Planning for Sustainable Communities: Master Plan Guidance for New Jersey Officials

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Since the amendment to the MLUL in 2008 to include the Green Building and Environmental Sustainability Plan element (The Sustainability Plan) in the list of permitted Master Plan elements, towns across New Jersey have been taking sustainability planning more seriously. Especially in the wake of recent extreme weather, the need for short-term resiliency actions and long-term sustainability goals is more pressing than ever.

Therefore, it is with great pleasure that the Sustainability Committee of the NJ Chapter of the American Planning Association announces the release of a sustainability planning guide for planners and municipal officials. The new guide, “Planning for Sustainable Communities: Master Plan Guidance for New Jersey Officials”, deconstructs the traditional master plan and offers new approaches to each of the plan elements with sound local and global examples that any NJ municipality can tailor to their needs.

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Planning for Sustainable Communities: Master Plan Guidance for New Jersey Officials

  1. 1. Planning for Sustainable Communities Master Plan Guidance for New Jersey Officials American Planning Association NEW JERSEY CHAPTER
  2. 2. Table of Contents 3 4 Acknowledgements Introduction 5 10 20 How to Use this Document Land Use Housing 25 32 Circulation Farmland 38 44 50 Open Space & Recreation Conservation Economic Development 56 Community Facilities 60 65 Utilities & Infrastructure Recycling 70 End Notes 71 Photo Credits American Planning Association 2 NEW JERSEY CHAPTER
  3. 3. Acknowledgements I would like to extend great appreciation to the following individuals for lending their time and talents to this project. Nick Angarone, AICP/PP, NJ DEP Mirah Becker, AICP/PP, Middlesex County Planning Department Donna Drewes, AICP, Sustainability Institute at The College of NJ, Co-director Jennifer Gonzalez, LEED GA, Louis Berger Group Maryjude Haddock-Weiler, AICP/PP, New Jersey Highlands Council Teri Jover, AICP/PP, New Jersey Future Charles Latini, AICP/PP, APA-NJ Chapter President Joan McGee, Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association Elizabeth McManus, AICP/PP, LEED AP, Clark Caton Hintz Jeff Perlman, AICP/PP, NJ Transportation Planning Authority & APA-NJ Sustainability Committee Co-Chair William Purdie, AICP/PP, NJ DEP Marty Rosen, AICP, NJ DEP Barbara A. Walsh, AICP/PP And to anyone else who reviewed the document, contributed photos, and kept the process moving along... Thank You! Angela S. Clerico, AICP/PP, LEED AP Project Director APA-NJ Sustainability Committee Co-Chair American Planning Association 3 NEW JERSEY CHAPTER
  4. 4. Introduction Given the fast-paced, technology-driven world in which we live, we are becoming increasingly disconnected from our natural world. As a recent NY Times article stated, we have become victim to what Richard Louv in his 2005 book, “Last Child in the Woods”, coined as a “Nature deficit disorder.”1 INTRODUCTION Every day we abide by the laws of our communities, our homeowners associations, our schools and workplaces. We must even abide by the law of gravity. We simply accept it as keeping our feet on the ground. Still, there is disregard for the laws of nature that constantly have their hold on us as well. Trees provide oxygen - which provides life. Energy surrounds us and helps us move about. Water flows over rocky stream beds and fills lakes to provide sustenance. Nutrients found naturally occurring in soils and plants provide nourishment for our food and our bodies. Over time our society has developed disregard for these occurrences and one thing is clear, we have become disconnected. We have witnessed firsthand the implications of our disregard: polluted air and water; degraded soils due to pesticide and fertilizer use; increased taxes and spending to provide new infrastructure without first considering existing facilities; farming is becoming less and less a part of our community character and many communities lack access to healthy food; and increased impervious cover contribute to problems with groundwater infiltration, stormwater runoff, and the loss of healthy, productive land. In an attempt to re-connect to the natural world and turn this process around, we now focus on “sustainability” and greater awareness of our actions and their downstream implications. In August 2008, the Municipal Land Use Law (MLUL) was amended to include the Green Building and Environmental Sustainability plan element (The Sustainability Plan) in the list of permitted Master Plan elements. The MLUL describes this new element as the following: “A green buildings and environmental sustainability plan element, which shall provide for, encourage, and promote the efficient use of natural resources and the installation and usage of renewable energy systems; consider the impact of buildings on the local, regional and global environment; allow ecosystems to function naturally; conserve and reuse water; treat storm water on-site; and optimize climatic conditions through site orientation and design.”2 This element, like all Master Plan Elements, is intended to guide land-use decisions and provide the basis for ordinances addressing sustainability and land use issues. It will also help municipalities infuse sustainability concepts into their existing master plan elements. For municipalities who wish to develop a stand–alone sustainability plan, guidance can be found at http:// www.sustainablejersey.com . This guidance document also offers awareness around changing our actions to avoid reactionary planning to both the natural and built environment. Planning for future growth while ensuring current residents get the services they need is critical for the health of any community. New Jersey’s draft State Strategic Plan (SSP) outlines three main goals to ensure the viability of a triple bottom line approach to planning in the State. Triple Bottom Line (TBL) can be defined as an expanded spectrum of values and criteria for measuring organizational (and societal) success beyond economic profits. TBL is measured by economic, ecological and societal assets, and is also known as “people, planet, and profit”. To summarize the vision stated in the SSP; New Jersey is aligning itself to be a national leader by coordinating private and public investment to provide strong ECONOMIC opportunities, preserve the State’s NATURAL resources, and create healthier COMMUNITIES to work, reside and recreate. Deconstructing the traditional master plan, this guidance document offers new approaches to each of the traditional plan elements. Following the SSP principles, this document offers sound local and global examples that any NJ municipality can tailor to their needs. American Planning Association 4 NEW JERSEY CHAPTER
  5. 5. How to Use This Guidance Document A municipality may choose to update one plan element at a time or complete a comprehensive review and update the entire master plan. If updating only one plan element, be sure to cross-check it with existing plan elements to remove any conflicting language or barriers to sustainable approaches. Where appropriate, the guidance document directs the reader to the Sustainable Jersey program, for more information on Sustainability Planning. In some cases, points toward Sustainable Jersey certification may be obtained for completing certain portions of the master plan or inserting sustainability language. To begin, the document provides a brief ‘Definition of Sustainability’ and how a municipality may determine what sustainability looks like in their community. One way to accomplish this is by ‘Creating a Shared Vision,’ which is discussed just following the definition section. In each individual section, there are implementation strategies which include language for incentives to encourage businesses and residents to implement sustainable practices. When all of these components are considered, the municipality is guided to develop monitoring actions that will ensure sustainable practices remain as such. The document is then divided into sections corresponding to each municipal master plan element that a municipality may choose to adopt (M.L.U.L. c.40:55D-28). Each section of the document provides the following: · Why we should care about the topic as a sustainability issue · The key concepts for updating the plan element with sustainability language · Sample implementation strategies to consider in each plan element · Additional resources where a community may go to find out more information on the topic Through continuous education, the concept of and work toward, a more sustainable future will become an inherent objective in the community. A municipality creating a sustainability program should provide encouragement, support, and education about short- and long-term actions to reduce the individual’s and the community’s environmental footprint. Ideally, the sustainability planning process will take both a top-down and a bottom-up approach. It is necessary for local government officials to enact policies that encourage all areas of local government to commit to bettering their community. In turn, the grassroots efforts are supported by the decision-makers and new ideas for creating a sustainable community are discussed and agreed upon. American Planning Association 5 NEW JERSEY CHAPTER USING THIS DOCUMENT The purpose of this guidance document is to provide municipal officials, their planning consultants, and residents of the community with informative, clear, and user-friendly language with which to update the comprehensive municipal master plan to support sustainability goals. The NJ Chapter of the American Planning Association (APA-NJ), along with supporting academic, not-for-profit and professional consulting outfits, provides real-life examples that help the professional planner and the lay-person determine the best approach to crafting sustainability language appropriate to their community.
