November 19th, 2013 by Nicholas Dickerson
Revisions (P.L.2013, c. 106) to New Jersey’s Municipal Land Use Law (MLUL) last August permit municipalities to direct land development and preservation through a newly-enhanced noncontiguous cluster tool. To promote interest in and adoption of noncontiguous cluster ordinances, New Jersey Future will sponsor a competitive grant opportunity for the planning and development of a municipal noncontiguous clustering program. Through funding from the Bunbury Company, New Jersey Future is able to offer grant funding for eligible jurisdictions to explore the development of a noncontiguous cluster program through a feasibility study; adopt a noncontiguous cluster ordinance; or overhaul an existing noncontiguous cluster ordinance. New Jersey jurisdictions interested in pursuing a noncontiguous cluster ordinance are encouraged to apply for a $5,000 competitive planning grant from New Jersey Future. The grant application may be downloaded here: PDF | Word with interactive fields. Read the rest of this entry »
November 14th, 2013 by Elaine Clisham
On Nov. 14, the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced the 10 finalist projects in its Rebuild by Design competition, an international effort to bring resilient design solutions to the areas of the region most affected by Superstorm Sandy. Five of the 10 focus either on specific areas in New Jersey, or on regional solutions that include New Jersey. Two of those focus specifically on building a more resilient Shore area, including how to preserve the Shore’s unique culture and how to strengthen its commercial elements. A third project focuses on floodwater management in the city of Hoboken, a fourth on making the Meadowlands area more vibrant and at the same time more resilient, and a regional project addresses the pros and cons of implementing natural protective barriers along the mid-Atlantic coastline. Read the rest of this entry »
November 13th, 2013 by Peter Kasabach
New HUD Sandy Funding Notice Focuses on Infrastructure and Requires Forward-Looking Risk Assessments, Including Considerations of Climate Change
The notice provides additional guidance and direction for the state to conduct science-based risk assessments that will be used to inform infrastructure investments, stating: “Each grantee must describe the science-based risk analysis it has or will employ to select, prioritize, implement, and maintain infrastructure projects or activities. At a minimum, the grantee’s analysis must consider a broad range of information and best available data, including forward-looking analyses of risks to infrastructure sectors from climate change and other hazards, such as the Northeast United States Regional Climate Trends and Scenarios from the U.S. National Climate Assessment, the Sea Level Rise Tool for Sandy Recovery, or comparable peer-reviewed information, as well as the regional analysis developed in Phase 2 of the Rebuild by Design competition.” Read the rest of this entry »
November 5th, 2013 by Nicholas Dickerson
New Jersey Future offers two webinars and a grant to encourage use of updated noncontiguous cluster development tools.
Municipalities interested in planning for compact, walkable communities while preserving open space, farmland, or historic sites should be interested in recent revisions (P.L.2013, c. 106) to New Jersey’s Municipal Land Use Law (MLUL) that enhance municipal land use tools to direct development and preservation. To introduce planners, municipal officials and interested citizens to these updated tools, New Jersey Future and its partners will host a two-part webinar series (Part 1 has been approved for 1.0 AICP-CM credit. Part 2 has been approved for 1.5 AICP-CM Law credits, CLE credits are pending.) this December. The first webinar, on Tuesday, Dec. 3, introduces the enhanced clustering tools for a general audience. The second webinar, on Tuesday, Dec. 10, will examine more of the technical details associated with implementing a non-contiguous cluster plan, and is geared toward municipal planners and attorneys. Attendees of both webinars will also learn more about a grant opportunity that New Jersey Future will offer municipalities for the development of a non-contiguous cluster ordinance. Both webinars are free. Read the rest of this entry »
November 4th, 2013 by Elaine Clisham
Nominations are now open for New Jersey Future’s 2014 Smart Growth Awards! Approved or built projects and adopted plans are all eligible for the awards, which are given to development initiatives throughout New Jersey that best exemplify the ideals of smart growth.
New this year is an addition to the considerations to reflect what the state has learned in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy: that we must take steps to ensure we’re more prepared for the next storm than we were for the last one. Read the rest of this entry »
November 1st, 2013 by Nicholas Dickerson
Strong Towns’ Chuck Marohn addresses the New Jersey Complete Streets Summit
In his keynote presentation before the New Jersey Complete Streets Summit on Oct. 21 at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, Charles “Chuck” Marohn repeated the message that “Complete Streets is a rational response to irrational thinking.” Marohn, who heads Strong Towns, a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to supporting “a model for growth that allows America’s towns to become financially strong and resilient,” used this statement to demonstrate how Complete Streets can help communities recapture investment and retain long-term value after decades of what he considers misguided planning. The “irrational thinking” is his reference to the way planners and communities have tried to perfect transportation and land use design around the automobile, at the expense of the pedestrian and the long-term prosperity of the community. Read the rest of this entry »
October 30th, 2013 by New Jersey Future staff
At a day-long conference, experts shared their concerns about future risks.
