Services & Qualifications

Sustainability Training
Services & Qualifications
About the Book

Statement of Services and Qualifications

Sarah James operates a consulting service in city and town planning that provides a broad range of services in community development and planning to clients including cities and towns, public agencies, design and engineering firms, and non-profit organizations. She specializes in community-based, participatory planning strategies for development that is sustainable and growth that is appropriate. James offers a systems approach to planning that integrates meeting human and community needs, using resources efficiently and fairly, and protecting the ecosystems of Nature.

Planning services include:

bulletComprehensive & strategic planning
bulletSustainable community planning & education
bulletCommunity participatory planning & visioning
bulletGrowth management strategies
bulletCommunity charrette design and facilitation

Sarah James assembles teams whose skills match the particular needs of each project. This business strategy enables her to offer clients direct principal participation in the project, at the same time, keeping overhead costs - and hence billing rates - at reasonable and competitive prices. She associates with firms that provide related services in zoning reviews and revisions, land use and impact analyses, build-out studies, open space and recreation planning, environmental studies, and innovative traffic and transportation solutions. She also provides planning and development services on a subcontracting basis for consultant teams assembled for larger projects.

Sarah James serves clients in both urban and rural environments. She has worked in states including Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Maine, New York, Connecticut, Michigan, Iowa, Washington, D.C., and California. Her firm is a SOMBWA-certified WBE (woman-owned business) and a Massachusetts Highway Department-certified DBE (disadvantaged business enterprise).

Clients Include

Cities and Towns:

Town of Rochester, MA

Town of Charlestown, NH

Town of Bellingham, MA

Town of Londonderry, NH

Town of Great Barrington, MA

Town of Mashpee, MA

City of Concord, NH

Town of Westport, MA

Town of Westwood, MA *

Town of Uxbridge, MA

City of Gloucester, MA

Town of Hamilton, MA

Town of Hanson, MA

Town of Chatham, MA

Town of Wolfeboro, NH

Town of Peterborough, NH

Town of Lyme, NH

City of Redding, CA

Town of Shelter Island, NY *

City of Somersworth, NH

Town of Derry, NH

Town of Ossipee, NH

Town of Tamworth, NH

Towns of Albany & Madison, NH

Town of Allagash, ME

Town of Fort Fairfield, ME

City of Chelsea, MA


Sullivan County Economic Development Council, NH *

Boston Redevelopment Authority

Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation, Washington, DC

Massachusetts Housing Partnership

Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority *

Massachusetts Division of Capital Planning & Operations *

Boston Housing Authority

Massachusetts Department of Mental Health

Massachusetts Department of Public Welfare *

Federal Emergency Management Agency

New Hampshire Community Development Finance Authority *

Lakes Region Planning Commission, NH

Rockingham County Planning Commission

New Hampshire Department of Transportation

Martha’s Vineyard Commission

Private Firms & Institutions:

New Hampshire Business Sales, Concord, NH

Dartmouth Mary Hitchcock Hospital, Hanover, NH

Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests

Real Estate Enterprises, Inc., Boston, MA

David Dixon & Associates, Boston, MA *

Philip B. Herr & Associates, Newton, MA

Stockard, Engler, & Brigham, Inc.

Applied Economic Research, Inc.

South Mountain Company

Non-Profit Corporations:

National Economic Development & Law Center, Berkeley, CA *

Old West End Housing Corporation, Boston, MA

North End/Waterfront Community Development Corporation, Boston

Newmarket Community Development Corporation, Newmarket, NH

Dorchester Bay Economic Development Corporation, Boston, MA *

Quincy-Geneva Development Corporation, Roxbury, MA *

Madison Park Development Corporation, Roxbury, MA *

Fort Hill Tenants' Association, Roxbury, MA *

Science Center of New Hampshire

Detroit Community Development Funders Collaborative *

Planning Projects Include

bulletInnovative land use and transportation corridor management for a major state highway
bulletBuild-out analysis and growth management strategies for a rural town.
bulletFiscal impact analysis for industrial development in a rural community.
bulletGrowth management plan for a Berkshire town.
bulletParticipatory planning facilitation for a city master plan.
bulletParticipatory planning and design team coordination for a land use plan "charrette".
bulletZoning bylaws re: business development, river front protection, and flexible residential development for a waterfront community.
bulletDowntown redevelopment planning & economic development strategy for a rapidly growing southern New Hampshire town.
bulletComprehensive planning process for an island community.*
bulletZoning analyses re: innovative by-law strategies for non-residential development in 12 rural towns.
bulletExpert witness testimony re: zoning techniques for resource protection.
bulletFloodplain management ordinance administration training & education in a post-flood recovery project.
bulletErosion management plan for an historically significant recreation trail.
bulletDowntown growth & redevelopment strategy for a New Hampshire town.
bulletDevelopment of Ch.774 comprehensive permit review procedures for zoning board of appeals & local housing partnership.
bulletDevelopment of alternatives for flexible zoning by-law; growth management strategies, & public education re: zoning alternatives in a growing rural town.
bulletTown-wide land use analysis to identify needed zoning by-law revisions.
bulletAffordable housing/growth management plan & strategies for a Cape Cod community.
bulletCommunity planning process to generate re-use alternatives for an MBTA-owned property.*
bulletSite analysis for a municipal land parcel, involving soils analysis, perimeter survey, identification of development constraints, site planning alternatives, financial feasibility analysis.

