Ridgefield hires new assistant town planner

Assistant town planner Karen Martin in the town hall annex.

Assistant town planner Karen Martin in the town hall annex.

Nicole Zappone / For Hearst Connecticut Media

For the past six weeks, the town of Ridgefield has been getting to know its most recent appointee: Assistant Town Planner Karen Martin.

Martin took over on Nov. 25 for Daniel Robinson, who had announced in September that he was leaving to take a job in Hartford.

Prior to arriving in Ridgefield, Martin was the economic development and long-term planner for the town of Brookline, Mass.

Her duties included managing long-term initiatives that included drafting of short-term rental regulations for vote at town meetings and related public outreach campaigns. She also reviewed all commercial sign and façade applications for conformance with zoning by-laws and design guidelines.

With the new position in Ridgefield, Martin says that the positions are quite similar, but being in Connecticut, the state laws and regulations are what separates the differences from her previous positions in other states.

When asked about her experience so far, Martin was happy to report that things are going well.

“I’ve been trying to get used to the lay of the land in the office,” said Martin.

Another change for her is learning who everyone is, who the team players are, and learning specific Ridgefield zoning regulations.

Martin will be working in particular with land use applications, along with providing guidance for commercial and residential properties.

In addition, she will be working with the consultant on Ridgefield’s Plan of Conservation and Development (POCD), which is a document intended to establish a common vision for the future of Ridgefield and then determine policies and action steps that will help attain that vision.

Back home

A South Salem, N.Y,, resident, she is happy to be back in a familiar area after growing up in New Canaan.

“I grew up in New Canaan and often came to Ridgefield to visit, so I know the area quite well,” said Martin.

Martin comes to Ridgefield with a bachelor’s degree in sociology and landscape studies from Smith College.

She also has a master’s in land use and environmental planning from the University of Pennsylvania.

In addition to her experience in Brookline, she previously worked as an assistant planner in Ashland, Mass.; a policy analyst for the NYC Taxi and Limousine Commission; and a planning and development intern for the city of New Rochelle.

Martin was also a member of the NYC Civic Corps, which assists the New York City Department for the Aging increase volunteerism through the TimeBanks NYC program.

She also holds a certification for the American Institute of Certified Planners from the American Planning Association.