyork.com/

PlannersWeb web-site

City Limits

City Limits is a New York City-based non-profit that strengthens community engagement on civic, economic, and social justice issues. Since 1976, we’ve fulfilled our mission by publishing investigative journalism, documentary photography, creating new media and convening conversations that increase public awareness.  

Real Estate - Crain's New York Business News Feed

What drives up rents (Sun, 31 Aug 2014)
The argument that a lack of housing stock is what drives higher rents is only partially true. The type of housing stock being developed does as well. The big fear is, of course, gentrification and... To view the full story, click the title link.
>> Read more

Builder de Blasio bets on density (Sun, 31 Aug 2014)
"The problem with Michael Bloomberg is that he turned the city over to developers,'' said an acquaintance of mine recently in a discussion of the former mayor's legacy. "No,'' I replied, "he didn't.... To view the full story, click the title link.
>> Read more

Squarespace takes big space in Hudson Square (Fri, 29 Aug 2014)
The fast-growing website-maker Squarespace is leasing a big new office space that's anything but square.   The company, sources say, is taking 100,000 square feet in the trendy office district... To view the full story, click the title link.
>> Read more

Tours to Ellis Island Hospital begin in October (Fri, 29 Aug 2014)
Starting on Oct. 1, visitors to Ellis Island will be able to tour an area that has been closed to the public since 1954. Tours to the enormous South-Side hospital complex, where immigrants to the... To view the full story, click the title link.
>> Read more

Planitizen Web-Feed (Planning Related Articles Culled from the Web and Print Media)

http://eepurl.com/By7Ar

GOOD is the integrated media platform for people who want to live well and do good. We are a company and community for the people, businesses, and NGOs moving the world forward.

GOOD

Should Society Fund Mindfulness? (Sat, 30 Aug 2014)
Illustration by Tyler Hoehne One can imagine that the relentless, backbiting pressure cooker that is Washington, D.C. takes its toll. (Just watching Congress do all that backbiting certainly does.) By his third term in office, Washington was making Ohio congressman Tim Ryan sick. But Ryan, a Democrat who penned the book A Mindful Nation, found a balm for his frenetic mind after his 2008 campaign: a Jon Kabat-Zinn retreat that taught him the link between mind and body. Ryan began practicing mindfulness (45 minutes each morning in his office), and also decided that he “would advocate in Congress and on the Appropriations Committee for integrating mindfulness into key aspects of our society.” I’m originally from Ryan’s district, a spot along the Rust Belt full of rough-and-tumble, blue-collar folks (many of whom struggled for decades to secure decent jobs). It’s a deeply Italian-American area where, in season, you can always find a good Lenten fish fry, and pizza is sold from church basements year-round. It’s a population that one might not immediately associate with a practice derived from Eastern philosophy. But somehow Ryan has become the poster boy for mindfulness back home and in Congress—so much so that a conservative blogger dubbed him “Congressman Moonbeam.” Ryan isn’t all granola and hemp, however. He’s a bulky former high school football player and altar boy. Today, he sports nice suits and attends policy briefings. But as Molly Ball recently described him in The Atlantic, Ryan “is that guy you know who’s just started meditating and can’t stop talking about it, only with the ability to propose legislation.” We laugh at friends who swallow self-help books, who adopt gurus and stumble blithely behind them. A congressman who has appeared with Deepak Chopra can be easily lumped in with those who’ve spent too much time discovering their aura’s color. (It’s a trope that’s too easy—the Beatles in India or Eat, Pray, Love— and it perhaps denotes some latent bigotry toward a religious and cultural tradition unfamiliar to most Westerners). Forget that these mindfulness-adopters are truly attempting to improve their lives. Forget that Ryan, like good legislators are supposed to, has found something that could help his constituents. In a Washington so apparently devoid of quiet reflection, according to The Washington Times, Ryan has had other members of Congress privately approach him hoping to learn more about mindfulness. He has sponsored a bill to increase holistic medical offerings through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and secured earmarks for relaxation training in his district's schools. He’s managed to turn mindfulness into a public good. While corporations like Google, Target, and Proctor & Gamble have found enough worth in the practice to establish corporate contemplation and mindfulness trainings, Ryan’s earmarks make these coveted skills available to public schoolchildren early in their education thanks to secular programming based on Social and Emotional Learning principles. In elementary schools in the towns surrounding my childhood neighborhood, to neutralize emotional outbursts and behavioral issues, kids learn take deep breaths and still themselves. They lay down their burdens in a “Peace Corner.” They discover how to create time and space to alleviate stress in order to facilitate the day’s lessons. According to a recent article in the area’s Warren Tribune Chronicle, school faculty members view the program as having positive effects in the classroom, though those results have not yet been quantified. We live frenzied, plugged-in lives these days, with reams of information begging for our attention every waking second. Just as the societal transition from hard labor to desk jobs meant that we had to carve out time for physical fitness, we are now adjusting to an era in which the majority of us have an increasing need for mental fitness. Investing in that, and all the long-term positive health impacts of meditation—decreased anxiety and depression, lower blood pressure, relief of chronic pain—certainly offers the potential to create a happier, healthier citizenry. With added evidence that meditation makes people more patient and empathetic, less hostile, angry, and fearful, there appears to be merit in Ryan’s quest to bring mindfulness to this particular Congress. So before you dismiss the Congressmen Moonbeams of the world, close your eyes, take a deep breath, and reflect on exactly what he's advocating for—a low-cost proposition that could improve public health and teach our children to live more balanced lives.
>> Read more

