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Best Practices in Sustainable Community Planning
Activity Code: S546
Date: Monday, April 15
Hosted by: Sustainable Community Interest Group (DIVISION).
Many communities desire sustainable development but struggle with outdated plans and regulations that hinder key projects and lack resources to make necessary updates. This session will present three key resources to help such municipalities foster sustainable growth—A Technical Guidance Manual for Sustainable Neighborhoods, A Sustainable Land Use Self-Assessment Toolkit, and A Green Redevelopment Guide—and two detailed case studies demonstrating how planners and policy makers can implement these concrete sustainable development strategies.
The session will feature two detailed case studies that demonstrate how communities can build sustainability into standard planning practice and regulatory measures.
In 2011, the City of Jersey City, New Jersey, began an initiative to encourage developers in the City’s designated redevelopment areas to incorporate sustainability measures into their redevelopment agreements. The City’s Redevelopment Agency then hired a planning firm and policy center to research best practice models and develop a guidance document that would incentivize sustainable growth and would ultimately lead to Jersey City’s own sustainable development rating system. The guidance document has been completed, with standards targeted for each redevelopment area, and the planning and legal consultants are currently in the process of turning those standards into a comprehensive rating system. The process undergone in Jersey City is easily replicable in communities across the country.
In 2012, the City of Mount Vernon, New York, embarked on a project to develop a targeted Green Mixed-Use District Ordinance to spur sustainable, mixed-use development along a commercial corridor within the City while improving the ability of and reducing the costs for projects in this zone to use energy efficient designs and technologies and renewable energy systems. As part of the project, a proposed mixed-use zoning district ordinance was analyzed using the Technical Guidance Manual for Sustainable Neighborhoods in order to identify possible adjustments for further incentivizing and eliminating barriers to sustainable development. If the City implements these recommendations, the resulting zone will call for green mixed-use development, as defined by the land development standards of the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED for Neighborhood Development rating system.
Planners charged with the process in each of these cities will walk participants through their approach, highlighting replicable techniques and lessons learned.