Saturday, May 08, 2021

Person of the Week

Alan Kravitz: A Man with a Plan

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For Alan Kravitz, one of the best ways to be involved in the community is helping guide its development. Photo courtesy of Alan Kravits

For Alan Kravitz, one of the best ways to be involved in the community is helping guide its development. (Photo courtesy of Alan Kravits )

The Planning & Zoning Commission (PZC) is the entity in Clinton charged with monitoring developments and land use in any town. If you’ve paid attention to any decision rendered by the Clinton commission over the last decade, then you’ve probably heard an opinion given by longtime member Alan Kravitz.

Alan has been a member of the Clinton PZC for about 13 years now. Before that, Alan spent many years serving on a planning board in the town of Nyack, New York.

“I was the chair of that board for several years, too,” Alan points out.

During his time in New York Alan says he worked with his board to save historic buildings and a historic theater from demolition.

“I took on a full time advocational role,” Alan says.

When Alan and his family came to Clinton, he took that same zeal for planning and applied it to the Clinton PZC which he joined not long after moving to town. For Alan, one thing that attracted him to town was the small-town character and historic housing in town.

“I’ve long been concerned with maintaining and enhancing housing,” Alan says.

In addition to his work on the full PZC, Alan also uses his time to work on the commission’s regulation subcommittee. That committee works to examine different zoning regulations in town and suggest possible changes that should be made. The regulations are then brought to the full PZC for approval.

Though Alan is an elected Democrat on the PZC, one thing he prides himself on is the ability to work with people of all party affiliations.

“I’ve been able to work across party lines. I never wanted to be chair. I had my fill of that. I like to work in the background and do research,” says Alan.

Alan’s commitment to having a bipartisan relationship with planning projects can be traced back to his days in Nyack. When he lived there, Alan says he would routinely invite a group of people of different political backgrounds over for a weekly lunch to talk. The group members all did have one thing in common: They all wanted to see some kind of development in town and had ideas for projects.

Alan says the group was able to work outside of politics to accomplish small projects like installing a new playground on vacant property.

That ability to get things done with like-minded people is something Alan says he enjoys about working on planning boards.

“It’s politics that can be more participatory than the normal formal process,” says Alan.

One of Alan’s proudest accomplishments during his time in Clinton is the work he did to help pass the town’s Plan of conservation and Development. The plan works as a guiding document that the PZC can reference to help guide what kinds of development should be pursued and where those potential developments can go.

What was particularly pleasing for Alan is that the plan came about through collaboration among himself, another Democrat, and two Republicans.

“That was for me the most productive period of planning since I’ve been on the commission,” Alan says.

Alan does acknowledge that being on the PZC can be hard, especially since there can sometimes be a lack of involvement from the public, which can leave a small group of people in charge of handling development. Alan also says that he thinks a lack of planning for the future and supervision can sometimes hurt the commission when it comes to reviewing proposed plans.

However, not every planned development is plagued by those inefficiencies.

“I’m also very pleased with what’s going on at the Old Morgan School,” Alan says regarding the ongoing developments at Indian River Landing.

Alan grew up in Boston and says he first felt an affinity for planning when he was in college at Dartmouth. There Alan majored in economics and minored in urban studies, but it was a different discipline that captured his imagination.

“I became increasing interested in planning,” Alan says, noting that using the school’s early computers and their capabilities for research piqued his interest.

Alan studied planning in grad school and then worked in various planning capacities in the New York city area for a while after graduating.

“I was very involved in planning projects in the Lower East Side in New York,” Alan says.

Alan has lived in Clinton for about 16 years now. Alan recalls that he and his wife had a small bungalow in Madison, but one day they were feeling antsy and decided to get out of the house to check out some open houses in the area since they were preparing to retire.

“We loved the shoreline; we’ve always lived around the water. It’s just comforting for me,” says Alan.

The couple found a home in the Harbor View neighborhood that they enjoyed for its marsh views, friendly environment, and beautiful sunsets.

In his spare time Alan says he likes to spend time with his “lovely wife Sara,” and family.

“We travel a lot, except for the last year. We visit with friends a lot, except for the last year, we like to go out to eat a lot, except for the last year,” Alan says, frustrated by the COVID-19 pandemic, like everyone else.

“I’ve come to miss the interaction but I am glad people in town respect the need to keep each other and each other’s families safe,” Alan says.


Eric O’Connell covers news for Clinton for Zip06. Email Eric at e.oconnell@shorepublishing.com.

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