  6. 6. Step 1: Defining Sustainability in Your Community A municipality should first define the term “sustainability” as is applies in your town and explain: 1) The importance of applying sustainability to land-use decisions, community development and redevelopment decisions, and natural resource protection; 2) The importance of the Master Plan in defining and achieving a desired future for the community; 3) The general purpose and focus of the Plan, and 4) The need for changes in ordinances and practices that the municipality will need adopt to become more sustainable. One example of a definition for Sustainability comes from the American Planning Association: “Sustainability is the capability to equitably meet the vital human needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs by preserving and protecting the area’s ecosystems and natural resources.” 3 This definition mirrors the widely accepted definition of Sustainable Development coined by the Brundtland Commission, “Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”4 The STAR Community Index, a national framework for assessing and rating sustainable communities, finds, “the path to sustainability is different for every community – but the common elements are a healthy environment, a strong economy and the well-being of the people living in the community.” This definition abides by the Triple Bottom Line concept and corresponds with goals of the New Jersey Draft State Strategic Plan.5 American Planning Association 6 NEW JERSEY CHAPTER
  7. 7. Step 2: Creating a Shared Vision A Sustainability Plan should include a vision that incorporates sustainability concepts and delineates their importance to achieving community development and redevelopment priorities and practices, land-use decision-making and natural resource protection, in order to help achieve a thriving future in every aspect of a community. A vision is a broad statement of the desired outcome for a community. It should be specific enough to describe what life might be like if the vision were implemented and to guide goalsetting activities, but broad enough to encompass many goals and implementation strategies. It often encompasses organizing themes like sustainable development, healthy communities, green building design and quality of life. At the outset of this process, a common definition of sustainability must be determined by the community. It will mean different things to different communities. Some will already have a good start on the process and will be looking to enhance practices already in place. Others will be discussing how to start the process so that the community as a whole is on board and moving forward, together. This guidance document seeks to provide varied communities (Urban, Suburban, or Rural) with direction toward reaching consensus on a collective vision, developing a shared understanding of the vocabulary of sustainability, and encouraging all members of the community to develop a personal rationale for sustainability. When all factions of the community feel that they are contributing to the shift toward a more sustainable future there will likely be more support for new ideas and innovations, increasing support for meeting the needs of their community without compromising the needs of future generations. American Planning Association 7 NEW JERSEY CHAPTER
  8. 8. American Planning Association 8 NEW JERSEY CHAPTER
  9. 9. Step 3: Benchmarking While all paths to sustainability are unique, a community may wish to follow a benchmarking or rating system used by other communities, and possibly tailor that system to their own community. Rating systems exist from various nonprofit organizations, professional affiliations, and government agencies. New Jersey’s Sustainable Jersey program provides links to existing municipal sustainability plan and benchmarking resources. Below is a sample of these resources. The Green Globes Rating System A building and environmental design and management tool. It delivers an online assessment protocol, rating system, and guidance for green building design, operation and management. It is interactive and provides market recognition of a building’s environmental attributes through thirdparty verification. Assessment tools are available for New Buildings / Significant Renovations; Management and Operation of Existing Buildings; Building Emergency Management; Building Intelligence; and Fit-Up for Commercial Interiors. LEED-ND or LEED for Neighborhood Development A rating system for whole neighborhoods, portions of neighborhoods or multiple neighborhoods that integrates the principles of smart growth, urbanism and green building into the first national system for neighborhood design. The LEED-ND rating system supports the theories that “thoughtful neighborhood planning can limit the need for automobiles and their greenhouse gas emissions. Mixed-use development and pedestrian-friendly streets encourage walking, bicycling and public transportation. Green buildings and infrastructure also lessen negative consequences for water resources, air quality and natural resource consumption. The character of a neighborhood, including its streets, homes, workplaces, shops and public spaces, affects quality of life. Green developments respect historic resources and the existing community fabric. They preserve open space and encourage access to parks. Combine the substantial environmental and social benefits, and the case for green neighborhoods makes itself.”6 Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Methods (BREEAM) Sets the standard for best practice in sustainable building design, construction and operation and has become one of the most comprehensive and widely recognized measures of a building’s environmental performance. It encourages designers, clients and others to think about low carbon and low impact design, minimizing the energy demands created by a building before considering energy efficiency and low carbon technologies. BREEAM is used to assess buildings in many countries around the world and is housed under the The STAR Community Rating System (Sustainability Tools for Assessing & Rating Communities) The nation’s first voluntary, self-reporting framework for evaluating, quantifying, and improving the livability and sustainability of U.S. communities. STAR uniquely combines: A framework for sustainability encompassing the social, economic and environmental dimensions of community; A rating system that drives continuous improvement and fosters competition; and An online system that gathers, organizes, analyzes, and presents information required to meet sustainability goals. http://www.starcommunities.org/rating-system American Planning Association 9 NEW JERSEY CHAPTER
  10. 10. 2001 Land Use American Planning Association 10 NEW JERSEY CHAPTER
  11. 11. Why a Sustainable Land Use Plan Matters Land is the most fundamental resource that municipalities manage. As noted in the Sustainable Jersey Program, “Where and how development takes place is one of the single largest determinants of long-term quality of life and sustainability in New Jersey and globally. Development decisions determine choices of how and where people live and move about, and have a major impact on the environmental, economic, and social conditions in the state.”8 A number of recent analyses examining land use, increases in vehicle miles traveled (VMT) and population growth, have demonstrated that national development patterns have primarily been sprawling. The increases in developed acres of open lands (farmland, forests and wetlands) and VMT have both outpaced population growth, and sprawl has a number of unwanted and costly consequences: Increased road congestion and commuting times, Limited mobility for those without cars, Greater expenditures on fuel and automobile maintenance, – Sustainable Cities Institute Key Concepts Given the significant environmental, economic and social consequences of land use development decisions, any community striving to become more sustainable must evaluate and understand the implications of its growth, redevelopment, and land management policies. Concepts that are essential for a sustainable land use plan include: Create or Enhance a Vibrant Mix of Land Uses, Strengthen and direct development towards existing neighborhoods, communities and infrastructure, Create Walkable Neighborhoods, Protect and Restore the Environs, Integrate Land Use and Transportation, Require and/or Encourage Green Design, Urban disinvestment, Foster Regional Cooperation, Lost farmland and wildlife habitat, Impaired ecosystems, Increased water and air pollution, including greenhouse gases (78 percent of which is attributed to private automobiles), and Detrimental health impacts due to more sedentary lifestyles from lack of active recreational opportunities. Respect Community Character, Design and Cultural and Historic Features, Make Development Decisions Predictable, Fair, and Cost-Effective, and Site Municipal Facilities Consistent with Sustainable Land Use Principles. American Planning Association 11 NEW JERSEY CHAPTER LAND USE Greater capital and operating costs for infrastructure such as roads, wastewater treatment, and transmission lines, Land use policy necessarily touches on every aspect of local government concern. Sustainable land use planning involves decisions on crosscutting and multilayered issues that affect air quality, water quality, access to transportation options, economic vitality, and quality of life. It is critical to promote the creation and development of communities containing an array of types and uses of buildings and spaces to meet the diverse needs of residents’ daily lives.
  12. 12. Smart Growth – A Resilient Community Starts with Sustainable Land Use New Jersey is predicted to reach full build-out faster than any other state. If our vision is to sustain the state’s growth and prosperity, local officials must make land use decisions that preserve future opportunities a high priority. New development should embody efficiency and conservation to the maximum extent possible. Growth must be based on the principles of redevelopment, infill development and live-work or complete communities development. The US Green Building Council’s (USGBC) LEEDND program encourages many smart growth principles9: • Place residences and jobs proximate to each other to limit automobile trips and associated greenhouse gas emissions; • Incorporate mixed-use development and walkable streets to encourage walking, bicycling, and public transportation for daily errands and commuting; • Consider the character of a neighborhood, including its streets, homes, workplaces, shops, and public spaces that significantly affect quality of life; • Include varying types and price ranges of homes to enable a wide variety of residents to be part of the community; • Respect historical resources and the existing community fabric; • Preserve open space and encourage access to parks; and • Consider that green buildings, community gardens, and streets and public spaces that encourage physical activity are beneficial for public health. The New Robbinsville Town Center, Mercer County, NJ American Planning Association 12 NEW JERSEY CHAPTER
  13. 13. Implementation Strategies In order to avoid sprawl and provide quality in housing options and community character, municipalities of all kinds (Rural, Suburban, or Urban) should strive to incorporate the following strategies into their Sustainable Land Use Plans. village green or town center; and Create or Enhance a Vibrant Mix of Land Uses (see Economic Development Plan) ○ Reconsider and redesign residential neighborhood circulation patterns taking into account walking and bicycling in addition to considering the reduction of street widths, traffic calming measures, and retrofitting cul-de-sacs to improve connectivity and local traffic flows. Residential, retail, office, active and passive recreation, farms or community gardens, etc. Strengthen and direct development towards existing neighborhoods, communities and infrastructure Provide housing options for all members of the community Take advantage of existing community assets (e.g., transit, parks, schools); Retrofit existing design and planning in the following ways: Give priority to infill and redevelopment for both private and public purposes; and ○ Establish a Sense of Place – Encourage infill, redevelopment, adaptive re-use, vertical building additions and reduction of surface parking lots; Evaluate infrastructure needs and resource carrying capacities, in particular wastewater and water supply, to use or repurpose existing infrastructure so as not to build new infrastructure when or where it is not needed. ○ Improve Connectivity through access management, the reintroduction of grids and removal of cul-de-sacs, the introduction of new service roads as alternatives to high-speed roadways, and the introduction of pedestrian and bicycle-friendly connections; ○ Renew emphasis on main streets as an alternative to strip and more expansive shopping malls; ○ Re-introduce the village green to replace seas of parking, strip and shopping malls and reinforce the notion of the town center; ○ Create riparian corridors and greenways while simultaneously introducing passive recreational trails and bikeways; ○ Introduce smaller lot sizes to use less developed space, including townhouses and other multi-family housing developments within walking distance of the Create Walkable Neighborhoods Encourage compact development to create closeknit neighborhoods, designed for personal interaction and encourages walking and bike riding; Provide a variety of open spaces close to work, schools and home to facilitate social networking, civic engagement, physical activity, and time spent outdoors; Redesign (or retrofit) sprawling areas to capture concepts of land use mix and walkability; Plan in increments of “complete” neighborhoods; Promote community interaction by integrating schools into the neighborhood and encourage walking and bicycling to school; and Avoid construction of gated residential areas. Protect and Restore the Environs (see Conservation Plan) American Planning Association 13 NEW JERSEY CHAPTER LAND USE ○ Encourage Mixed-use – Encourage a balance of jobs, housing, shopping, schools, recreation, public spaces, and institutions in compact forms at an appropriate scale;
  14. 14. Preserve open space, farmland, scenic views, trees, natural resource lands, and critical environmental areas; Integrate land use and water quality planning to consider watershed systems in land use planning; Conserve and enhance wildlife habitat, imperiled species and ecological communities; Manage the location and design of land uses and structures that involve the use, storage, treatment or disposal of toxic and hazardous materials to prevent contamination of ground and surface water. Integrate Land Use and Transportation (see Circulation Plan) Provide mutually supportive transportation system improvements and land use planning practices to reduce automobile use; Provide a variety of multi-modal transportation choices for all users, including those with limited mobility; Encourage development in multi-modal transportation areas or live-work opportunities (eg. Transit-Oriented Development); and Design circulation systems to promote connectivity. Require and/or Encourage Green Design Reduce Urban Heat Island effects through community planning and design by avoiding dark-colored buildings and roofs, paved surfaces, and reduced tree cover. This complements smart growth strategies by reducing energy costs and enhancing green space; Improve stormwater management systems by using natural, low-impact design elements and green infrastructure such as rain gardens, roof gardens, and constructed wetlands; and Reuse or repurpose existing infrastructure wherever possible. Foster Regional Cooperation and Coordination Promote regional land use tools to avoid competition for a bigger tax base, avoidance of development, connection of open spaces, protection of environmental resources and smart growth transportation systems; Consider the impacts of land use decisions on various systems across municipal boundaries (e.g., watershed level planning for stormwater management); Look for opportunities at all levels of government to coordinate and cooperate to achieve common goals by meeting and discussing ideas; and Promote cost sharing and cost saving ideas through regional cooperation. Make Development Decisions Predictable, Fair, and Cost-Effective Encourage meaningful community and stakeholder collaboration in development decisions; Eliminate disproportionate environmental burdens and pollution experienced by historically disadvantaged communities; and Educate urban communities and local leaders about potential pollution from development decisions. American Planning Association 14 NEW JERSEY CHAPTER
  15. 15. Revise land use regulations Amend current ordinances, codes and standards to discourage sprawl and to encourage compact development (e.g., eliminate zoning practices that require minimum lot sizes, or that prohibit multi-family or attached housing, as determined by the capacity analysis); consider adoption of form-based codes. Specific actions include: Revise codes and ordinances to allow for the “by right” building of mixed-use and transit-oriented developments, with a complete streets and pedestrian-friendly component; Match up water supply and wastewater management with zoning and land-use mapping; Encourage development, redevelopment and economic growth in locations with existing or anticipated public services or facilities; and discourage development where it may impair or destroy natural resources, wildlife habitats, or environmental qualities; and Promote inter-municipal regional planning among communities with shared services and infrastructure. Identify Eligible Lands Identify land that is best suited for green development projects by applying screening criteria (e.g., LEED-ND Smart Location and Linkage prerequisites) to all parcels. Such criteria should filter land based upon the following criteria: smart location characteristics, such as proximity to transit, public water and wastewater infrastructure, community services, and previously developed land; proximity to imperiled species, wetlands, and water bodies; soil characteristics; and proximity to floodplains. Such an analysis identifies promising areas for growth and gives guidance to developers that will encourage them to strongly consider appropriate locations when pursuing new projects. Transfer of Development Rights (TDR) is a municipal planning and preservation tool offering communities a way to protect agricultural, historic or environmental resources while accommodating the needs for growth. TDR is a realty transfer mechanism permitting owners of “sending area” properties to separate the development rights of their property from the property itself and sell them for use on other land. Developers who purchase these “development credits” may then develop “receiving areas” deemed appropriate for growth at densities higher than otherwise permitted. Once the development rights of a property are sold the land will be permanently restricted from further development. LAND USE Enact a Transfer of Development Rights Program to Create Centers and Protect Environs Create Incentives to Direct Development to Existing Developed Areas Development Incentives: Provide density bonuses, increased allowable heights, and accelerated review and permitting for: redeveloped sites, brownfield and greyfield and other infill sites; providing additional amenities. Financial Incentives: Creating a financial incentive for “sustainable” development is one of the best ways for a town to achieve its goals. Establish tax increment financing (TIF) districts to encourage redevelopment. Reduce impact fees for infill development based on less demand for new infrastructure, if capacity analysis agrees. Often, fee reductions and waivers are paired with a structural incentive such as expedited permitting to give the developer increased benefit for choosing to build green. Grants for green neighborhood developers and green builders are being established by local governments to entice construction and renovation project teams to go green in markets that may otherwise be resistant. These American Planning Association 15 NEW JERSEY CHAPTER
  16. 16. Marketing Assistance: Developers and owners of green buildings, and neighborhoods, can gain from the increased marketability of third-party certified, high-performance green real estate. In recognition of the unique marketability of green neighborhoods, some municipalities and counties are offering free marketing assistance, including signage, awards, and recognition on city websites, press releases and other means to help green builders rent and sell their properties more effectively. Educate Stakeholders General Staff Education: Beyond designating individuals with extensive green expertise, providing a modest level of training to all staff involved in the review and approvals process is a simple, low-cost way to signal your jurisdiction’s commitment to green to developers and the general public, and ensure that all staff members recognize key green development strategies in new project applications. Educate local officials: Officials who are appointed by elected officials may have a high turnover rate because of election changes. Regular educational programs for officials, such as planning and zoning board members improve the chances of green development being implemented. Tools for Sustainable Land Use Planning The following tools are recommended to help promote sustainable land use: Official Map of streets, drainage, flood control basins and public areas. Natural Resource Inventory and Maps Community Facilities Map Historic Resources Inventory Identification of Stable versus distressed areas – opportunities for revitalization through redevelopment or rehabilitation Existing non-preserved and preserved farmland Transportation network Water and Wastewater capacity Identifying and Remediating Contaminated Sites American Planning Association 16 NEW JERSEY CHAPTER
  17. 17. Recommendations for Further Study The following analyses are recommended to foster sustainable land use planning and development: Compile Data Land development projects, e.g., LEED for Neighborhood Development projects, are concerned with accessing high quality information about project site and vicinity characteristics. Common information needed to complete a green development project includes items like street centerline files, water and wastewater infrastructure maps, parcel development histories, historic building and cultural landscape designations, and bicycle paths. Your jurisdiction can greatly assist the project in gathering this data by centralizing as much as possible or by training staff with oversight of this information on what to expect from project teams that need this information for a certification submittal. Additionally, if your jurisdiction does not have robust, updated geographic data (for use in Geographic Information Systems), building this database of information will be invaluable to future project teams. Build–out (or Trends) Analysis of Growth and Development The trends analysis demonstrates what the community will look like in the future with current zoning in place. The purpose of the endeavor is to illustrate to the municipality the development potential of its community and any land constraints imposed by existing development, zoning ordinances, and regulated or preserved natural and cultural resources. A description of the future based on current policies provides a valuable baseline against which to compare alternative growth scenarios that can reflect community stakeholder priorities and vision options. Capacity Analysis American Planning Association 17 NEW JERSEY CHAPTER LAND USE A Capacity Analysis evaluates the capacity of environmental and infrastructure systems to sustain future inhabitants. Environmental capacity-based planning recognizes both the environmental limits and opportunities for growth. Environmental limits may include drinking water and available sewer service capacity. Opportunities may include the redevelopment of brownfield sites or the preservation of open space and natural resources, including rare plant and animal species and ecological communities. One action would be to determine if current zoning and land use plans can sustain current and projected populations and development based on current and future water supply and treatment. If inconsistencies are found, adjust zoning and land use plans to be consistent with current and future water supply and treatment.
  18. 18. Additional Resources Calthorpe, Peter. 1993. The Next American Metropolis; Ecology, Community and the American Dream, Princeton University Press. Duany, Andres and Jeff Speck with Mike Lydon. 2010. The Smart Growth Manual, McGraw Hill, NY. LEED 2009 for Neighborhood Development Rating System, created by the Congress for New Urbanism, Natural Resources Defense Council, and the US Green Building Council. http://www.usgbc.org/DisplayPage.aspx? CMSPageID=148 “A Local Government Guide to LEED for Neighborhood Development” (US Green Building Council, 2010; http:// www.usgbc.org/ShowFile.aspx?DocumentID=6131) Lincoln Institute of Land Policy. 2009. Urban Planning Tools for Climate Change Mitigation, http:// www.lincolninst.edu/pubs/1573_Urban-Planning-Tools Municipal Master Plans: Sustainable West Windsor Plan, West Windsor Twp., NJ (http://www.westwindsornj.org/EC-sustainability.html) Strategic Plan for a Sustainable Hillsborough, First Draft, February 6, 2008, Hillsborough Twp., NJ (http:// sustainablehillsborough.com/Plan/CommunityGoals/GoalDetails/tabid/64/Default.aspx?goal=19) State Resources NJDCA, Office of Smart Growth, Municipal Plan Endorsement Guidelines, Adopted October 17, 2007 Revised February 2010 http://www.nj.gov/dca/divisions/osg/plan/pe.html NJDEP, Office of Planning and Sustainable Communities http://www.nj.gov/dep/opsc/envcbp.html NJ Future Smart Growth Scorecard/Municipal Review http://www.njfuture.org/Media/Docs/municipal_card.pdf New Jersey Office of Smart Growth http://www.nj.gov/dca/osg/ Planning for the Environs of a Center – A Case Study of Woolwich Twp, Gloucester Co., Office of State Planning Memo, Vol III, No. 4, May/ June/July 1997 http://www.state.nj.us/dca/divisions/osg/docs/environsworkbook060196.pdf Non Profit Organizations Association of New Jersey Environmental Commissions, Acting Locally, Municipal Tools for Environmental Protection -- Site Plan Review: Procedures for Environmental Analysis; Planning: Build-Out and Capacity Analysis http:// www.anjec.org/pdfs/SG_Planning.pdf Smart Communities Network, Land Use Codes/Ordinances, http://www.smartcommunities.ncat.org/landuse/ lucodtoc.shtml Smart Growth Online. The Smart Growth Network provides a clearinghouse of smart growth-related news, resources, tools, and other information. www.smartgrowth.org Sustainable Jersey Program. Sustainable Land Use Pledge. http://sustainablejersey.com/actionlist.php American Planning Association 18 NEW JERSEY CHAPTER
  19. 19. US Environmental Protection Agency USEPA Smart Growth Program. http://www.epa.gov/dced/ USEPA. 2010. Draft, Smart Growth – A Guide to Developing and Implementing Greenhouse Gas Reduction Programs; Local Government Climate and Energy Strategy Guides. http://www.epa.gov/slclimat/documents/pdf/smart_growth_guide.pdf USEPA. Nov 2009. Essential Smart Growth Fixes for Urban and Suburban Zoning Codes. EPA 231-K-09-003. http:// www.epa.gov/dced/ essential_fixes.htm USEPA. August 2009. Managing Wet Weather with Green Infrastructure, Municipal Handbook Water Quality Scorecard, EPA- 833-B-09-004 http://cfpub.epa.gov/npdes/home.cfm?program_id=298 USEPA Water Quality Scorecard (http://www.epa.gov/dced/water_scorecard.htm) LAND USE American Planning Association 19 NEW JERSEY CHAPTER
  20. 20. Housing American Planning Association 20 NEW JERSEY CHAPTER
  21. 21. Why a Sustainable Housing Plan Matters Providing quality homes for economically diverse families in NJ continues to be a challenge for many communities. Success stories have approached the issue from many angles, taking into consideration the location of housing in relation to access to transportation, jobs, shopping, schools, and other services. The first step in providing homes that meet the needs of all economic segments of the local and regional population is to remove the obstacles that hinder this development. A variety of housing options, from single family homes, duplexes, to apartments, including housing affordable to people with low, moderate and middle incomes, and those with special needs, is vital to allow residents to live and work in the same municipality. Across the nation housing needs are changing because demographics are changing, with smaller families and single households seeking smaller, less expensive housing near jobs and transportation. According to the NJ Housing Opportunities Task Force Report (March 2010), there are three major housing demand sectors in the current decade: foreign-born minorities, now primarily relying on the existing stock of urban housing; aging ‘Baby Boomers’ born between 1946 and 1964 who will be seeking more affordable housing in retirement communities and downsized homes and apartments; and the young adult market, the ‘Baby Boomer Echo’ generation, those born between 1977 and 1995. Housing cost factored as a percentage of income is used as a measure of affordability. Traditionally, a home is considered affordable when its costs consume no more than 30% of household income. By taking into account both the cost of housing (H) as well as the cost of transportation (T) associated with the location of the home, H+T provides a more complete understanding of affordability. The Center for Neighborhood Technology created an H+T Index, defining an affordable range for H+T as the combined costs consuming no more than 45% of income. HOUSING Collaboration among a design team beginning in the planning stages of a project ensures that all aspects of community development, including green housing design, are incorporated into the housing plan. Green building has been shown to improve the health and well-being of occupants. There is documentation linking health to indoor environmental quality. It has been shown that green buildings lower utility bills over time, resulting in a return on investment. At the project level, aspects such as: site selection; connecting to and building community; water quality; landscaping; building orientation and massing; passive heating and cooling; building envelope; weatherization; building interior and floor plans; building systems; lighting; energy-efficient appliances; renewable energy production; water conservation; resource efficient materials; construction waste reduction; and indoor environmental quality should become a part of an iterative design process beginning in the planning stage of project development. A house is a home when it shelters the body and comforts the soul. - Phillip Moffitt Growth in Jersey City, Hudson County, NJ has incorporated a variety of housing types with transportation options American Planning Association 21 NEW JERSEY CHAPTER
  22. 22. Key Concepts Implementation Strategies Think regionally, act locally; Live where you work; Provide housing types for a variety of income and age groups; Promote compact and clustered residential development and mixed-use development; Municipalities can increase housing choices not only by modifying their land use patterns on newly-developed land, but preferably by increasing housing supply in existing neighborhoods and on land served by existing infrastructure. Implementation strategies to encourage sustainable affordable housing should include: Reuse existing buildings and sites for redevelopment; Revising zoning codes as necessary to permit a variety of housing types for a variety of demographics; Plan housing near places of employment, transportation, recreation and community facilities; Allowing for accessory dwelling units, elder housing, in addition to main dwelling units on residential lots without affecting density; Preserve existing housing stock; Providing a density bonus to encourage affordable rental units; Build green and environmentally sustainable homes with universal design in all housing; and Protect historic, cultural community features. and scenic Implementing a program to identify and rehabilitate substandard and vacant and abandoned buildings for both residential and non-residential uses; Adopting a Property Maintenance Code that stipulates enforcement of maintenance with respect to structure or property such that conditions, including, without limitation, structural deterioration, lack of maintenance of the exterior of premises, infestations of vermin do not become injurious to the public health, safety and welfare; Considering municipally owned property, tax sales and foreclosures for opportunities to provide affordable housing; Encouraging new development to consider green building practices (e.g., solar-oriented, energy and water-efficient design of buildings, lower impact site design), and universal design of housing units; and Thanks to digital technology, climate change concerns, and corporate layoffs, demand is rising for homes that accommodate today's entrepreneurs. Include affordable housing in any new residential construction project to the maximum extent feasible. American Planning Association 22 NEW JERSEY CHAPTER
  23. 23. Tools for Sustainable Housing Planning To help facilitate implementation, the municipality should also prepare the following inventories and maps: Recommendations for Further Study To further help facilitate implementation, the municipality should also conduct the following studies: Land use and Zoning Maps; Community health characteristics; Existing and proposed restricted low- and moderate income housing, low- to moderateincome CDBG areas, and existing substandard housing; Public safety and crime statistics; Natural Resources Inventory; Municipal housing stock and demographics: Transportation network map; Open space, parks, recreation, cultural, historic and scenic resources maps; Existing and preserved farmland map; Community facilities map; An Official Map (per NJ Municipal Land Use Law, NJSA 40:55D-32); Inventory of Brownfields / Grayfields; and Infrastructure capacity: water and sewer; Projection of municipal housing stock, including probable future construction of low, moderate and middle income housing and the municipality’s capacity to accommodate it; Existing and proposed housing locations, any environmental impacts to residents, and especially to socially vulnerable populations (low-income, senior), and mitigating strategies, including input from those stakeholders; Existing and probable future jobs-to-housing ratio; Income to housing costs; Lands that are most appropriate for construction of low- and moderate-income housing and of the existing structures most appropriate for conversion to, or rehabilitation for, low- and moderate-income housing; and Municipality’s regional fair share obligation of low- and moderate-income housing and an assessment of its capacity to accommodate that obligation. Mapping resources, transportation, open space, environmental constraints, etc., is key to see how a communities pieces fit together and where the opportunities to improve it are. American Planning Association 23 NEW JERSEY CHAPTER HOUSING Inventory of stable versus distressed areas – opportunities for revitalization through rehabilitation or redevelopment. Education, research and other institutions;
  24. 24. Additional Resources Strategic Plan for a Sustainable Hillsborough, First Draft, February 6, 2008, Hillsborough Twp., NJ (http://www. sustainablehillsborough.com/) Vision for the Future Urban Land Institute: Research and Publications http://www.uli.org/ American Planning Association: Planning Advisory Service [#516] – ‘Jobs-Housing Balance’ http:// openlibrary.org/b/OL8702082M Smart Communities Network: Creating www.smartcommunities.ncat.org/welcome.shtml Energy Smart Communities http:// New Jersey Green Homes Office http://www.state.nj.us/dca/hmfa/gho/about/ Center for Neighborhood Technology (CNT) http://www.cnt.org NJDEP’s I-MapNJ http://www.nj.gov/dep/gis/depsplash.htm NJ Department of Environmental Protection Data Miner http://www.nj.gov/dep/enforcement/reportslist.html Environmental Defense Fund’s “Scorecard” http://www.scorecard.org/ NJ Digital Legal Library http://njlegallib.rutgers.edu/mtlaurel/aboutmtlaurel.php EPA Environmental Justice Geographic environmentaljustice/assessment.html Assessment Tool http://www.epa.gov/compliance/ American Planning Association 24 NEW JERSEY CHAPTER
  25. 25. Circulation American Planning Association 25 NEW JERSEY CHAPTER
  26. 26. Why a Sustainable Circulation Plan Matters Transportation and circulation are critical to the quality of life in our communities, serving many purposes, including providing local and regional mobility, offering access to homes, shopping and businesses, and supporting economic growth. The influence of street systems on urban form predates the automobile era. Road and street networks help knit places together, while others form barriers. Street systems also influence how a community functions. They shape local land use patterns, the form of the various districts, the level of access that can be provided to destinations, and the design and function of individual places. State and local roads suffer congestion due to plans and decisions made by many government agencies. State and local governments will never be able to solve congestion by building more, wider and faster roads. Under this model, there will never be sufficient financial resources to supply the demand for capacity. Sprawling land uses will continue to create congestion faster than roadway capacity can be increased. A sustainable Circulation Plan addresses capacity through integrated land use and transportation planning, steering the focus of transportation planning toward multimodal solutions. A mix of land uses with homes, offices, public buildings, and shopping all located in close proximity means that there are fewer and shorter automobile trips. It also means that residents can walk, bike or use public transit. Fewer cars and trips mean less traffic and congestion in the community as well as reduced harmful carbon dioxide emissions being released into the atmosphere. Walking and biking become part of a healthier routine. Sustainable communities allow people to live closer to jobs and save money on personal transportation… Neighborhoods that make it easy to walk or bike to work, school, stores, parks, and other destinations help people stay healthy by incorporating regular exercise into their daily routines – Partnership for Sustainable Communities Key Concepts Roadways have many purposes, including providing local and regional mobility, offering access to homes and businesses, and supporting economic growth, but are not the only means of necessary transportation. A sustainable Circulation Plan element provides goals for users of all modes of mobility throughout a community; urban, suburban or rural. Goals can be geared toward enhancing the identity of a place, physical movement of getting people from one place to the next and efficiently, reducing the number of motor vehicles on roadways, protecting rural roadways for scenic value, or providing access to a variety of forms of transportation and mobility. Another means of achieving these qualities is through the implementation of a “Complete Streets” program on one or more streets within a community. According to Sustainable Jersey, Complete Streets have numerous environmental, safety, and health benefits. Designing roadways that are inclusive of all appropriate forms of transportation can reduce serious injuries and fatalities by lowering the number of speeding drivers and providing access and accommodation for all potential travelers. Safer roadways encourage residents to walk and bike more often, which can greatly improve their health. Increased walking, biking and transit use also cuts carbon dioxide emissions and reduces reliance on fossil fuels. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), if one average driver leaves the car at home just two days a week, greenhouse gas emissions will be reduced by 1600 pounds per year. American Planning Association 26 NEW JERSEY CHAPTER
  27. 27. In any given community, approximately 30 percent of the residents cannot or have chosen not to drive. They may be too young; they may have decided to “give up the keys” due to poor health or advancing age; they may be physically handicapped; or they may have simply made a lifestyle or economic choice not to own or operate a car. These citizens need places to walk, bicycle, and use public transportation. They need Complete Streets. To summarize, a Complete Streets program can: Gradually create a complete network of transportation facilities. Provide an equitable transportation system that serves all residents. Shift transportation investments functioning streets are created. so safer, better Save money in the long run (because doing it right the first time costs less than retrofitting a project later). Encourage healthy habits by making it easier to walk and bicycle. CIRCULATION Provide more transportation options and reduce traffic congestion, thus increasing the capacity of the overall transportation network. Improve air quality by cutting down on harmful carbon dioxide and other vehicle emissions.2 Include parking solutions with both on- and off street parking for motor vehicles and bicycles in order to minimize hazards for pedestrians and bicyclists. NJ has one of the most extensive statewide public transportation systems in the country. Designing streets, parking, and transit stops to consider form before function is important to place-making and should be a focus of any transportation or circulation plan. A sustainable Circulation Plan should integrate land use and transportation through context-sensitive design, noting that: In some of the more rural portions of the state, public transportation might consist of buses and park-and-ride facilities; Planning for all modes of transportation is key. As we do, it is important to think people first as people drive cars, access parking lots, cross streets, and so on... Suburban communities with commuter rail lines and bus routes can provide enhanced pedestrian and bicycle connections to transportation facilities; American Planning Association 27 NEW JERSEY CHAPTER
  28. 28. Urban areas of the state require consistency and continuity among the transfer stations to provide more effective commuter options; and Providing access to public transportation and to nearby housing, employment, and services should remain a priority for all communities as a means of creating community around transportation other than the single-occupancy vehicle. Reducing the number of single-occupancy vehicles on roadways is an important objective of connected climate, smart growth and public health goals, because: Fewer vehicles on roads provide for cleaner air and water, reduced greenhouse gas emissions, and lower heat island impacts in urban areas; Reducing the number of motor vehicle can increase safety, by decreasing the potential for motor vehicle accidents and accidents with pedestrians and bicycles. It is important for communities to encourage pedestrians and bicycle travel and provide awareness campaigns to motor vehicle drivers; Improving transportation systems for all users before constructing new roadways will encourage the single– occupancy vehicle driver to reconsider using the public transit system; Where roadways are in disrepair and increasing traffic congestion is a problem, improving these existing roadways and intersections before constructing new ones will make roadway travel more effective; Strategies such as demand based ride sharing and programmatic changes to services offered (e.g., consolidating system operations) might be a solution to reduce single-occupancy vehicular travel. Roadways in NJ also serve as scenic routes for enjoyment, in addition to travel. For instance, they can be used for: Preserving the character of rural areas includes preserving and properly maintaining roads that are still rural, narrow and dirt roads. Signage along routes that are important to the state’s history should be encouraged for cultural and historic preservation, as well as for general travel needs. The value of country roads is in the unique visual experience they offer. American Planning Association 28 NEW JERSEY CHAPTER
  29. 29. Implementation Strategies The MLUL gives little guidance on preparing the master plan circulation element. In many master plans, the circulation element may be a roadway inventory and some engineering designs. Frequently, there is little recognition of the different functions of roadways or of the land uses that adjoin them. The intent of the master plan is to provide a land use strategy that can be served easily by infrastructure. The most effective local transportation plans look beyond the street system and recognize the many linkages between transportation and community life in its varied forms. This means considering not only travel needs, but the specific ways in which transportation tends to structure activities and spaces throughout a municipality and the region. It means considering how current development decisions will affect community mobility and people’s daily experiences for decades into the future. Establish a Parking Demand Management Plan that provides a realistic scale and routinely includes bicycle parking, parking areas that are integrated with surrounding land uses, shared parking and driveways for efficiency, and access to loading areas for truck delivery. Transit stops for buses, taxis, ferries, light rail and trains should be easily accessible, recognizable from a distance, comfortable and attractive, and should support activities and services within close proximity to the transit stop. For instance, housing and employment centers should be located within walking distance of transit stops. Promote community form through a mix of uses and housing diversity, neighborhood schools connected with housing along safe routes, pedestrian access to conveniences within a neighborhood, and street characteristics that are scaled to the types and placement of neighborhood buildings. Provide visibility to parks and plaza from adjacent streets. Use design features to highlight and connect these areas; offer visitors places to walk and sit. Promote mobility and community for more than transportation alone. This should include Circulation, Shopping Streets, Parking, Transit Stops, Neighborhoods, Public Places, and the Natural Environment. Circulation strategies should include multiuse streets, connectivity among all modes of transportation, safety for pedestrians, cyclists, and motorists, signage that is legible and easily interpreted, and design sensitivity among roads and bridges with the surrounding environment. Shopping streets should create an identity through the practice of place-making, creating interest at the ends of shopping streets with destination While access to the natural environment is important in cities and suburbs, so too are boundaries such as greenbelts and wildlife corridors that protect fragile wildlife habitats. Develop transportation standards that incorporate a “green streets” approach to roadway design. Guidelines for rural road modifications should provide user safety, long-range reduction of maintenance costs, and a roadway that is attractively integrated with the roadside and surrounding landscape. American Planning Association 29 NEW JERSEY CHAPTER CIRCULATION Create a transportation committee to address needs for existing and future public transportation, bicycle and pedestrian users. points, multi-user parking preferably to the rear of structures, and safe connections between parking, transit, neighborhoods, and shopping itself.
  30. 30. Tools for Sustainable Circulation Planning To help facilitate implementation, the municipality should also prepare the following inventories and maps: Listing of roads and their functions Traffic Characteristics Travel requirements – identify safe and reasonable speeds at which traffic should travel along various roads; required maintenance year-round (e.g. mowing, clearing snow, pot-hole fixes, etc.) Land Uses adjacent to the roadways, potential changes to use and intensity of use, and compatible modifications Scenic quality of a country road should be documented according to types of vegetation, topography, geology, surface waters, unique natural areas, wildlife, manmade features and visual qualities. Safety factors on each roadway, such as number and severity of accidents; the cause of accidents; fixed objects adjacent to roadways; conflicts with pedestrians, bicycles, or vehicles; and inadequate sight distance. Recommendations for Further Study To help facilitate implementation, the municipality should consider instituting a Complete Streets Policy for the town. In the State’s Complete Streets Policy, the NJ Department of Transportation recognized these benefits of complete streets: Complete Streets improve safety for pedestrians, bicyclists, children, older citizens, non-drivers and the mobility challenged as well as those that cannot afford a car or choose to live car free Provide connections to bicycling and walking trip generators such as employment, education, residential, recreation, retail centers and public facilities Promote healthy lifestyles Create more livable communities Reduce traffic congestion and reliance on carbon fuels thereby reducing greenhouse gas emissions Complete Streets make fiscal sense by incorporating sidewalks, bike lanes, safe crossings and transit amenities into the initial design of a project, thus sparing the expense of retrofits later The town may also want to conduct a gap assessment of sidewalks, roadways, and on-road and off-road bike and walking paths. American Planning Association 30 NEW JERSEY CHAPTER
  31. 31. Additional Resources Programs such as Complete Streets and Safe Routes to School are resources that provide guidance for all communities. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act also provided financial support and guidance for roadway projects in all states in the US. New Jersey is fortunate to have a Department of Transportation that has considered transportation and sustainability and it is a leader in efforts to integrate transportation and land use issues, and understands that the “wider and faster” approach to road construction will not solve the problem. The New Jersey and Pennsylvania Departments of Transportation have developed the Smart Transportation Guidebook: Planning and Designing Highways and Streets that Support Sustainable and Livable Communities that provides guidance on sustainable transportation and circulation to state and local governments. Smart Transportation recommends a new approach to roadway planning and design, in which transportation investments are tailored to the specific needs of each project. The different contexts - financial, community, land use, transportation, and environmental - determine the design of the solution. The best transportation solution arises from a process in which a multidisciplinary team, considering a range of solutions, works closely with the community. Inclusive of contextsensitive solutions (CSS), Smart Transportation also The Smart Transportation Guidebook has potential application for a wide range of users in New Jersey: Metropolitan Planning Organizations to serve as guidelines for integrated land use and transportation studies. NJDOT – to serve as guidelines for applying the NJDOT design manuals in a context sensitive manner. Municipalities and Counties – to serve as guidelines for land use and roadway development projects. Developers – to provide tools to realize “smart growth” goals for developments. Residents of New Jersey – to guide community development so they understand their role in the transportation project development process. Smart Transportation Guidebook: Planning and Designing Highways and Streets that Support Sustainable and Livable Communities NJ DOT Mobility and Community Form: A Guide to Linking Transportation and Land Use in the Municipal Master Plan http://www.state.njus/ transportation/community/mobility/ Smart Codes: Model Land-Development Regulations, Marya Morris, General Editor. American Planning Associations, Planning Advisory Service Report Number 556. April 2009. American Planning Association 31 NEW JERSEY CHAPTER CIRCULATION According to the Guidebook, Smart Transportation should manage capacity by better integrating land use and transportation planning. With this Guidebook, New Jersey and Pennsylvania are working together to link land use context to roadway values, and to establish common design guidelines. The desire to go “through” a place must be balanced with the desire to go “to” a place. encompasses network connectivity, and access and corridor management.
  32. 32. Fa r m l a n d American Planning Association 32 NEW JERSEY CHAPTER
  33. 33. Why a Sustainable Farmland Plan Matters Historically, the majority of NJ lands were in agricultural usage. As the State developed into residential and commercial uses, those agricultural lands were sold for development. Nearby uses became incompatible with farming. But, agriculture in New Jersey accounts for $82 billion of the state’s economy, ranking 3rd among the top industries in the state.10 NJ has just over 10,000 farms with 733,450 acres in productive farmland; although more farms are being preserved every year, increasing acres have also been lost to development. Farming looks mighty easy when your plow is a pencil and you’re a thousand miles from the corn field. - Dwight D. Eisenhower FARMLAND There is an opportunity in New Jersey for the State to become self-sustaining with regard to agriculture and food production. With the rising trend of organic and local produce in supermarkets, New Jersey farms can accommodate the niche markets, as well as the mass markets for produce, wool, dairy products, fruits, and many other specialty items. Proximity to major consumption markets, particularly New York and Philadelphia, make New Jersey uniquely situated to improve its branding as “The Garden State.” According to the NJ Department of Agriculture, farmers in NJ produce over 80 different kinds of fruits and vegetables for local and world-wide consumption. Nationally, NJ is one of the top ten producers of blueberries, cranberries, peaches, tomatoes, bell peppers, cucumbers, snap beans, spinach, and squash. Vineyards are also a growing segment of the industry, enabling the state’s more than 32 vintners to develop a wide variety of award-winning NJ wines. NJ farmers can partner with schools and hospitals to provide local produce, to develop farmers’ markets for residents, to develop new products to meet market demand, and to educate consumers about healthier and more cost effective approaches to food. To make agriculture viable and sustainable, municipalities must play a vital role in educating its residents, promoting innovative methods of farming, and assisting implementation of Agricultural Management Practices.10 American Planning Association 33 NEW JERSEY CHAPTER
  34. 34. Key Concepts Agriculture is a critically important resource in NJ. The State Right to Farm law provides protections for farming from nuisance suits, unnecessary regulation and certain licensing requirements. The State is committed to maintaining its agricultural base. The agricultural industry generates billions of dollars in revenue, while saving the cost of services that would otherwise have to be provided to residences and businesses. Preserving land to continue agricultural endeavors, having a new generation of farmers willing to work in the agricultural industry, and improving local markets for Jersey products, contribute to the future of the agricultural industry. Implementation Strategies Adopt a Farmland Preservation Plan Prioritize large, contiguous lands that are already in agricultural production or that could be used for farming, without destroying natural resources such as forests and wetlands. Dedicate local funds for preserving agricultural land. Develop a Deer Management strategy New Jersey farmers suffer millions of dollars of crop losses annually due to deer browse, because deer are drawn to cultivated crops in a compact location. Allowing increased hunting opportunities is important to control deer population. Preserving productive farmland, without properly managing it, will not strengthen the objectives of preservation in the long term. Although other farm “pests” must be minimized, the biggest problem to farm crop loss is deer feeding. Reduction of Pesticides and Improvement in Water Quality Organic farming should be considered an educational priority for local farms. Reduction in pesticides through Integrated Pest Management practices will improve water quality, soil quality, and farm animal health. Recent studies have shown that weeds resistant to normal pesticides and herbicides, such as “Round-Up” have developed; this makes it harder for farmers to control weeds, control erosion by avoiding continual plowing and avoid increased pollution in waterways. Green Energy, Biofuels and Alternative Energy Sources Consider alternative energy sources, such as solar panels, wind generation (particularly on higher silos and barns), and other alternative energy sources. Protection of Water Supply Water is a primary component in any type of farming activity, and must be conserved and properly used in order to provide continued supply. The State of New Jersey grants agricultural well water supply permits for farming activities which have less regulatory requirements than potable water supplies for humans. Use of water conservation techniques and less impervious cover on farms can provide long-term benefits for future farm uses. Developing Innovative Practices and Local Markets Encourage non-traditional farming activities, such as wool production by llamas, alpacas, sheep, agri-tourism for year-round agricultural support, farm visits by school groups and others who have not had exposure to the food supply chain. Publicize Local Food-Source Efforts and connect with schools, hospitals, social services groups and other established community organizations. Publicity can occur through local newspapers, municipal websites, flyers and signs. Provide a municipal on-line inventory of community gardens, urban farms, farm stands and other sources of fresh food, so residents can easily find the nearest freshfood location. American Planning Association 34 NEW JERSEY CHAPTER
  35. 35. Support and Encourage Food Cooperatives. Farmers with similar products should be encouraged to network and develop cooperatives. Resources for networking include a municipal Agricultural Advisory Committee, or the County Agricultural Development Board. Establish a cooperative to reduce costs and improve marketability for small NJ farms. Encouraging a New Generation of Farmers Ease zoning restrictions on some uses on farms, but strive for adherence to those uses which are protected by Right to Farm rules. Zoning ordinances to generate income for non-farming activities which do not detract from other agricultural activities, can also be considered for very small areas on farms. Reduce the need for long-range transport of food by encouraging local food production A set of sample spreadsheets were developed by the Metrics Fellow so that farmers and gardeners anywhere can collect their data and report on the following 6 indicators:11 1. $ dollars earned from farmers market sales 2. # pounds of food produced 3. # pounds of food waste collected to create compost 4. # of people trained in job skills 5. # of person-hours spent working at the farm or garden 6. # of person-hours spent working at the farm or garden by age Uses such as cell towers on existing farm buildings, roadside stands near farms, but not to extend beyond a small percentage of the activities on the land. FARMLAND Provide technical assistance by partnering with academic, business and non-profit groups to connect communities and farmers with guides for cost-effective and sustainable farming. Increase access to, and promote, local food products. Provide incentives such as transportation and housing, for agricultural workers to more readily assist farmers. Connect landowners to farmers seeking to lease land for farming. American Planning Association 35 NEW JERSEY CHAPTER
  36. 36. Tools for Sustainable Farmland Preservation Planning To help facilitate implementation, the municipality should also prepare the following inventories and maps: $ G D) D P OQ 3U V U DL 3OQ RSW U D G H H Y W RQ D Develop a Deer Management strategy Reduction of Pesticides and Improvement in Water Quality Green Energy, Biofuels and Alternative Energy Sources Recommendations for Further Study To help facilitate implementation, the municipality should conduct studies regarding the town’s access to local food production. This access should be afforded to all, but special care should be taken to ensure this access to vulnerable populations, especially low-income and urban households. Most food is produced hundreds, sometimes thousands of miles from where it is consumed requiring significant energy consumption for handling, transportation and storage and resulting in significant food waste from spoilage during its journey. Protection of Water Supply Developing Innovative Practices and Local Markets Encouraging a New Generation of Farmers Reduce the need for long-range transport of food by encouraging local food production Additional Resources Agricultural Management Practices for Agriculture set standards for operation of agricultural industries to meet, in order to be considered a “commercial farm” within the protections of the Right to Farm Act. There are extensive protections for commercial farms under the NJ Right to Farm Act, such as protection from nuisance suits, local pesticide application regulations, interference from neighbors, noise ordinances, and others. New Jersey has made a commitment to protect its farmers, but farmers must also comply with Management Practices promulgated by the SADC. Not all farming operations have AMPs yet developed. Among those which have been adopted are the following: Apiary AMP (NJAC 2:76-2A.2) Applies to Honey Bees. Colonies cannot exceed a maximum of 50 per acre; they must have an adequate water supply within a ½ mile distance. Poultry manure AMP (NJAC 2:76-2A.2) This AMP requires heavy waterproof material for storing temporary manure; concrete bunkers bins are necessary for longterm storage. There are requirements for soil testing, soil fertility, seasonal applications, etc when spreading manure Food processing by-product land application AMP (NJAC 2:76-2A.4) This strictly regulates the application of residuals and vegetative matter from food processing when used as a fertilizer. Nitrogen composition must be tested and soil permeability, drainage, slope, farmland conservation plans, among others, must be considered. Commercial vegetable production AMP (NJAC 2:76-2A.5) Rutgers Cooperative Extension prepared recommendations in 2000, updated in 2009, for production of commercial vegetable production. American Planning Association 36 NEW JERSEY CHAPTER
  37. 37. However, application of sewage sludge was exempted from these recommendations. The application of sludge should be properly managed and can have an impact on sustainably protecting the environment. Commercial Tree Fruit Production AMP (NJAC 2:76- 2A.6) The SADC has adopted the recommendations of the Rutgers Cooperative Extension dated 2000, updated in 2009, for tree fruit production. Natural resource conservation AMP (NJAC 2-78-2A.7) The SADC has authorized the Soil Conservation Districts to assist development and implementation of a farm conservation plan for the conservation and development of soil, water and related natural resources on a farm. Sewagesludge applications are not considered part of the AMP. Forestry practices must include those recommended by NJDEP. This AMP provides an all-purpose sustainability approach to farm management. AMP for on-farm compost operations on commercial farms (NJAC 2:76-2A.8) Biosolids cannot be part of the compost mixture. Compost cannot be sold to non-farm users. Production and/or use of compost must comply with NJ Water Pollution Control Act. Location of any compost product must comply with a Farm Conservation Plan. Fencing installation AMP for wildlife control (NJAC 2:76-2A.9) The SADC has adopted the recommendations from the Rutgers Extension Cooperative Service for installing hightensile and electric fences for wildlife control. Any other type of fencing must be approved by the CADB. AMP for equine activities on commercial farms (NJAC2:76-2A.10) Aquaculture AMP (NJAC 2:76-2A.11) The SADC has adopted the “Recommended Management Practices for Aquatic Farms “as mandatory practices for protection under the Right to Farm Act. This publication was developed by the Rutgers Cooperative Extension in 2004. However, the section on importation of aquatic organisms has been excluded from this practice. FARMLAND This rule regulates the type of feeding regime used on a farm for horses, management of manure, maintenance of water quality, reduction in flies, manure distribution, dust control, fencing, and environmental concerns, such as having no manure within 100 feet of any waterway. Not all equine activities qualify for protection under the Right to Farm Act, i.e. boarding horses and giving lessons do not qualify an operation as a commercial farm which would allow Right to Farm protections. Animal Waste Management Practices and Rules (NJAC 2:91 et seq). The State of New Jersey has adopted a “Best Management Practices” manual for disposing of Animal Waste in order to best use manure and protect water quality. These rules were adopted as part of a Memorandum of Agreement with the United States Environmental Protection Agency, to reduce point and non-point source pollution. Use Animal Waste Best Practices to promote sustainability for farms, farmers and all residents of NJ, so that clean water is available for agricultural endeavors in the future. All owners of farm animal units (whereby 1000 lbs of animal is a “unit”) must prepare and keep available an Animal Waste Plan. Owners with fewer than eight animal units can prepare their own plans; farmers with eight or more animal units must get their plans approved by the Natural Resources Conservation District, and a greater number of animal units need NJDEP approval. American Planning Association 37 NEW JERSEY CHAPTER
  38. 38. Open Space & Re c r e a t i o n www.capeatlantic.org American Planning Association 38 NEW JERSEY CHAPTER
  39. 39. Why a Sustainable Open Space Plan Matters Think of “open spaces as part of a broad web of human activity and ecology, from private to public, from intensive use to neglect.”12 Open spaces can form the infrastructure for the developed spaces; as opposed to the other way around. Open spaces, soils, and preserved land allow sustainable landscapes for people and for wildlife. Protecting open spaces in all communities, however densely populated, is critical in planning sustainable communities. “Open space” is a broad term that typically means natural areas that may be available to the public and include public parks, golf courses, gardens, and trails providing active and passive use The rapid pace of development over the past few decades in New Jersey has created urgency for the State to focus on open space preservation. Open space, should be considered a resource which provides areas for wildlife habitat, aquifer recharge, cleaner water, scenic qualities, agricultural areas, passive and active recreation, and a framework for our built environment. New Jersey has actively pursued preservation of its open space and recreation lands. New Jersey’s Municipal Land Use Law (N.J.S.A. 40:55D-2) directs municipalities to preserve open space, by purporting: “Provide light, air and open space;” “Provide sufficient space in appropriate locations for a variety of agricultural, residential, recreational, commercial and industrial uses and open space, both public and private, according to their respective environmental requirements in order to meet the needs of all New Jersey citizens;” and The citizens of New Jersey have repeatedly supported open space funding initiatives, both at the state level and locally, through a series of bond issues and open space taxes. The NJ Green Acres program is one mechanism for preserving lands for recreation and conservation purposes. Since its establishment in 1961, Green Acres has preserved nearly 640,000 acres of open space and funded hundreds of park development projects.15 Voters approved a measure to also include “Blue Acres.” The State encourages the acquisition of land in the floodways of the Delaware River, the Passaic River, and the Raritan River, their respective tributaries, and other areas of New Jersey that are prone to flooding. Lands acquired through this program are dedicated for passive recreation and conservation purposes. Various counties and municipalities also have open space trust funds to further local preservation and recreation goals. These state and local preservation programs can be leveraged in cooperation with New Jersey’s wide range of nonprofit land trusts and conservation organizations. Open space and recreation is not limited to publicly preserved open spaces. There is open space and recreationally utilized lands throughout our communities; these lands may be privately owned. Although access to these types of open space lands may not be available to the general public, they are generally accessible to wildlife, both flora and fauna, and contain other types of natural resources. Their value is intrinsic and should not be overlooked when considering the potential for green infrastructure. American Planning Association 39 NEW JERSEY CHAPTER OPEN SPACE The community benefits of open space preservation extend beyond environmental resources to property values, job creation, and tourism. The New Jersey Conservation Foundation finds that the average home price increases 16 percent when it is located near permanently preserved open space, and that $1,7 billion is spent annually on wildlife recreation, 23 percent of the total spent by tourists in New Jersey.13 “Promote the conservation of historic sites and districts, open space, energy resources and valuable natural resources...and to prevent urban sprawl and degradation of the environment through improper use of the land.”14
  40. 40. By developing a comprehensive and integrated open space and recreation plan, a municipality is able to focus its valuable financial resources on the lands that offer the most benefits to the community. Each open space acquisition should be approached with a specific purpose in mind and an understanding of how this particular land (and/or water) area will contribute to the larger open space system and the overall sustainable health of the community. “Open space is not merely an amenity, a frill among other necessities on the map of a region, a watershed, or a community. Rather it is the matrix where most of the creatures in that region or community live, and it affects and controls and is affected by everything else that is there.” - Richard P. Kane, The Great Swamp Watershed Association American Planning Association 40 NEW JERSEY CHAPTER
  41. 41. Key Concepts Open space is not just what is left over after development is done; open space is a significant land use and essential component of a sustainable community. To understand open space as a land use is a concept which involves thinking comprehensively about how the built environment and the natural environment relate to one another. Designating open spaces within a planned network is the basis for a multi-functional green infrastructure and should properly be integrated within each component of a sustainable master plan. Link open space with the conservation plan, recreation, natural resources, historic resources, and community facilities to support one another and service the municipality as a whole. Adopt a smart conservation approach, strategically targeting lands/water that will promote an overall system of preserved and managed properties. Develop a ‘greenways’ plan with trail or pedestrian systems to link open space, parks and recreation areas. These linkages should be provided in residential and commercial neighborhoods, and foster accessibility to public facilities such as schools, libraries, town halls, and community buildings. The ability to walk along a water body, without actually touching the water, provides a valuable rejuvenating activity. Map and provide access to recreational and/or navigable water bodies where applicable. Map existing and targeted land/water areas to be acquired. Consider green infrastructure as a form of open Open Spaces are an important component to any Great Place. American Planning Association 41 NEW JERSEY CHAPTER OPEN SPACE Strategically preserve open space at a watershed level, integrating open space preservation with water quality and stormwater management planning across jurisdictional boundaries. Working across jurisdictions can achieve a greater benefit for multiple municipalities and counties. space, especially in urban areas. Green infrastructure is an alternative to traditional “grey” infrastructure which uses vegetation and soil to manage rainwater where it falls, mimicking natural systems while improving flood mitigation, water and air quality.
  42. 42. Implementation Strategies Achieving the goals and objectives of the open space and recreation plan occurs with its development and adoption by the municipality. Being clear about its goals and objectives and laying out a plan for moving forward, the municipality can organize its resources – both resident support and financial support. It is critical to include the citizenry in the development of the open space and recreation plan because they can provide a momentum to implement the plan. Ultimately the residents who have a vested interest will support the plan over time and help achieve the realization of a sustainable open space and recreation plan. A municipality may choose to place responsibility with the environmental commission, the open space committee and/or the planning board to initiate a plan. These groups could be supplemented by an ad-hoc board comprised of residents and business owners. The allocation of funds to conduct the planning process would most come from the governing body. The open space and recreation plan should include an executive summary, a list of goals and objectives, an existing open space inventory, a needs analysis, an assessment of existing facilities, an action plan for the future, and supporting data and information. The plan should receive extensive public review before adoption by the Planning Board and should include strategies to: Provide linkages recreation. to both active and municipal and regional circulation/mobility plans to incorporate bicycle and pedestrian paths. Coordinate the open space system with scenic byways to encourage opportunities for bicycle and pedestrian exercise. Coordinate the municipal open space and recreation system with adjacent municipalities and counties. Develop a plan for future acquisition to complete the open space and recreation system. Promote sustainable stewardship of preserved lands/ waters. Provide for low impact development stormwater management as an element of the municipality’s green infrastructure. Provide for agricultural preservation within the municipality’s open space system. Provide easy access to maps of the open space and recreation system, including trails and paths. Provide opportunities for property owners to plan for small patches of open space, for example, volunteer efforts to green one’s own property. 35 passive Develop trail systems to connect all open space and recreation lands/waters within the municipality. Provide access to the open space system from residential and commercial neighborhoods, as well as public facilities. Coordinate the open space system with the historic preservation plan and historic districts to incorporate cultural heritage opportunities as a form of recreation. Coordinate the open space system with the American Planning Association 42 NEW JERSEY CHAPTER
  43. 43. Additional Resources NJ Green Acres Program http://www.nj.gov/dep/greenacres/ New Jersey Conservation Foundation, http://www.njconservation.org/resources.htm Garden State Preservation Trust, http://www.state.nj.us/gspt/ Garden State Greenways, http://www.gardenstategreenways.org/. Great Swamp Watershed Association, http://www.greatswamp.org/ Trust for Public Land, http://www.tpl.org/publications/ Upper Deerfield’s Open Space and Recreation Plan, developed by DVRPC http://www.upperdeerfield.org/07023%20-%20Open%20Space%20and%20Recreation%20Plan%20For%20Upper%20 Deerfield%20Township,%20Cumberland%20County,%20NJ.pdf Pittsgrove’s Open Space and Recreation Plan, developed by Morris Land Conservancy (now Land Conservancy of NJ) http://www.pittsgrovetownship.com/Pittsgrove%20Open%20Space%20and%20Recreation%20Plan%20Jan% 202005.pdf Maplewood Township’s Open Space and Recreation Plan http://www.twp.maplewood.nj.us/developments/Open%20Space%20and%20Recreation%20Plan%20Element% 20Sept%202008.pdf The Conservation Fund, Kodak American Greenways Program http://www.conservationfund.org/node/245 OPEN SPACE Maryland Greenways Commission http://www.dnr.state.md.us/greenways/ American Planning Association 43 NEW JERSEY CHAPTER
  44. 44. Conservation American Planning Association 44 NEW JERSEY CHAPTER