“Think of a basketball player dunking a ball,” says Ben Strauss of Climate Central, a news organization focusing on the science of climate change. “It’s hard to dunk, a dunk happens every once in a while, but it’s a pretty rare event. Now what happens if you raise the basketball floor by a few inches?” The result, he says, is that a lot more people would dunk the ball. And if you raise the floor even more, there would only be dunks.
Strauss uses this analogy to explain how just a few inches of change can lead to large consequences, not just in the world of professional sports, but also when it comes to sea levels and their potential impact on flooding. Scientists predict waters along New Jersey’s coast could rise as much as three-and-a-half feet by the end of the century, compounded by the fact that the Jersey Shore is slowly sinking. What’s more, warns Boston University Earth and Environment Professor Tony Janetos, this isn’t just a problem for our children and grandchildren. It’s happening now.
Strauss and Janetos were among nearly two dozen panelists who took part in a day-long conference held at Monmouth University yesterday to coincide with the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Sandy. The event was presented by New Jersey Future, in collaboration with the Union of Concerned Scientists, the New Jersey Recovery Fund, and the university. The overall focus was on how to rebuild the coast to prepare for the impacts of climate change.
October 25th, 2013 by New Jersey Future staff
The gubernatorial candidates have very different approaches to growing the economy and creating jobs.
This is the latest in a series of articles from our friends at NJ Spotlight laying out the critical policy challenges that the next governor and Legislature will face, as well as their positions on these issues.
Buono sees a state with 400,000 unemployed workers unable to find jobs, a state that ranked 47th in economic growth two years in a row, a state that gives $2.1 billion in tax breaks to corporations, but condemns hundreds of thousands to work for a “starvation wage” of $7.25 an hour because its governor vetoed an increase in the minimum wage. She blames the state of the economy on Christie’s failed “trickle-down, supply-side, Romney-style economics.”
Christie sees a state that created 140,000 jobs in four years and bounced back from superstorm Sandy, a state that turned around an anti-business climate by cutting business taxes and blocking a new millionaire’s tax, a state that merged Rutgers and UMDNJ into a mega-university that can help the state compete for biotech and high-tech jobs. Christie said rebuilding the state’s economy was difficult because of the “mess left for us after the Corzine-Buono years.”
October 22nd, 2013 by New Jersey Future staff
Worries about economy have pushed environmental issues almost entirely off candidates’ agendas
This is the second in a series of articles from our friends at NJ Spotlight laying out the critical policy challenges that the next governor and Legislature will face, as well as their positions on these issues.
The state’s open-space preservation program is broke. Electric and gas transmission projects may soon traverse the New Jersey Highlands and the Pine Barrens, forested land previously set aside for protection. Questions abound on where and whether to pull back from the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy along the Jersey Shore.
Not that many years ago, those issues and others likely would have emerged as top concerns and would have been hotly debated in a gubernatorial contest. Not this year: The economy apparently trumps the environment.
In the race between Republican Gov. Chris Christie and Democratic challenger state Sen. Barbara Buono of Middlesex County, the environment rarely has been raised as a topic. Silence prevails, though some say the differences between the two candidates on this issue are as stark as they have ever been in a gubernatorial election.
October 21st, 2013 by New Jersey Future staff
The governor and Legislature need a plan to fund the Gateway Tunnel and Transportation Trust Fund by 2015
This is the first in a series of articles from our friends at NJ Spotlight laying out the critical policy challenges that the next governor and Legislature will face, as well as their positions on these issues.
Two years from now, New Jersey’s governor and Legislature will not only have to come up with an $8 billion plan to fund the Transportation Trust Fund for another five years, but also $3 billion or more if they want New Jersey Transit trains to be able to use Amtrak’s Gateway Tunnel into New York’s Penn Station.
These are two of the most difficult fiscal challenges that the winner of the November 5 gubernatorial election will face, and Republican Gov. Chris Christie and his challenger, Sen. Barbara Buono (D-Middlesex), staked out opposing positions on the importance of a new rail tunnel long before the campaign began.
The Obama administration demonstrated its commitment to the $13.5 billion Gateway Tunnel project when it started construction 17 days ago on a $185 million concrete casement under the Hudson Yards in Manhattan for the rail tunnel to run through. The 800-foot-long “tunnel box” is scheduled for completion in October 2015 — about the same time Northeast Corridor environmental impact studies are scheduled to be completed – and that’s when financing plans have to be put into place.
“What happens when Amtrak comes forward at midterm of the Obama administration, and says ‘You get at least 13 peak hour slots for NJ Transit trains direct into Penn Station. Are you interested?’” asked Martin E. Robins, director emeritus of Rutgers University’s Alan M. Voorhees Transportation Center.