Syrian Refugee Women Learn Self-Defense with Predictably Badass Results (Sat, 30 Aug 2014)
Two women practice knee kicks during a QUWA self-defense course “Today was tough,” wrote Zeinab Khalil. “Maybe the hardest session we’ve had yet.” Khalil published this on the blog she runs with her friend and colleague, Nour Soubani, which documents the two Arab-American women’s experiences running a self-defense program for female Syrian refugees in Istanbul, Turkey. The project, called QUWA (the Arabic word for “strength”), is divided into two main parts: a physical self-defense class and a healing circle, designed to encourage emotional well-being through discussion. But the tough session Khalil referenced in this particular post wasn’t referencing a grueling workout, rather it was about a circle gathering that addressed relationships, and how the war and the participants’ displacement had changed how they now relate to other people. “It was about naming and recognizing the violence we face in its multiple forms,” wrote Khalil. “People were eager to share the ways that the events of the past few years have changed their lives.”  Since the uprising and subsequent civil war began in 2011, more than nine million Syrians have fled their homes, and over half a million have sought refuge in neighboring Turkey. These days, it’s difficult to walk the streets of Istanbul without hearing a Syrian accent among the crowds or running into displaced Syrian children. Although Syrians face better treatment in this part of the region than in Lebanon or Jordan, where they are often subject to violent racism, their refugee status leaves them vulnerable to all kinds of exploitation, including sexual abuse. Three times a week, two hours per session, Khalil and Soubani meet with their class at the Sham’una school in Istanbul to oversee both the self-defense portion and the healing circle. In the first session, the women are instructed on how to protect and defend themselves against physical transgressions they may face on a daily basis, from employers, acquaintances, or strangers on the streets.  “Our class gives [students] practical ways to really mark their own space,” says Khalil. “We talk a lot about boundary setting and saying no and what is their comfort level with different people.” A self-defense instructor engages the women in hand-to-hand combat and they play out different scenarios in which they may feel threatened.  The self-defense component, however, is only supplementary to the healing circle.  “Although the project started with self-defense as the main goal or purpose, we realized we needed to address the types of violence that are not physical and the ones that happen in other ways,” says Soubani. “In the healing circle, we try to do that.” The women of QUWA know how to block (and pose) During the tough session that Khalil recounted on the blog, she heard poignant stories of how the conflict and its attendant stressors shredded relationships with mothers and best friends. But the most difficult experience came as they moved on to discussing why people stay in unhealthy relationships. One of the older participants forcefully advocated for all Syrian refugees to stick together and forgive each other, no matter what. Khalil had the impression that this elder considered dysfunctional personal relationships to be petty concerns when compared to the collective experience of surviving Syria’s unrest. But younger participants were not so sure. Some tried to counter that their individual feelings were still valid, even in the face of widespread violence and displacement. Khalil was torn as to how to support these women with conflicting opinions, and allow space for the less strident to have their voices heard while giving due respect to the elder woman and her worldview.  “I feel that I could have been more proactive with facilitating; less neutral,” she mused on the blog. Apart from inter-community strife, many of the women have to deal with the uncertainty and isolation that comes with being a refugee. Hariri, a 23-year-old Syrian woman from the city of Dar’aa, originally fled to Saudi Arabia with her family when the conflict first began. When they realized it wasn’t going to end any time soon, they moved to Istanbul, where she could finish her degree in biology.  “For a time, I just stayed at home, cut off from society,” says Hariri. “There was a period of one to two years where I did not mix with other people, and when I did, it was with people who were harmful to me.” Hariri says attending the healing circles, meeting other women, and learning how to defend herself have allowed her to rebuild her life in Istanbul. It has also transformed the way carries herself.  “Now when I walk alone, I can do it with some confidence,” says Hariri. “I used to be afraid, afraid for my safety. But now I even take my time walking outside.”
>> Read more

