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New Jersey Future Submits Comments on Proposed Stormwater Rule Amendments

February 4th, 2019 by Louise Wilson

Green street planters, an example of green-infrastructure techniques. Source: EPA

On Dec. 3, 2018, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection published and invited comments on proposed amendments to its stormwater management rule (NJAC 7:8). New Jersey Future submitted comments on Feb. 1, 2019, praising the proposed prioritization of green infrastructure as a key stormwater management strategy and offering suggestions for making the rule clearer and more effective.

New Jersey Future supports clear and predictable state-level rules that facilitate responsible and affordable development and promote sustainable infrastructure solutions that deliver multiple benefits. Improving and clarifying the state’s stormwater management rules is critical to ensuring that new development and redevelopment projects will achieve these goals.

The state’s stormwater management rules are an essential regulatory tool for reducing runoff pollution, but they have heretofore fallen short. In fact, the current stormwater management rule presents obstacles to the use of green stormwater infrastructure, a powerful stormwater management tool that uses or mimics the natural water cycle to manage stormwater close to its source.

The proposed rule amendments are an important first step forward. They remove obstacles to green infrastructure and in fact require its use. Thus, they will result in stormwater management systems that rely much less on “gray” infrastructure (pipes) that can contribute to pollution and flooding, instead featuring green infrastructure practices that will take pressure off of aging pipes and result in cleaner water and fewer flood events. The new green infrastructure requirements also will spark interest among many engineers in honing their green infrastructure design skills through training and education. And they will make the development review process more objective, and therefore more predictable for property owners.

However, these proposed amendments can be made even stronger. Among New Jersey Future’s recommendations:

  • Allow for for more flexible green infrastructure design alternatives, to allow for changing technologies;
  • Include of sidewalks and rooftops in the requirement to treat runoff for water quality, since they contribute significantly to runoff pollution;
  • Reduce the maximum size of drainage areas for green-infrastructure installations, to mimic more closely the way nature infiltrates rainwater;
  • Promote “non-structural” strategies, such as preserving woodland areas, that are also key to effective stormwater infiltration.

Read New Jersey Future’s full comments.

Group of Mayors, Organizations Sends Letter Urging Gov. Murphy To Renew Focus on State Plan

February 1st, 2019 by Elaine Clisham

A group of 18 mayors and organizations concerned with how New Jersey grows and develops has sent a letter to Gov. Murphy, encouraging him to fill the open positions on the State Planning Commission, update the State Plan, and reconstitute the Office of State Planning.

Praising the governor’s efforts so far at putting New Jersey “on a course of economic and environmental vitality” through various targeted planning initiatives, the letter encourages him to tie those individual efforts together via the “overarching blueprint” of a state plan.

An updated state plan, says the letter, would help streamline the state’s resources and deploy them in the most effective and equitable manner, would offer much-needed guidance to counties and municipalities as they confront development decisions, and would provide an updated reference document to guide state legislation on issues of redevelopment, infrastructure, equity and climate resilience.

Read the full letter below.

 

Letter toGov. Murphy re State Plan 01 31-2019 from New Jersey Future

New Jersey Future Statement on Passage of the Clean Stormwater, Flood Reduction Act

January 31st, 2019 by New Jersey Future staff

Flooding on Delaware Avenue in Camden after a rain.

New Jersey Future released the following statement on the Jan. 31, 2019, passage of A2694/S1073, the Clean Stormwater, Flood Reduction Act:

“The passage of this bill provides municipalities, counties, utilities and authorities with a long-needed tool to manage flooding and dirty runoff from rainwater,” said Chris Sturm, New Jersey Future’s managing director for policy and water. “Most importantly, it gives communities a way to access new resources in a fair and equitable manner, and invest in related benefits such as additional green space. We urge the governor to sign it.”
“It has taken a lot of effort on the part of a lot of people to get this bill passed,” said New Jersey Future Director of Government and Public Affairs Missy Rebovich. “We congratulate Sen. Smith on his vision, tenacity and persistence in advocating to give communities this tool, and we look forward to seeing it help keep flood-related damage and costs low and water quality high.”

New Jersey Economic Development Authority Announces $250,000 in Funding for Redeveloping Stranded Assets

January 29th, 2019 by Emily Eckart

The New Jersey Economic Development Authority is accepting applications for its 21st Century Redevelopment Program, which targets the problem of vacant and underutilized corporate campuses and shopping centers across New Jersey.

Municipalities, county governments, and redevelopment agencies can apply for grants to create planning proposals for redeveloping specific stranded assets. Each applicant may request up to $50,000. The total pool of funding available is $250,000. Funding is available through March 4 or until the pool is exhausted  — so early applications are encouraged. Applications will be reviewed by the NJEDA on a first-come, first-served basis.

Applications should present a specific stranded asset as the focus of the planning proposal. The property must have one of the following characteristics:

  • Retail: 750,000 square feet or more with a vacancy rate greater than 25 percent
  • Office: 75,000 square feet or more with a vacancy rate greater than 20 percent for at least three years

Planning proposals can include various strategies for redevelopment, including:

  • Analyzing costs and benefits of retrofitting, redeveloping or regreening the property or properties
  • Driving economic growth for the locality and region
  • Creating greater social, economic, and environmental sustainability
  • Expanding affordable and multi-family housing
  • Attracting employers and a diverse, talented workforce
  • Expanding entrepreneurial opportunities and supporting local businesses
  • Promoting walkable neighborhoods and improving accessibility and mobility
  • Connecting to public transportation
  • Improving livability and healthy outcomes for the local population

Learn more and download application materials on the NJEDA’s website.

New Jersey Becoming Less Dangerous for Pedestrians, but Still Work To Do

January 23rd, 2019 by Elaine Clisham

The 2019 edition of Smart Growth America’s Dangerous By Design report was released today, and overall, the news is good for New Jersey.

The report analyzes pedestrian fatalities between 2008 and 2017 for every state and the District of Columbia. It highlights where pedestrians are at greatest risk by calculating pedestrian fatality rates per 100,000 population, and what it calls a Pedestrian Danger Index, or PDI, which divides the pedestrian fatality rate by the percentage of commuting trips that are made on foot. Fatality data come from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS), and population and commute mode share data come from the 2016 American Community Survey. Read the rest of this entry »

New Jersey Future’s David Kutner To Receive Statewide Planning Award

January 14th, 2019 by New Jersey Future staff

APA NJ to present its Budd Chavooshian Award at annual conference Jan. 24


David Kutner

New Jersey Future Planning Manager David Kutner, who directed the organization’s local recovery planning manager program in six coastal towns after Hurricane Sandy and who has led New Jersey Future’s advocacy work on planning for resiliency, is the 2019 recipient of the American Planning Association-New Jersey chapter’s Budd Chavooshian Award. The award is given to a professional planner for sustained contributions to the profession through distinguished practice, teaching or writing. Read the rest of this entry »

New Jersey Future Welcomes Three New Trustees

January 10th, 2019 by New Jersey Future staff

New Jersey Resources’ Amy Cradic, Newark Alliance’s Aisha Glover, RWJBarnabas Health’s Jen Velez join organization’s board

At its recent annual meeting, New Jersey Future’s Board of Trustees welcomed three new members:

Amy Cradic, vice president of government affairs and policy at New Jersey Resources, joins the board after having served the New Jersey Office of the Governor in several capacities, and prior to that as deputy director and assistant commissioner for the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection. “I am pleased to join this respected organization, focused on so many of the urgent issues that affect New Jersey’s growth,” Cradic said. “It’s an honor to support their work, and to serve with such distinguished fellow trustees.”

Aisha Glover, now president and chief executive officer of the Newark Alliance, previously led the Newark Community Economic Development Corporation, served as vice president of external affairs at the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation, and led a team at the Center for the Urban Environment in New York City. “New Jersey Future has been a tireless advocate for the importance of revitalizing our cities and towns,” said Glover. “This work is critical to the economic future of the state, and I am happy to be asked to join the effort.”

Jen Velez, executive vice president, community and behavioral health at RWJBarnabas Health, previously served for eight years as commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Human Services. “New Jersey Future applies a culture of health lens to all of its work,” said Velez. “Regardless of specific focus area, this approach provides a strong foundation to promote health equity and advance the organization’s forward-thinking initiatives.”

“The breadth and depth of perspective these outstanding individuals bring to the board will serve to strengthen even further the organization’s position as a thought leader in advocating for smart, equitable growth in New Jersey,” said Peter Reinhart, the director of the Kislak Real Estate Institute at Monmouth University and chairman of New Jersey Future’s Board of Trustees. “We’re delighted to welcome them, and grateful for their willingness to share their expertise and wisdom with us.”

Report Gives New Jersey High Marks for Designating Opportunity Zones in Smart-Growth Locations

January 9th, 2019 by Tim Evans

However, communities should guard against possibility of displacing existing residents

New Jersey’s Opportunity Zones. Map courtesy of the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs

The Opportunity Zones program, announced earlier this year, is a new federal program enacted as part of the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act that is designed to attract capital investment into long-neglected neighborhoods characterized by disinvestment and concentration of poverty, by giving preferential tax treatment to funds that invest in projects in such areas. Each state was tasked with choosing its own set of census tracts to be designated as Opportunity Zones, subject to certain income criteria. The Department of Community Affairs administers the program in New Jersey and was responsible for selecting New Jersey’s Opportunity Zone tracts. Read the rest of this entry »

New Population Estimates: New Jersey’s Still Growing, But Slowly

January 2nd, 2019 by Tim Evans

The Bureau of the Census released new annual estimates of state populations in mid-December. A quick analysis shows that New Jersey’s story continues to be one of slow growth. The state’s year-to-year growth of 0.22 percent from 2017 to 2018 is actually the fastest single-year growth rate since 2010-2011, when it grew by 0.41 percent. It shares this distinction with neighbor Delaware (which also posted its fastest growth since 2011 this year) but not with any other Northeastern state, all of which had at least one faster year of growth at some point since 2011. Read the rest of this entry »

Getting Sewage Off Our Streets and Out of Our Rivers

December 18th, 2018 by Moriah Kinberg

A statewide coalition today unveiled Sewage-Free Streets and Rivers, a coordinated campaign across New Jersey communities with combined sewer systems that overflow raw sewage during heavy rainfalls. These overflows can cause sewage backups into basements and streets, and dump an estimated 23 billion gallons of raw sewage into New Jersey’s waterways annually.

“After rains, the raw sewage that spews into our waterways and backs up into the streets of many urban communities poses a significant health threat to people and denies folks their right to access to safely swim, fish and recreate local on local rivers and waterways” said NY/NJ Baykeeper Greg Remaud, one of the partners in the campaign. Read the rest of this entry »

© New Jersey Future, 16 W. Lafayette St. • Trenton, NJ 08608 • Phone: 609-393-0008 • Fax: 609-360-8478

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