Council pledges sustainable land use

City Council approved a resolution toward sustainable land use, endorsing to follow a variety of principles related to land use, transportation, green design, and regional cooperation.

The governing body unanimously adopted AR-113-16 at its May 23 special meeting.

“Given New Jersey’s strong tradition of home rule and local authority over planning and zoning, achieving a statewide sustainable land use pattern will require municipalities to take the lead,” the resolution states. “Land use is an essential component of overall sustainability for a municipality, and poor land-use decisions can lead to an increase societal ills, such as decreased mobility, high housing costs, increased greenhouse gas emissions, loss of open space, and the degradation of natural resources.”

The resolution states that the city will include the following principles in the next Master Plan revision and re-examination report and update land-use zoning, natural resource protection, and other ordinances:

  • Regional cooperation: Reach out to administrations of neighboring towns about land-use decisions and take into consideration regional impacts of land-use decisions.
  • Transportation choices: Consider all modes of transportation, including walking, biking, transit and cars, when planning transportation projects and reviewing development applications. “We will re-evaluate our parking with the goal of limiting the amount of required parking spaces, promoting shared parking, and other innovative parking alternatives, and encouraging structured parking alternatives where appropriate.” City Council adopted a resolution endorsing a Complete Streets policy last summer.
  • Natural resource protection: Complete a Natural Resources Inventory, identifying and assessing the extent of natural resources and to link natural resource management and protection to carrying capacity analysis, land-use and open space planning.
  • Mix of land uses: Use zoning power to allow for a mix of residential, commercial, recreational, and other land use types in areas that make the most sense for the town and the region, particularly in downtown and town center areas.
  • Housing options: Through use of zoning and “revenue-generating powers,” foster a diverse mix of housing types and locations, including single- and multi-family, for-sale and rental options, to meet needs of people at a range of income levels.
  • Green design: Incorporate principles of green design and renewable energy generation into municipal buildings to the extent feasible and when updating site plan and subdivision requirements for residential and commercial buildings.
  • Municipal facilities siting: To the extent feasible, take into consideration factors such as walkability, bikeability, greater access to public transit, proximity to other land-use types, and open space when locating new or relocated municipal facilities.

City Council adopted a related resolution which will be covered in an upcoming blog post.

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