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Village of Ridgewood leading Example of Sustainability Planning in New Jersey in Planning for Sustainable Communities Guide


Village of Ridgewood leading Example of Sustainability Planning in New Jersey in Planning for Sustainable Communities Guide
Mar 24, 2014

Ridgewoood NJ, Natural Systems Utilities, LLC (NSU) announces a new publication, “Planning for Sustainable Communities: Master Plan Guidance for New Jersey Officials.” This publication, written and published by the New Jersey Chapter of the American Planning Association (APA-NJ), guides New Jersey municipalities through the process of planning for sustainability in their towns. This effort, led by NSU Senior Planner, Angela S. Clerico, PP/AICP, LEED AP and Co-chair of the APA-NJ’s Sustainability Committee, originated in response to the State’s legislation amending the Municipal Land Use Law to include the Green Building and Environmental Sustainability Plan as an integral part of the municipal master plan. Charles Latini, PP/AICP and APA-NJ Chapter President, comments that “land use planning saves towns money, creates new jobs, and protects natural resources. By doing this in a more sustainable manner we ensure a better future for generations to come.”

This guide deconstructs the traditional municipal master plan and offers new sustainability language to each of the master plan elements, with sound local and global examples that any NJ municipality can tailor to their needs. These changes are occurring at an opportune time, in light of recent extreme weather events and ongoing planning for future events. NJ communities realize that developing short-term resiliency actions and long-term sustainability goals can occur in concert with one another as part of a comprehensive triple bottom line (TBL) approach. TBL is measured by economic, ecological and societal value, and is being applied to municipal planning, ensuring strong ECONOMIC opportunities, preserving NATURAL resources, and creating healthier COMMUNITIES.

NSU’s newly appointed CEO, Chuck Gordon, commented that sustainability planning in New Jersey is very much “in line with how NSU operates its business and its facilities within communities in New Jersey and across the country. NSU takes a comprehensive approach to our operations management and when advising clients on the best solutions for their triple bottom line. We deploy strategies that are in line with the community’s social and environmental values and their financial capabilities.”

“This guide demonstrates how closely linked our economics are with our environment and the well-being of our communities. It gives NJ community’s sound examples for taking a proactive approach to achieving sustainability and developing action plans; similar to the approach taken by the Village of Ridgewood,” said Dennis Doll, CEO of Middlesex Water Company, a partner to NSU on an innovative renewable energy project in the Village of Ridgewood. The Village of Ridgewood’s Green Team, a volunteer-based committee, created a similar action plan for the community which resulted in the Village updating the wastewater treatment plant to incorporate more sustainable technologies. This program included higher efficiency operations, renewable energy production, and recycling of food wastes such as fats, oils, and grease (FOG) from local restaurants and food-related industries.

“It is our intention that communities will use this guide to review their current policies and programs and, like Ridgewood, enhance their practices to be more sustainable,” Ms. Clerico stated. Since the guide was released on February 28, 2014, it has reached over 7,500 individuals and organizations ranging from community environmental commission members to land use attorneys, elected officials, professional planners and engineers. The APA-NJ Sustainability Committee plans to hold educational programs on the topics covered in the guide and as new research and resources emerge the guide will be continually updated with new examples.

The Planning for Sustainable Communities: Master Plan Guidance for New Jersey Officials guide is available at:

For more information on Natural Systems Utilities, LLC, Sustainability Planning, please contact Ms. Clerico at