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New Green Team Initiatives - Opportunites

The Green Team is seeking more Borough residents to join them and become involved in developing these programs, which will further South Plainfield’s growth in sustainability. Anyone interested in working on the following projects should contact the committee chair.

Companion Animal Management Plan (C.J. Diana, 908.616.6931. cjdiana@southplainfieldnj.com)

A Companion Animal Management Plan is a tool for Municipalities to establish humane, efficient, and effective solutions to companion animal (cat and dog) issues. The Plan will provide municipalities with a framework for enhanced community quality of life for animals and people, including improved public health, additional social and recreational opportunities, savings of limited and valuable resources, reduction in human-animal and human-human conflicts, and elevated civic pride.

As a first step in creating a Companion Animal Management Plan, last year the Borough Council adopted a Companion Animal Management Pledge. This pledge expressed the intention of publicly soliciting residents, businesses, and other stakeholders to aid the development of a comprehensive plan. Development of a Companion Animal Management Plan recognizes diverse community values and encourages constructive debate among stakeholders while building a sense of community and shared purpose in accordance with the goals of the Sustainable Jersey initiative by ensuring a balance between the needs of pets and their owners and the interests of the wider community.

Anti-idling Education and Enforcement (Alice Tempel, 908-226.7621, atempel@southplainfieldnj.com)

A car is idling when the engine is turned on but the vehicle is not in motion. This practice is not only unnecessary, but also harmful to the environment and our health. New Jersey has had a no-idling regulation for diesel-fueled commercial vehicles since 1972. This law was updated in 2009 to include a provision that no motor vehicle may have its engine running if motionless for more than three consecutive minutes. Despite these provisions, idling continues to occur in communities throughout New Jersey.

The Borough has actively been working to reduce idling since 2011. Signs have been posted around the schools and at municipal buildings. Many businesses also post “no idling” signs. Nevertheless, drivers continue to idle unnecessarily. The Anti-idling committee will develop programs for improved public education, and outreach to the commercial sector to increase the number of businesses that post signs.

Green Building (Robert Longo, 908.754.7004, longo@cornerstoneag.com)

Green Building – also referred to as sustainable or high-performance building – is a collection of better design, construction, and operating practices that have the potential to reduce or eliminate the negative impacts of development on the environment and on human health. Green building programs and guidelines promulgated at national, state, and municipal levels commonly address energy efficiency and carbon emissions reduction, water conservation, waste reduction, sustainably produced materials, indoor air quality, occupant productivity and health, and other components of green building and sustainable development. Volunteers are needed to help develop protocols and educational materials to promote Green Building training, policy and education.

1- Training Municipal staff and volunteers (board members) that regularly interact with builders and developers can participate in one or more green building training sessions to improve their knowledge of green building to facilitate its implementation throughout the community. A curriculum needs to be developed.

2 - Green Building Policy/Resolution Green building practices demonstrate the municipality’s commitment to environmental, economic, and social stewardship practices that reduce operating costs, provide healthy work environments for staff and residents, and demonstrate municipal leadership. The committee will develop a policy that supports green building design and operating practices for municipal facilities, and work to have it adopted by resolution of the Mayor and Council.

3 - Green Building Education Municipalities are encouraged to provide educational information to residents to facilitate the incorporation of green building elements to residential projects. This past April, the Building Department held a Homeowners’ Workshop that incorporated some information about Green Building. The committee will develop additional green building educational materials to be provided at future workshops as well as at the municipal construction office.

Diversity on Boards & Commissions (Robert Longo, 908.754.7004, longo@cornerstoneag.com)

Municipal governments have many opportunities to incorporate social equity issues into local government practice and programs. The Diversity committee will develop an assessment process that allows the Borough to consider the degree of inclusivity in the membership of our municipal boards and commissions. Sustainable Communities strive for board and commission membership that reflects the community profile in terms of race, religion, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, age, political beliefs, physical ability, national origin, cultural identification, national identification, and family structure. This is not to say that people from one group will not do a good job representing people from another. However, diverse board membership encourages the exchange of different perspectives, facilitates innovative problem-solving, and supports social equity in communities.

The Green Team has other ongoing projects. Click on the SP Green Team link on the home page of the Borough’s website (www.southplainfieldnj.com) to learn more.