* Subcontractor to prime contractor

Development Projects Include

bulletPreparation of developers' kit for disposition of municipally-owned land.
bulletMarket study of five Boston neighborhoods for special needs housing.
bulletResidential market & feasibility analysis for rehabilitation of school building for a Homeownership Opportunity (HOP) development.
bulletSite assessments for special needs housing development.
bulletMarket analysis for proposed country inn/conference center.
bulletMarket analysis for a restaurant facility.
bulletMarket analysis & marketing strategies for a 270,000 s.f. downtown shopping mall.
bulletPackaging for commercial redevelopment of a downtown mill building as office space.
bulletFeasibility analysis for redevelopment of former power station building.*
bulletMarket & feasibility analysis for residential re-use alternative for a former armory building in preparation for developers' kit.*
bulletPreparation of mortgage increase applications for submission to the Mass. Housing Finance Agency. *
bulletFiscal impact analysis of non-residential development.
bulletDevelopment of a public waterfront park.
bulletReview & evaluations of housing development loan applications. *
bulletTown-wide absorption study of subdivision lots. *
bulletRetail space & office space surveys for income property appraisals.*
bulletTraining of community development corporation board re: housing cooperative structure and affordable housing development & ownership alternatives.
bulletBusiness development and tax classification study for a suburban community.

* Subcontractor to prime contractor.

Organizational Development, Program Evaluations

bulletOrganizational assessments for community development corporations on behalf of the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) and the Detroit Community Development Funders Collaborative*
bulletStrategic plan for a national economic development law center*
bulletSite evaluations for elderly congregate housing national demonstration program*
bulletSite evaluations for national juvenile justice program
bulletStart-up assistance for two Boston community-based development organizations.
bulletDevelopment of case study training materials for community development corporation educational workshops


Co-Author, "Planning for Sustainability Policy Guide", American Planning Association, April, 2000.

Author, "Sustainable Development: What's Happening In New England", Parts I and II, The Yankee Planner, Winter & Spring Issues, 1997.

Author, "Sustainable Development: Looking at Familiar Issues Through a New Lens", New England Planning, November, 1996.

Author, "Safeguarding Your Historic Site", Federal Emergency Management Agency, Boston, MA & Washington, DC. June, 1993.

Co-Author, "Gambling with Community Character", New England Planning, Spring, 1993; Inherit New Hampshire Newsletter, Summer, 1993.

Author, "1993 Guide to Services and Financial Assistance", Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation, Washington, DC, August, 1992.

Co-Author, "Hazard Mitigation Opportunities for the Cliff Walk, Newport, RI", Federal Emergency Management Agency, March, 1992.

Author, "Encouraging Small Business Development While Preserving Rural Character", Massachusetts Land Use Forum, September, 1990.

Author, "The Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation: A Guide to Its Services & Resources", Washington, DC, January, 1989.

Author, "A Handbook for Local Housing Partnerships", the Massachusetts Housing Partnership, June, 1988.

Author, "A Guide to the Massachusetts Housing Partnership", the Massachusetts Housing Partnership, June, 1987.

Co-Author, "Experience in the Section 8 Existing Housing Program: FY75-76", The Urban Institute, Washington, DC, September, 1977.

Co-Author, "Adoption of an Innovation: Local Housing Authority Participation in Section 8", The Urban Institute, Wash., DC, April, 1977.

Major Presentations

SMITH COLLEGE, Northampton, MA, Spring, 2001, Pioneer Valley Planning Commission & Franklin County Community Development Corporation Workshop,
How to Implement Sustainability Principles in Municipal Government, Community Planning, and Organizational Strategic Planning.

TUFTS UNIVERSITY, Medford, MA, Spring, 2001, New England Solar Energy Association Annual Conference,
How Boston Could Encourage Sustainable Development design.

LEXINGTON, MA, Spring, 2001, Lexington Comprehensive Plan,
Integrating Sustainability Principles in Comprehensive Planning.

SPOKANE, WA, Fall, Fall, 2000, Housing Washington 2000,
The Natural Step to Sustainability in Housing.

BURLINGTON, VT, Fall, 2000, Northern new England Planning Association Annual Conference,
Community Charrettes as a Planning Tool.

SOMERVILLE, MA, Fall, 2000, Sustainability Workshop for City Officials,
Sustainable Step New England.

MIT, Cambridge, MA, New Ecology Sustainable Development Conference,
APA Sustainability Policy Guide as a Planning Tool.

NEW YORK, NY, Spring, 2000, American Planning Association National Conference,
"The Natural Step to Sustainability".

BOSTON, MA, Spring, 2000, New England Enviro-Expo,
"Sustainable Development in New England".

VASSAR COLLEGE, Poughkeepsie, NY, Fall, 1999, Urban Planning Seminar,
"Sustainability in City Planning".

