Topping attendance records of any other Northern New England Chapter conference, over 300 planners gathered at the Wentworth by the Sea, in New Castle, NH, November 6-8, 2023 for the annual conference!

Wentworth by the Sea

The conference began on Monday with a series of mobile tours showcasing the New Hampshire seacoast, followed by the opening reception. On Tuesday morning, the keynote speaker, Jenny Raitt, discussed having "planning grit" in advancing zoning reforms. Jenny noted that a phrase that she gives to planners as encouragement to continue the hard work: “...You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it...”.

Following the keynote address, twenty-one sessions were offered to attendees to learn more about planning best practices on topics such as housing, transportation, equity, sustainability and resilience, and other advancements in the profession. Two more mobile sessions were offered to highlight work in downtown Portsmouth and the work of the Town of Kittery and the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard.

Closing out the conference was a plenary session on the 400 celebrations held in Portsmouth, Dover, and Rye, NH.

Finally, congratulations to the Maine award winners: Plan of the Year Town of York Comprehensive Plan, Planner Emeritus Beth Della Valle, and Planner Emeritus Jane Lafluer! Conference materials are available at:

Stoweflake Resort in Stowe, VT

The 2024 conference is being planned for October 28-30 at the Stoweflake Resort in Stowe, VT! If you are interested in working with the conference committee, look for recruiting emails coming from the Chapter.

Contributed by:

Erin Zwirko, AICP, LEED AP

Erin Zwirko joined the Town of Yarmouth as Director of Planning & Development in April 2021.  Erin has 17 years of experience.  She was previously the Assistant Director of Planning and Community Development for the City of Arlington, MA.  Before that she served as the Assistant Director for the City of Melrose, MA, and as planner in the Town of Wellesley.  She has prior experience as both an Environmental Planner and Staff Scientist with engineering firms in the private sector.  She earned an MA from Tufts University in Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning and a BA in Human Ecology from College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor.