We know that in this kind of work, experience counts – and we have lead initiatives for nearly two decades that create sustainable living in diverse communities, building the capacity of organizations that are prepared to strategize, prioritize, act and succeed together. Our staff includes professionals with experience in community engagement, mediation, community and housing development, urban design, economic development and Main Street Revitalization, historic preservation, organizational design, management, and fundraising. Together, we offer personally committed, knowledgeable, and seasoned planners who understand the unique opportunities and economic challenges facing communities today. Across the board, our team has success creating the plans and regulations that build strong and vibrant neighborhoods which can grow the local tax base.

Margaret Irwin, Principal

In 1997 Margaret Irwin and John Holehan (who retired in 2014) founded River Street Planning & Development as a successor company to East West Planning. Margaret is a confident and experienced public speaker, trainer, mediator, and facilitator with a practice in public engagement and outreach, planning and economic development. In recent years she has been a tireless advocate for communities impacted be extreme weather and climate change. Her work facilitates recovery, develops model initiatives for adaptation and resiliency, and crafts consensus plans for sustainability enabling families to rebuild their lives. Margaret is a talented writer who developed guidebooks on the Local Waterfront Revitalization Program and on reuse of idled and historic properties for the New York State Department of State. She has designed and led the work of complex multi-disciplinary teams that have promoted forward looking initiatives in communities of all sizes and stood by their sides to raise the funding to achieve their visions. Margaret has a Bachelor’s Degree in Geography from Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland and in Anthropology and Sociology from Hamilton College in Clinton, New York.
Margaret’s colleagues at River Street Planning include:

Monica Ryan, AICP, Principal Planner

Monica is an AICP certified professional planner with broad experience in land use planning, economic development and public policy analysis. She manages some of River Street’s most complex initiatives and has been at the core of River Street’s land management and code development practice for over a decade. She is an expert in analyzing land use and development patterns, local codes and policy, and real property tax base impacts and using that knowledge to help communities create practical, manageable, legally defensible codes and other land use decisions that provide the right balance and tools to support quality development and sustainability. Within our economic development practice Monica has strong skills in providing analysis of community wealth, labor and industry trends for economic development and retail market studies. Monica has been the lead planner for ADVANTAGE Adirondacks, and responsible for development of its innovative Adirondack Trail Towns Initiative and downtown revitalization strategies. Monica received a Master’s Degree in Regional Planning from the University of Albany and a Bachelor’s degree in History from Sienna College.

Amy Ferguson, GIS Director

Amy has a background in education, planning, and writing and editing technical documents. She is proficient in the development of Geographic Information Systems for land use analysis and market assessment. She has prepared a range of GIS products using ESRI ArcView software creating zoning, land use and target area maps, map series for waterfront strategies and comprehensive plans and data for residential and commercial market analysis. Amy also coordinates outreach efforts and provides logistical support or River Street’s many public events. Amy has a Masters of Curriculum Development and Instructional Technology from the University of Albany and a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education and Psychology from the State University of New York at Potsdam.

Leila Jabour, AICP, Principal Planner

Leila is an AICP Certified planner with eighteen years of experience in comprehensive planning, housing market analysis, recreation planning, grant writing, and administration. She has extensive experience developing comprehensive plans, regional housing analysis, implementation strategies, funding programs, and development incentives. Leila is an expert in housing market assessment for market rate, affordable, senior and special needs, and homeless housing. She received a Masters of Regional Planning from the University at Albany and a Bachelor’s Degree from Ithaca College.

Christina Snyder, Planner and Graphic Designer

Chris is a planner, landscape designer, and graphic designer who has supported River Street’s work on multiple projects. She is a skilled writer, editor, and project manager with strong analytical and communication skills.  Her work for River Street can be seen in final reports for ADVANTAGE AdirondacksThe Adirondack Gateway Council Pathways to Progress Plan, the Town of Union Resiliency Plan, and storm recovery plans for the Town of Prattsville and Village of Sidney.  Chris received a dual Master’s Degree in Urban & Regional Planning and Landscape Architecture from the University of Colorado at Denver. 

River Street is fortunate to work with many partners in the planning, landscape architecture, economic development, and engineering communities.


River Street Planning & Development
4 Ridge Road
Troy, New York 12180

Phone: 518.273.8980


About River Street

River Street Planning & Development, LLC is a NYS Certified Woman Business Enterprise owned by Margaret Irwin, formed in 1997 with offices in Troy, New York. The company employs five staff members and provides services to a diverse group of organizations including Federal, state, county, and municipal governments of all sizes, public agencies, private businesses, nonprofit organizations, universities, investors and developers in the northeastern United States.  Services offered include public meeting planning and facilitation, focus groups, mediation, economic development, downtown and Main Street revitalization, design and administration of small business support programs, land use planning, zoning, historic preservation, and housing and commercial market analysis. River Street specializes in facilitating community engagement and identifying a consensus vision that can be shared and supported by diverse stakeholders. We offer an effective, outcome-oriented approach that builds consensus and community capacity, strengthens local leadership and shapes community pride and vision –  vital ingredients for successful community action.

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