I'd like to echo the sentiments of Councilman Mello's letter to the editor in the August 9th Hoboken Reporter and lend support to his efforts. Hoboken's population is growing, proper housing is not being met, and our city is unable to deal with the major infrastructure problems (namely sewer, water and power) quickly enough.
Smart and sustainable development can provide the housing types that Councilman Mello mentions: senior, affordable and family-friendly to name a few, with minimal impact on our aging, overburdened infrastructure. It will also aid in upgrading our infrastructure. All new residential development is required to install storm water detention systems to hold storm water back from our sewers until after the storm subsides, so as to reduce flooding. Several innovative developers are currently going one step further, retaining and reusing the water to flush toilets and to irrigate both ground level landscaping and "green" vegetated rooftops, thereby lowering the burden of new development on our water infrastructure, which suffers from almost weekly water main breaks. Building to LEED and Passive House standards typically results in buildings that use 40 percent less water and 50 percent less electricity than standard construction. They also generate power onsite, which further reduces the need to use taxpayer money (which sometimes comes indirectly through our utility bills), to build new fossil fuel burning power plants. This onsite power can be used during power outages to power life safety systems such as emergency hallway lighting, security systems and fire protection systems, power refrigerators & medical equipment, and charge cell phones and electric vehicles. These buildings typically include provisions to encourage the use of said electric vehicles which reduce noise pollution, local air pollution, and are easily charged at home, avoiding the gasoline shortages we experienced in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. Furthermore, these sustainably designed buildings have drastically lower utility bills and maintenances costs, thereby increasing their affordability. Developers can do all of this for Hoboken without one dollar of taxpayer money. These projects are built more quickly than government funded programs because there is no time lost performing studies and waiting for grants.
We need development to meet our needs, so it makes all the sense in the world to update our zoning ordinance to encourage the type of smart development we need and want. Let's all work together to make it happen.
Tom Chartier, PE Chairman
Committee for a Green Hoboken
Helen Manogue, Coordinator
Hoboken Quality of Life Coalition