Best Practices in Land Use & Economic Development Certification Launched

‘Best Practices in Land Use and Economic Development’ by municipalities in Connecticut will soon be able to earn recognition through a new industry certification program aimed at highlighting outstanding practices.

The Connecticut Economic Development Association (CEDAS) is launching the program, in collaboration with Connecticut Economic Development Association, Connecticut Economic Resource Center, the Connecticut Chapter of the American Planning Association, and the University of Connecticut-Department of Extension, and sponsors Eversource, UI, CNG, SCG, Pullman & Comley, and STV/DPM.   


The new accreditation is a strategy for sharing information on planning policies and aims to serve as a catalyst for economic development in Connecticut.

The Best Practices program is designed to provide a tool for planners, economic developers, and community leaders to review their existing strategies for economic development and drive them to pursue creative, community specific practices for encouraging investment and smart planning.

“This is a great opportunity for staff, commissioners, and elected officials in every community to improve their effectiveness in economic development by reviewing their existing strategies and understanding what they could improve.” said Garrett Sheehan, President of CEDAS and President of the Greater New Haven Chamber of Commerce.  “We’re interested in giving communities ideas and tools for making improvements that work best for them.”

Communities who document use of established best practices will be recognized and will receive an award at the CEDAS annual meeting in October, 2019.  Applications will be evaluated by a committee of each of CEDAS’ collaborating partners.


The program was designed over the past two years with significant input from economic development professionals and planners.  According to Kelly Buck, CEDAS Board Member and Co-Chair of the Best Practices Committee “This program is the result of a unique collaboration including a diverse range of partners. We’ve reached out to share the idea with groups like the Connecticut Developers Forum, the Homebuilders and Remodelers Association of Connecticut, and the Connecticut Chapter of the American Planning Association and were very interested in learning from communities presently leading the way.”

Organizations working in the field are reacting positively to the new initiative; among them, the Connecticut Main Street Center, which works closely with municipalities across Connecticut as well as state agencies, as a “catalyst that ignites Connecticut’s Main Streets as the cornerstone of thriving communities.”


“As Connecticut Main Street Center staff travel throughout the state, we engage with many municipal staff and volunteer commissioners and citizens who are working hard to revitalize their downtowns and improve their communities,” said Associate Director Kimberley Parsons-Whitaker. “The Best Practices certification program will both recognize communities for the excellent work they’re doing, while also encouraging communities with concrete, actionable activities to ensure they are adopting effective planning and economic development strategies.”

To demonstrate continuous improvement, applicants may re-submit for recertification every three years and share their successful strategies as models of ‘Best Practices’ for other Connecticut communities. The program will be revised each year to reflect input from communities.

CEDAS, the Connecticut Economic Development Association, works closely with the Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) and the Connecticut Economic Resource Center (CERC) to foster economic growth in the state through its support of legislation, connect planners, policymakers, and community leaders with information on development practices and strategies, and to co-sponsor events to attract businesses and investment to Connecticut.

Interested communities can download the application and read more about the program at .  Applications are due on September 15, 2019.  Information and questions about the program may be addressed to: