Working for Smart Growth:
More Livable Places and Open Spaces

 

Future Factsrss

Opinion: Bill To Reform Meadowlands Commission an Ill-Planned Clean-Up Attempt

March 26th, 2015 by New Jersey Future staff

The following opinion article originally ran in The Star-Ledger and on nj.com, and is cross-posted here with permission of its author, Charles Latini. Mr. Latini is the current president of the American Planning Association‘s New Jersey chapter.


Source: flickr user Doc Searls

Source: flickr user Doc Searls

It wasn’t that long ago that the Meadowlands was a sea of unregulated landfills, filled wetlands, polluted waterways and diminishing wildlife populations. A Wild West of waste management. Fast forward forty-five years and you now see an ecotourism destination – thriving wetlands, serving as habitat for avian species, and a diverse economy of industrial, commercial and residential investment, including MetLife Stadium.

This didn’t happen by accident. It happened because of the creation of the Hackensack Meadowlands Development Commission, now known as the New Jersey Meadowlands Commission, in 1969. It happened because of a commitment to both environmental revitalization and economic development. It happened because of the commission’s authority to control zoning and development from a region-wide perspective, and their adoption of the Meadowlands Master Plan. And it happened because of the tax sharing structure adopted for the region that provided a groundbreaking alternative to the municipal chase for short-term tax ratables, at the expense of long-term planning. Read the rest of this entry »

Meadowlands ‘Cleanup Bill’ Needs Cleaning Up

March 18th, 2015 by Peter Kasabach

Questions remain about why Liberty State Park development rights are included in this bill.

The New Jersey Turnpike as it passes over the Meadowlands. Photo source: flickr user illinigardner

The New Jersey Turnpike as it passes over the Meadowlands. Photo source: flickr user illinigardner

The proposed Meadowlands “cleanup” bill, intended to correct the flaws and shortcomings in the legislation that folded the Meadowlands Commission into the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority, in fact has not gone far enough to address problems in the original legislation, and has created several new problems. New Jersey Future has submitted formal comments urging that the bill be amended significantly before it reaches the governor’s desk for signing, where the rubber stamp awaits. Read the rest of this entry »

Forum Keynote: Opportunities (and Challenges) for Great Change

March 18th, 2015 by Elaine Clisham

LRichardsIn her luncheon keynote at Redevelopment Forum 2015, Congress for the New Urbanism President and Chief Executive Officer Lynn Richards made the three-part case that a) this is the perfect time to be advocating for changes in how we grow and develop; b) there are great opportunities for successful redevelopment at all scales; but c) there are also challenges that must be navigated. Full presentation. Read the rest of this entry »

Release of Combined-Sewer Permits Should Trigger Generational Investments in Affected Communities

March 17th, 2015 by Jane Rosenblatt

Hoboken's proposed Southwest Resiliency Park, an example of "green" infrastructure intended to capture stormwater before it runs into the city's sewer system.

Hoboken’s proposed Southwest Resiliency Park, an example of “green” infrastructure intended to capture stormwater before it runs into the city’s sewer system.

On March 12, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection issued final permits to the 25 cities and utilities that operate combined-sewer systems (CSSs), a first step to updating decrepit infrastructure, minimizing flooding and keeping raw sewage from reaching public waterways. The new permits require affected towns and sewer treatment authorities to create and adopt plans to address the problems triggered by what are known as combined sewer overflows (CSOs). These overflows occur when a system that handles both stormwater and sewage is overwhelmed by rain or snowmelt, causing untreated sewage to be discharged into local waterways, and sometimes into streets and basements. Read the rest of this entry »

State’s Application to National Disaster Resilience Competition Is Strong, Can Be Stronger

March 12th, 2015 by Megan Callus

New Jersey Future supports the application and suggests ways to strengthen it to ensure resilience for all affected residents, especially the most vulnerable

NDRC photo 2On March 6, New Jersey Future submitted comments (pdf) on The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection’s draft application (pdf) to the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development’s National Disaster Resilience Competition. The application makes New Jersey potentially eligible to receive up to $1 billion in federal funds. Modeled on the Rebuild By Design effort, the competition for communities recently struck by natural disasters was devised to help communities recover from disasters and improve their ability to prepare for and withstand future disasters. Read the rest of this entry »

COAH Decision Will Allow New Jersey To Move Forward With Fair Housing Process

March 10th, 2015 by Peter Kasabach

home at bailey corner

Home at Bailey Corner in New Jersey, an affordable-housing collaboration between Pilesgrove and Woodstown.

Today’s New Jersey Supreme Court decision (pdf) allows low- and moderate-income families and their advocates to challenge exclusionary zoning in court, rather than having to wait for the Council on Affordable Housing (COAH) to issue updated rules. While this process is a throwback to pre-COAH days, it does break a long-standing logjam and should allow the planning and provision of fair housing to proceed once again.

In rendering its unanimous decision, the court agreed with petitioner Fair Share Housing Center that COAH had run out of time to comply with previous court orders to promulgate new rules regarding municipalities’ affordable-housing obligations that comply with the state’s Mount Laurel decision. While recognizing that the Fair Housing Act, which established COAH in 1985, showed a strong preference for administrative rather than judicial resolution to affordable-housing disputes, the court acknowledged that COAH’s inaction means it is not currently a viable avenue for appeal. Read the rest of this entry »

New Jersey Enters National Disaster Resilience Contest

February 27th, 2015 by Megan Callus

Successful applicants will receive up to $1 billion in funding for project design and implementation

NDRC photo

Photo courtesy of WKXW

The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection posted its draft application for the National Disaster Resilience Competition (pdf) on Friday, Feb. 20, making it potentially eligible to receive up to $1 billion in federal funds.

The U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development announced the competition on Sept. 17, 2014, allowing communities recently struck by natural disasters to compete for $1 billion in funding. Modeled on the Rebuild By Design effort, the goal of the competition is to help communities recover from natural disasters and improve their ability to prepare for and withstand future disasters. The competition is structured in two phases: (1) risk assessment and planning; and (2) design and implementation. Read the rest of this entry »

DEP Approves Permits To Restore Assunpink Creek

February 19th, 2015 by Jane Rosenblatt

A rendering of the completed Assunpink "daylighting" project. Courtesy of BRS, Inc. for the City of Trenton.

A rendering of the completed Assunpink daylighting project. Courtesy of BRS, Inc. for the City of Trenton.

On Feb. 12 the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) announced it has approved permits to restore a 500-foot-long stretch of the Assunpink Creek that runs underground along Broad Street in downtown Trenton. The restoration will include removal of the culvert that covers the creek, allowing it to be “daylighted” and the banks on either side of it to be planted with native riparian vegetation. The restoration will also restore fish habitat, and a planned pedestrian walkway will connect sections of the Assunpink Greenway. The $4 million project is set to be completed by spring 2016.

New Jersey Future has been involved with the project, in particular with facilitating public outreach and engagement, and with expediting the process from design to implementation. Read the rest of this entry »

New Jersey Future Trustee Ingrid Reed Wins AIA-NJ Award

February 18th, 2015 by Elaine Clisham

Ingrid Reed AIA-NJ award croppedAt a ceremony on Jan. 9, the New Jersey chapter of the American Institute of Architects presented the 2014 Resident of the Year Award to New Jersey Future trustee and senior fellow Ingrid W. Reed.

The award recognizes “a person who has made major contributions to the built environment and the quality of life through community activity, legislative involvement, professional (non-architect) practice or by means of other appropriate activities,” says the association. Read the rest of this entry »

Experts Detail Challenges of Adapting to Climate Change

February 17th, 2015 by New Jersey Future staff

With global warming already occurring, the state needs to adapt to its impact even as it takes steps to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions, according to a panel of experts at a NJ Spotlight roundtable on preparing New Jersey for climate change. Participants in the forum in Trenton on Friday predicted that… Read the rest of this entry »

© New Jersey Future, 137 West Hanover Street • Trenton, NJ 08618 • Phone: 609-393-0008 • Fax: 609-393-1189