Monroe receives award for best practices in economic development

Ray Giovanni, president of the Monroe Chamber of Commerce and chairman of the Monroe Economic Development Commission, left, poses for a photo with, from left, First Selectman Ken Kellogg and Community and Economic Development Director William Holsworth.

MONROE, CT — Monroe has been recognized by the Connecticut Economic Development Association (CEDAS) as a 2023 CEDAS Best Practices Silver Certified Community. First Selectman Ken Kellogg credited his economic and land use team for achieving a vision of a more business-friendly Monroe.

“This is independent validation that our hard work over the last several years has paid off,” he said. “I am incredibly grateful for the efforts of our staff, elected and appointed officials who have contributed greatly towards this achievement.”

The CEDAS Best Practices Certification Program was developed in 2019 to foster best practices in municipal economic development and land use and economic development practices and to recognize those communities within the state that have achieved this high standard.

This was the first year that the town of Monroe has sought certification, which involved a lengthy application and a stringent review process by a panel of professional reviewers, according to Kellogg.

In their letter to the first selectman, the CEDAS Board of Directors applauded the Monroe staff’s success in implementing proven best practices, and specifically recognized the following strengths as models for good governance and organizational effectiveness:

  • Monroe’s coordination between departments and commissions that promote interdepartmental communication and has established a more transparent and predictable approval process.
  • Innovation in communication, such as the use of translation services to assist non-English speaking customers who need assistance with their applications and in understanding the permitting process.
  • Significant changes in implementing Minor Site Plan regulations to remove developmental burdens that had previously accompanied the Special Exception Permit process. This now allows for small, simple plan changes to be handled administratively by staff.

Community & Economic Development Director Bill Holsworth said, “we have made improvements to our land use departments and organizational structure to foster better customer service. We have improved and streamlined procedures and implemented online permitting. Our Planning & Zoning Commission has made significant changes to our zoning regulations to foster responsible development while eliminating unnecessary and costly hurdles.”

Ray Giovanni, president of the Monroe Chamber of Commerce and chairman of Monroe’s Economic Development Commission, said the Silver Certification award reflects the greatly improved development environment in Monroe.

“Years ago, commercial realtors and developers had bad experiences and were hesitant at best to do projects in Monroe,” Giovanni said. “Today, we continue to hear from them over and over on how the experience is greatly improved. The volume of both new business construction and expansion of current businesses is further confirmation.”

CEDAS is a nonprofit association of economic development professionals. Managed by a volunteer board, CEDAS works closely with the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD), AdvanceCT and other partners to foster economic growth in the state.

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