Achilles’ Password: Online Security’s Susceptible Straggler (Fri, 29 Aug 2014)
Illustration by Tyler Hoehne Since its inception 56 years ago, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, essentially the U.S. Department of Defense’s mad scientist division, has turned fiction into fact and revolutionized our world several times over by thinking big and weird. They’ve invented the proto-internet, GPS systems, and even bent light itself to make 40 trillionths of a second disappear. They’re currently tinkering with laser guns, health monitoring internal nanobots, and virus-killing blood cleaning technology, just to name a few. But right now, one of DARPA’s main focuses is on something called the Active Authentication Project, launched in 2012 with the explicit and initially confounding mission of eliminating passwords as we know them, to better guard us all online. DARPA isn’t coming out of left field. Up to 55 percent of security professionals think passwords are a fundamentally flawed means of protection, and it’s common knowledge that they’re easily poached by programs like Heartbleed—just this month, a group of Russian hackers amassed 1.2 billion internet credentials. Even long, complex passwords don’t seem to be protecting us well, and can be broken down by hacking systems. A decade ago, Bill Gates predicted passwords would die. Then, last year, several tech firms launched the Petition Against Passwords. Now a group called the FIDO Alliance hopes to do away with internet passwords altogether by 2015, although there’s no official consensus on how exactly to do this. To date, many tech companies have sought to replace traditional passwords with things like knock code, multi-step verification, physical lock-and-key systems, and even biometrics. Google, a champion of multi-stage logins, recently acquired SlickLogin, a program that will transmit a near-silent sound from your computer to an app on your phone, which then returns a signal to a website server to confirm a user’s identity. Google is betting heavily on the elaborate technology, believing it to be one of the most effective and difficult to replicate multi-step verifications. And many phones now have basic finger (or even ear) scanning technology like the Ergo app, which provides greater individual specificity and security than fingerprints, which can still be lifted or easily smudged. But all of these systems still have serious flaws. Even non-verbal codes can be broken, physical locks can be lost, and a multi-step process, in the end, only verifies safety at the sign-in stage, while threatening to screw over users who, in SlickLog’s case, for example, lose their phones. Mistake-free, multi-step verifications are invasive, like Google’s plan to have people ingest radio frequency-transmitting pills or wear electronic tattoos. As for biometrics, aside from being unreliable and easily fooled, many involve clunky lifestyle changes and new equipment like wristbands to monitor heart signals or special bio-soles to verify your identity by foot pressure. There have been attempts to make biometrics more discerning, with cameras that monitor the formation of facial expressions or finger sensors that can detect a user’s blood and oxygen flows. DARPA’s push to end the password is a revolutionary, two-pronged (if borderline Orwellian) approach: First, they’re focusing on “cognitive fingerprints,” which track how a user moves or acts, identifying the individual not only at login, but continuously, throughout their experience. The method assesses subconscious or automatic factors like muscle movement, which are almost impossible to replicate. Second, DARPA is reinforcing the cognitive fingerprint process with existing technology, using the sensors and apps already on our computers and phones in unexpected ways. Partnering up with scientists from Drexel University, the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, New York Institute of Technology, Southwest Research Institute, and SRI International, DARPA is working to detect our “authorial fingerprint,” based on writing style, speed, and errors. The organization aims to build detection techniques around the unique rhythms and electric signals of our hearts, the micro movements in our hands as we gesture, our patterns of response to randomly generated system error messages, and the speed, style, and balance of our stride and posture. Progress is promising, but all of these technologies are still in the early stages of development. It will be a while before kinks are ironed out and developers make the login and constant verification process seamless and inoffensive. And, on DARPA’s end, it’s likely that the systems they develop will only make it to the public after first launching on Defense Department computers. For many of us, that’s actually cause for relief—even though the DARPA programs are a far cry from anything as invasive as swallowing a password pill á la Google’s one-time plan, they do involve storing a great deal of intensely personal data. But even if the current forms are disturbing, the mission is still worthwhile. Maybe we’ll reject some of the more intrusive options, but in an age of vulnerability and shrinking privacy, any meaningful step we take in the quest for personal security is a step in the right direction.
>> Read more

Guess Which Wealthy Country Can't Guarantee Access to a Basic Human Need? (Fri, 29 Aug 2014)
Photo by Rebecca Cook/Reuters Detroit's Water and Sewerage Department has once again begun shutting off water services to some of their neediest citizens. Despite poor economic conditions, Detroit residents actually pay more for water than individuals in many other cities, as prices have shot up to cover the department’s waning revenues in the wake of dwindling populations and failing businesses. After a month-long moratorium, the shutoffs resumed yesterday, depriving human beings in the richest country in the world of the most basic necessity of human life. Residents, many of whom claim they weren’t aware they were behind, let alone facing shutoff, have been taken aback by the DWSD’s increased zeal for penalizing late payments; the agency has turned off water services to over 7,000 homes since April. Citizens report receiving enormous bills they say they did not incur, waiting in hours-long lines to even discuss their accounts with agency representatives, and confrontations with indifferent DWSD contractors called in to do the bureau’s dirty work. Garbage cans and any other available containers are being marshaled to gather rainwater in affected communities, as people begin to face the new reality of life without water. While the city claims it has reached out to people through “water fairs” and offered structured payment plans, many believe that the push is part of an ongoing effort to privatize local utilities. By purging those who can’t pay their bills from the books, the city would be eliminating a large liability from the bottom line of a potential investor. The total dollar amount of unpaid bills is split about evenly between businesses and residences, but the shutoffs have mostly targeted homes, furthering speculation that business interests are being prioritized.      Detroit filed for bankruptcy in July of last year, sending local officials scrambling to keep the municipality afloat—it’s a genuinely desperate situation that has pundits and politicians calling for increasingly desperate measures. In the U.S., unfortunately, situations like this lead to an inevitable conservative chorus advocating loudly for the sale of public assets and privatization of basic services. On the topic of selling off the Detroit Institute of Art’s publically-owned collection, Judge Steven W. Rhodes, who approved the city’s bankruptcy proceedings, warned that a “one-time infusion of cash by selling an asset,” would only slightly delay the city’s “inevitable financial failure.” Cities like Chicago have learned the hard way about the unintended (on the people’s part, anyway) consequences of privatization, with a scheme that gave control of the city’s parking meters to a consortium of business interests helmed by financial services company Morgan Stanley. Inspector General David Hoffman, in a report following an investigation, concluded that the city got a raw deal. In failing to properly calculate whether the contract was in their interest, they had agreed to an arrangement that had seriously lowered quality of life for city residents. This is because the consortiums, sovereign wealth funds, and investment banks that make these deals are usually just smarter than local governments. They have no particular allegiance to their own countries, let alone qualms about failing municipalities full of poor people, and they’re certainly not interested in the “buy low, sell high, make a buck” model of economics that officials naïvely think they’re buying into. If they couldn’t leverage profit at the expense of the general population, they wouldn’t even be sniffing around. There are assets that exist somewhere in between a commodity and a human right, and water is one of them. While the infrastructure to provide clean, safe drinking water costs money, and must be funded somehow, there are always higher priorities than immediate solvency. Governments, especially in countries as wealthy as the United States, have a responsibility to take care of their people, and maintaining a minimum quality of life is part of that responsibility. Putting the interests of carpetbagging parasites in front of those of their most vulnerable citizens, or trusting the intentions of corporations with zero interest in the public good, is a mistake that will have long-lasting negative implications for everyone involved. Whether the shutoffs are directly linked to the shady privatization schemes or just a lucky coincidence for city officials’ fire sale mentality, Detroit’s underprivileged are victims of decades of terrible governance and half a century of economic decline, none of which can be laid at the feet of any one individual. Literally hundreds of thousands of residences in Detroit currently lack running water, a situation that is unacceptable, and one we should all feel ashamed of. The United Nations has already threatened to step in, warning that the shutoffs may violate minimum human rights standards, and activist groups like the Detroit Water Brigade and the People’s Water Board are doing what they can to get water to thirsty residents. And if you can afford it, The Detroit Water Project now allows you to directly pay the water bills of those who have had their service cut off.
>> Read more

ArtPlace Archived Articles -- Creative Placemaking

Forgotten NY

Ephemeral New York

Contact:

John J. Lynch AICP
14 Spring Street
Hastings on Hudson, NY 10706


Phone:  914 478 0800

 

333 Pearl Street

New York, NY 10038

 

Mobile:  917 647 2855

 

E-mail:

Volleyurb@aol.com

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John J. Lynch AICP
John J. Lynch AICP John J. Lynch AICP