March 25th, 2013 by Elaine Clisham
New Jersey Future announced today that Diane Sterner, the founding executive director of the Housing and Community Development Network of New Jersey, is the 2013 recipient of the organization’s Cary Edwards Leadership Award. The award recognizes individuals who have an outstanding commitment to improving the quality of life and promoting smart growth in New Jersey through sustainable land-use policy and practice. The award will be presented at the annual Smart Growth Awards on June 6 at the Metropolitan Room at the Newark Club.
The Housing and Community Development Network of New Jersey, a statewide association of 150 community-based development organizations (CBDOs), was created in 1989 to enhance the efforts of these groups to create housing and economic opportunities, revitalize their communities, and improve the climate for community development. Prior to joining the network, Ms. Sterner worked as a community development consultant with non-profit housing developers and as director of housing and economic development for La Casa de Don Pedro, a community-based organization in Newark. Read the rest of this entry »
March 25th, 2013 by Elaine Clisham
Four innovative projects and three visionary plans comprise the list of winners of New Jersey Future’s 2013 Smart Growth Awards. Chosen from a pool of 23 entries, the winners are: Read the rest of this entry »
March 22nd, 2013 by New Jersey Future staff
This article was written by New Jersey Future intern Julie Morris.
About an hour into the Planning and Redevelopment Tools for Rebuilding the Jersey Shore session at New Jersey Future’s 2013 Redevelopment Forum, panel member Robert Goldsmith asked an important question: Is redevelopment an effective tool for post-Sandy New Jersey? Goldsmith, who is a partner with the law firm of Greenbaum Rowe Smith & Davis, thinks it is, an opinion echoed by fellow panel members and the panel moderator, Lopa Kolluri, deputy chief of staff for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Read the rest of this entry »
March 20th, 2013 by Peter Kasabach
Note: This post was originally published March 14, and has been updated below with a link to New Jersey Future’s comments on the plan.
Late in the afternoon of Tuesday, March 12, the Christie administration released its proposed Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery Action Plan, which outlines how the state plans to utilize its $1.8 billion in federal Sandy-recovery funding. According to the official announcement, “This is the first phase of Community Development Block Grant funds provided to New Jersey by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Additional CDBG recovery funds are expected in the coming months.” Read the rest of this entry »
March 19th, 2013 by New Jersey Future staff
At the 2013 Redevelopment Forum, one of the afternoon sessions was an interactive planning workshop. After luncheon speaker John Fregonese emphasized the importance of participatory planning, it was a natural transition to focus on the value of community participation in identifying opportunities for streetscape improvements that increase an area’s friendliness to pedestrians.
The workshop was conducted in downtown New Brunswick, home to hospitals, restaurants, markets, and residences, all within close proximity and generating abundant street activity. In the first half of the workshop, participants took a walking tour of George Street and French Street to experience first-hand this rapidly changing and vibrant community. Led by James Van Schoick AICP, project coordinator at the Alan M. Voorhees Transportation Center, participants noted crosswalks, street lighting, and maintenance issues, as well as innovative pedestrian infrastructure the city has implemented recently. Read the rest of this entry »
March 13th, 2013 by Chris Sturm
Note: This article was originally published March 8, and has since been re-published to highlight New Jersey Future’s testimony to the Senate Economic Growth Committee and the Assembly Commerce and Economic Development Committee.
New Jersey’s planning and transportation organizations issued a joint statement (PDF) March 7 to urge amendments to the Economic Opportunity Act A3680/S2583. The bill provides a useful update and new funds for New Jersey’s programs to attract and retain jobs, and it increases incentives for small projects. But it also allows too-generous incentives without sufficient regard for smart-growth areas – a fundamental change in policy direction for a state that has traditionally used the State Plan as a blueprint for investment. The bill, if unamended, will enable the subsidization of sprawl and provide incentives for greenfield development over redevelopment. These concerns are echoed in a recent letter from the Central Jersey Transportation Forum (PDF), a long-standing gathering of mayors, county representatives, state agencies, major employers, and non-profit organizations in the broad 25-municipality Route 1 corridor between Trenton and New Brunswick. Read the rest of this entry »
March 13th, 2013 by Chris Sturm
Thanks to bi-partisan sponsors Green, Clifton, Van Drew and Oroho
Better planning tools may soon be available for municipalities, thanks to the cluster development bill, which received unanimous approval in Senate and Assembly committees last week and is now poised for votes in the full Senate and Assembly as early as next week.
New Jersey Future has worked with a powerful, diverse coalition to craft the cluster development bill, which has been introduced as A3761 and S2608. Special recognition goes to bipartisan sponsors Asms. Green (D-22) and Clifton (R-12) and Sens. Van Drew (D-1) and Oroho (R-24). Read the rest of this entry »
March 11th, 2013 by Chris Sturm
New Report Pinpoints Statutory and Regulatory Obstacles
Green infrastructure is the term used to refer to a series of strategies and tactics that seek to manage stormwater and reduce flooding by addressing the problem closer to its source. Communities, developers and citizen groups across New Jersey are experimenting with green infrastructure techniques such as green roofs, planted bioswales, rain barrels and porous pavement. However, as highlighted at New Jersey Future’s Redevelopment Forum, leading jurisdictions like New York City are installing green infrastructure on a far broader scale. Read the rest of this entry »
March 7th, 2013 by Elaine Clisham
U.S. Sens. Lautenberg (D-NJ), Inhofe (R-OK), Crapo (R-ID) and Udall (D-NM) introduced legislation today that could help New Jersey towns and cities put contaminated land, commonly referred to as “brownfields,” back in to economic use.
The Brownfields Utilization, Investment, and Local Development (BUILD) Act of 2013 reauthorizes the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s brownfields program and makes several improvements to how the program functions.
“If you’ve ever been to Harrison Commons, you’ve experienced what brownfields redevelopment can do,” said Peter Kasabach, executive director of New Jersey Future. “This bill has the potential to help other areas of the state with brownfields sites move more quickly to revitalization. We thank Senator Lautenberg and his colleagues for their leadership on this important issue.”
New Jersey has approximately 10,000 brownfield sites, and estimates are that more than 450,000 sites in the United States are contaminated and abandoned. Nearly every community in the country has at least one such site. At a national average of 6.5 acres each, that’s 4,570 square miles of contaminated land across the country that could be helped by the BUILD Act.
According to the Brownfields Coalition of the Northeast, New Jersey has been aggressive in brownfield cleanup and redevelopment as a sustainable development tool, providing grants, loans and other incentives for brownfields redevelopment that communities have combined with federal incentives. The BUILD Act’s timing is opportune for New Jersey, says Brownfields Coalition of the Northeast executive director Sue Boyle, because the state’s incentives are currently over-subscribed.
“Every county in New Jersey boasts successful brownfield redevelopments that have resulted in new uses, ranging from the minor league ball parks in Trenton, Camden or Newark to shopping malls to new residential development, public facilities and park land,” said Boyle. “Those are just some examples of the many brownfield sites across New Jersey that have been successfully cleaned up and rebuilt.”
The BUILD Act would make restoration efforts more flexible and easier by expanding non-profit eligibility to receive brownfields grants and making the process simpler for smaller towns and cities. It also raises the limit for site remediation grants from $200,000 to $500,000 per site. In addition, the new multi-purpose grant authority adds flexibility to allow communities to respond to the highest priority sites with appropriate site assessment and/or cleanup assistance.
To learn more about this bill and the organizations supporting it, please visit the website of the National Brownfields Coalition, which comprises national, state and local organizations including the Brownfields Coalition of the Northeast, that support federal policies that will accelerate cleanup and redevelopment of contaminated and abandoned land. The coalition, part of Smart Growth America, represents diverse economic, community, environmental, and development interests focused on promoting brownfields redevelopment as a core strategy for achieving job growth, community revitalization, and sustainable growth objectives.
March 4th, 2013 by New Jersey Future staff
Our partner NJ Spotlight covers the Forum panel on foreclosures in New Jersey.
While other regions may have higher raw numbers, housing distress was becoming pervasive across the state’s southern counties even before superstorm Sandy, according to participants in New Jersey Future’s 2013 redevelopment forum.
And even though big cities like Phoenix and Las Vegas grab foreclosure headlines, South Jersey communities top the list for a number of unfortunate housing market trends.
Read more at NJ Spotlight: Foreclosure Numbers Paint Bleak Picture of the Garden State