  45. 45. Why a Sustainable Conservation Plan Matters The development of land may negatively impact a community’s environment as it requires the use of energy and natural resources. The results of human consumption and people pollution affect every aspect of a community through the degradation air and water quality, reducing wildlife habitat, and degrading the ability of our natural systems to provide services, such as sequestering carbon and recharging aquifers and groundwater. Crafting a sustainable conservation plan can intercept further damage to the environment by establishing sustainable design objectives which encourage greener development, preservation, and rehabilitation or restoration practices to minimize environmental impact. Recognizing the value of maintaining a healthy ecosystem, a community can become committed to protecting and enhancing natural systems. Conventional urbanization increases impervious surface area, reduces groundwater recharge, and increases stormwater runoff. As outlined in the sustainable utilities plan section, there are opportunities for communities to encourage building and development that works with the land, even in an urban environment. For example, as a matter of public health, safety and welfare, a Contamination of water not only impairs wildlife habitat and degrades recreational opportunities, but also increases the costs associated with treating water to create a potable supply for residents. No life can survive without adequate, clean water. People do not want to live or visit places with dirty water. Well Head Protection of community wells that provide drinking water to residents is a critical public health issue. Contaminated public drinking water has been a pervasive problem in many areas of New Jersey. Municipalities can adopt ordinances for well-head protection to avoid potentially polluting land uses from being located near community drinking wells. Preventing water pollution is easier and more cost effective than cleaning dirty water and using bottled water for everyday needs. The same can be said for air quality. Of New Jersey’s 21 counties, 14 of them have failing (F) or just above failing (D) grades for air quality.15 Serious health consequences can result from particulates and pollution in the air, including asthma, lung diseases, eye irritation, and lower immunity to diseases. Polluted air is recognized as a grave health risk. Greenhouse gas emissions and the climate changes associated with their accumulation in the atmosphere, pose serious threats and challenges such as: rising sea levels, changes in rainfall patterns, with both warmer, dryer weather and more severe droughts and floods, harsher hurricanes and other windstorms, and new pathways for disease. CONSERVATION Conservation can have a larger impact when considered on a regional scale. In New Jersey, conservation in areas like the Highlands, Meadowlands and Pinelands works to protect contiguous, environmentally sensitive areas especially for the preservation of water supply and wildlife habitat. Heightened regulations in these areas prevent the regions from becoming overdeveloped and risking the loss of important open spaces, diverse wildlife and quality of drinking water. Conservation in these sensitive areas however, allows for responsible development elsewhere in the state, where it is more appropriate to promote economic development and growth. A sustainable Conservation Plan element will take into consideration these factors on a regional scale in order to protect the environment, while planning for growth in existing urban areas. municipality can model the intent of protecting the environment by having pesticide-free zones where all residents are assured a safe recreational environment. Pesticide-free zones will greatly assist the reduction of pollutants into our waterways. This could first be implemented on governmental lands given the amount of publicly-held land in NJ. American Planning Association 45 NEW JERSEY CHAPTER
  46. 46. With the large amount of New Jersey’s capital invested in facilities, parks, roads, bridges, waterfronts, and water and sewage networks, climate changes create significant risks for local governments. The reduction in the use of energy of all types is necessary to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Although less recognized as pollution problems in New Jersey, the effects of noise and light pollution can have serious negative environmental effects on people and wildlife. Increasing recognition of these issues should become part of the discussion on sustainability. The natural environment is inter-connected and the effects of human activity on all natural systems must be considered in a sustainable community. Planning and preparing for a sustainable future requires education, action, and the participation of residents, municipal officials and state agencies and officials. Protection of environmental resources is key to a sustainable existence. People, wildlife and vegetation need clean water and clean air to survive. Reducing pollution and contaminants are goals that must be achieved to provide for sustainability. Key Concepts NJ has an abundance of natural resources which provide a diversity of habitat for threatened, endangered and rare species of wildlife. Protection of the state’s natural environment allows residents of the state in urban, suburban, and rural areas to have clean air, clean water, adequate water supply, and a quality of life that is enhanced by the continued maintenance of these natural systems. Sustainable communities must consider the impact of global and local climate change on their natural and built environments, and the relationship between local water resources, air quality, energy usage, habitat destruction, light pollution, noise pollution and other environmental impacts. Protect and Conserve Water Resources: Quality and Quantity Enhance Forest and Habitat for Endangered, Threatened, and Rare Species of Flora and Fauna Wetlands Decrease water use by homes, businesses, and the municipality Encourage the installation of low-flow plumbing fixtures on new construction and encourage retrofitting fixtures and plumbing in existing structures. Establish a system for metering and charging for water use. Promote the installation of greywater processing mechanisms to provide water for gardening, car washing, and other non-potable uses. Encourage the installation of water conservation measures such as rainwater barrels, cisterns/ retention pits and dry wells with incentives such as waiving local permitting fees for new development Evaluate and repair water infrastructure Municipalities with sewer systems should assess infrastructure for leaks Municipalities with individual on-site septic systems should monitor the proper functioning of such systems. Stormwater Management Air Quality and Climate Alternative Energy and Energy Reduction Implementation Strategies Protect and Conserve Water Resources: Develop a continuing education program, including proper maintenance of septic systems to avoid malfunction and costly repairs. Quality and Quantity American Planning Association 46 NEW JERSEY CHAPTER
  47. 47. Establish a program regulating the maintenance of septic systems and require proof of pump-outs and inspection upon sale of homes. Eliminate use of pollutants such as pesticides and fertilizers to maintain clean water supply and protect surface water quality. Promote aquifer recharge Enhance Forest and Habitat for Endangered, Threatened, and Rare Species of Flora and Fauna Maintain a Tree Canopy and Replace Cut Trees Maintaining a continuous, large tree canopy is critical to protect endangered, threatened and rare species of plants and animals. Discourage developers, contractors, and homeowners from cutting trees, and require the replacement of trees that are cut. Provide incentives for developers and contractors to design their construction around existing vegetation. Encourage the use of native and other drought tolerant species for landscaping to conserve water, reduce pollution, and attract birds and butterflies. strongly discourage the use of invasive species which can rapidly colonize open areas, causing harm to ecosystems and eliminating the natural benefits of the native species. The plan should briefly discuss why this is important from the perspective of habitat as well as water. Educate residents biodiversity about the importance of Encourage deer and goose management strategies Wetlands and Stream Corridors: Encourage the protection of wetlands to maintain wildlife habitat and protect clean water Promote the preservation of green space in and around urban areas to provide benefits to wildlife and people. Encourage the natural filtration process and reduce flooding through innovative wetlands techniques such as permaculture, bioretention and grass swales. Promote sustainable forestry, even on a small scale, by encouraging the protection and replacement of trees. Establish a monitoring process for protected wetlands in the municipality. Encourage the natural process of terrestrial carbon sequestration, the process through which carbon dioxide from the atmosphere is absorbed by trees, plants and crops through photosynthesis, and stored as carbon in biomass (tree trunks, branches, foliage and roots) and soils. Require the use of native and non-invasive vegetation in new construction and encourage it in established areas. Inform and educate the public about the State’s rules for wetlands protection and the necessity of keeping wetlands CONSERVATION Maintain tree canopy to increase the beneficial effects such as a reduced carbon footprint, reduced ambient temperature and increased aesthetic appeal to a municipality, as well as improved quality of life. Promote the use of native species and the replacement of invasive species with appropriate trees and vegetation will ameliorate a sustainable vegetative environment. Native and non-invasive species maintain a balance in nature that avoids a threat to the diversity of plants and animals. Encourage innovative parcel configuration to discourage an applicant from seeking relief from regulations Require that developers obtain wetlands permits before they submit a development application to a municipality American Planning Association 47 NEW JERSEY CHAPTER
  48. 48. Protect riparian corridors beyond the State minimum of 50 feet surrounding all waterways to 300 feet. Establish a monitoring process for protected stream corridors in the municipality. Improve health and quality of life in rural and residential areas Reduce light pollution to avoid excessive glare and light trespass and to aid the natural mechanisms of birds and other wildlife that require dark skies. Educate the public about and enforce maximum decibel levels that are legally acceptable. Stormwater Management: Reduce Non-Point Source Pollution Provide public education to reduce pollutants in waterways, to eliminate pet waste issues, and to protect stream corridors. Develop protocol for municipal public works to improve sewer systems and avoid government vehicles wash water to run off. Reduce excessive stormwater runoff by reducing impervious cover and increasing vegetation. Promote non-structural and low-impact techniques for stormwater management Encourage the use of dry wells, rain gardens, and pervious pavement, in addition to requiring compact developments. Require low impact development techniques Adopt stormwater triggers that are more stringent than those required by the State Air Quality and Climate: Warmer Climate Develop a baseline carbon footprint to measure current conditions Develop and implement a climate action plan Increase vegetative cover, particularly with trees, to avoid “heat island effect” Alternative Energy and Energy Reduction: Encourage all sectors of the municipality (residents, businesses, schools, places of worship, and government buildings) to reduce energy usage and increase conservation measures. Replace municipal vehicles with those using alternative fuels – electric, biofuels, and solar sources. Develop more pedestrian and bicycle routes in all municipal centers to reduce the need for automobile use. Improve air quality to reduce impacts to long term health and well-being and to reduce human impact on climate change. Plant trees to sequester carbon Establish neighborhood native-plant gardens on public property (rights of way, medians, public playgrounds and other spaces). Promote “anti-idling” campaigns for motor vehicles. Install better-timed traffic lights to avoid excessive stop-and-go traffic. American Planning Association 48 NEW JERSEY CHAPTER

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