DURHAM, NH, Fall, 1999, Northern New England Chapter of the American Planning Association Annual Conference,
"Four Principles for Planning for Sustainability".

SEATTLE, WA, Spring, 1999, American Planning Association Annual Conference,
"The Ins and Outs of Sustainable Planning", presenting the proposed policies for the APA Sustainability Policy Guide.

BOSTON, MA, Spring, 1999, Spring, 2000, Spring, 2001 New England Enviro-Expo,
"Sustainable Strategies – People Are Buying!".

CAPE COD, MA Winter, 1999, Cape Cod Center for Sustainability Annual Meeting,
"Sustainability: Making It Happen".

BOSTON, MA Fall, 1998, BuildBoston,
"Strategies for Sustainability Your Clients Will Buy".

CONCORD, NH, Fall, 1998, "Corridor Land Use Management Strategies:
New Hampshire’s Route 16".

CAMBRIDGE, MA, Fall, 1998; SHUTESBURY, MA, Summer, 1997, Sirius Community Conference:
Sustainability: From Vision to Practice, "Sustainability in New England".

PLYMOUTH, MA, Spring, 1997, Massachusetts Association of Planning Directors Annual Conference,
"Sustainable Development in New England".

CAMBRIDGE, MA, Fall, 1997, Central Square Community Forum,
"Sustainable Community Economic Development".

SHUTESBURY, MA, Summer, 1997, Sustainability Conference, Sirius Community,
"Sustainability in New England".

DENNIS, MA, Spring, 1997, Massachusetts Citizen Planner Training Collaborative,
"Preserving Community Character".

PLYMOUTH, MA, Spring, 1997, Massachusetts Association of Planning Directors Annual Conference,
"Toward Sustainability: Sustainable Development Initiatives in New England".

CAMBRIDGE, MA, Winter, 1996, Lincoln Institute of Land Policy,
"Zoning to Maintain Community Character".

MEREDITH, NH, Spring, 1996, Lakes Region Planning Commission Community Zoning Workshop,
"Home Occupation Regulations".

LINCOLN, NH, Spring, 1996, New Hampshire Planners Association Annual Meeting,
"Charrettes as a Participatory Planning Tool".

PORTLAND, MAINE, Fall, 1995, National Association of Floodplain Managers Annual Conference,
"Housing Relocation & Flood Recovery in Fort Fairfield, Maine".

LINCOLN, NH, Spring, 1995, New Hampshire Planners Association Annual Meeting,
"Living Master Plans".

WEST SPRINGFIELD, MA, Winter, 1995, Federal Emergency Management Agency Staff Training,
"Housing Relocation: Disaster Recovery in Fort Fairfield, Maine".

CAMPTON, NH, Fall, 1994, NH Conference for Planning Boards,
"Regulating Home Occupations Through Performance Standards".

CONCORD, NH, Spring, 1994: New Hampshire Conference for Planning Boards,
"Saving New Hampshire Place".

DANBURY, NH, Winter, 1993, Danbury & Andover Planning Boards et. al.,
"Saving New Hampshire Place".

DURHAM, NH, Fall, 1993, University of New Hampshire,
"Private Property Rights and the Public Good: Seeking the Balance in Land use Planning".

MARLBOROUGH, MA, Fall 1993: Massachusetts Federation of Planning & Zoning Officials,
"Massachusetts Place" (preserving community character).

MARLBOROUGH, MA, Fall 1992: Massachusetts Federation of Planning & Zoning Officials,
"How Your Zoning Bylaws Can Protect Community Character".

SUFFOLK UNIVERSITY, MANCHESTER, NH, and WEST SPRINGFIELD, 1993, "Planning in the Face of Conflict",
APA Workshops.

CONCORD, NH, Fall, 1990, Inherit New Hampshire Annual Town Meeting,
"Preserving the New Hampshire Countryside".

HARRISVILLE, NH, Spring, 1990: Harris Center for Education:
"Protecting Community Character".

Co-Speaker with Philip Herr:

SHUTESBURY, MA, Summer, 1996, Sirius Community,
"Community Participatory Planning: Examples and Techniques".

MASSACHUSETTS INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY, Winter, 1996 & 1995, MIT Professional Development Series,
"The Art of Swamp Yankee Planning".

VARIOUS MASSACHUSETTS LOCATIONS, 1992: Massachusetts Section, American Planning Association,
Comprehensive Planning Workshops. Both assisted in design of the series, preparation of materials, and presentations.

DURHAM, NH, Spring, 1992: University of New Hampshire,
"Townscape Planning and Tradition".

MARLBOROUGH, MA, Fall 1991: Massachusetts Federation of Planning & Zoning Officials,
"Does Your Zoning Need an Overhaul?".

CONCORD, NH, Fall 1990: Inherit New Hampshire,
"Preserving and Developing the Countryside".

SOUTHBOROUGH, MA, Fall 1990: Massachusetts Section, American Planning Association,
"Economic Development: What Role for Planners?", and "Community Participatory Planning Models".


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