Valerie M. Scopaz, a former planning director who grounded Southold Town’s planning policies and practices on environmental sustainability principles, has been named Community Relations Specialist at Stony Brook Southampton, a campus itself devoted to sustainability.
“Valerie’s environmental credentials and expertise in community planning make her the perfect fit for us,” said Stony Brook Southampton Dean and Vice President Mary C. Pearl. “We are excited to have her on board as Community Relations Specialist as our campus continues to grow and build important partnerships on Eastern Long Island.”
In her role Scopaz will be responsible for effectively managing complex community relations between Stony Brook Southampton and surrounding townships. She will work with all levels of local government, community groups, and various public and private agencies, including schools, to develop a standard for effective strategies, joint programs, and communications.
Scopaz said, “I look forward to helping Dean Mary Pearl and the University achieve their goal of offering students and the East End community mutually beneficial opportunities to implement environmentally sustainable design, planning and business practices.”
Scopaz has been in the planning field for more than 25 years. Her career in the public sector began in Washington, D.C., with internships with the U.S. Department of the Interior and The Conservation Foundation, and continued with the Long Island Regional Planning Board and the Town of Smithtown before ending in the Town of Southold.
While in Southold, Scopaz founded the Planning Department and completed many planning initiatives, including the Local Waterfront Revitalization Program, the creation of a Conservation Subdivision process (in coordination with the Peconic Land Trust), and writing the Town’s Farm and Farmland Protection Strategy. Other credits include technical assistance on the Special Groundwater Protection Area Designation for Southold and advising on the creation of the Peconic Estuary Management Program. She was the founding Chair of the East End Transportation Council and the Sustainable East End Development Strategy process.
Since leaving government, Scopaz has split her time between creative and professional writing and consulting through her firm, VMS Planning Services, and with the environmental planning firm of Nelson, Pope & Voorhis LLC. She has taught intergovernmental relations in the graduate public administration program at Stony Brook. Scopaz continues to be involved in the land preservation community as a member of the Peconic Land Trust’s Public Policy Committee. She is a trustee of the Southold Free Library and an advocate for the Center for Hearing and Communication and New York University Hospital’s Cochlear Implant Center.