Monday, May 21, 2007

A Sustainable Community

Plainfield and the rest of the world are at a turning point. Greenhouse gases, increasing energy costs, congested roadways, suburban sprawl, vanishing natural resources, need I say more? What can we do in our community to come to grips with our place on the planet. For starters:
* individually, we can all use compact flourescent light bulbs
* as a city we can require green building
* as a nation, we can support government policies to develop new technologies
for clean and renewable energy

As your City Councilman I will fight for what our city can and should do to create a sustainable community for our residents. I want a sustainable community where the air is good to breath, the water healthy to drink, the city is a good place to be outdoors for walking and biking and has ample opportunities for all kinds of athletic activities. Where there is a decreased dependence on cars and buildings are energy efficient.

Earlier this year, I fought to include green building language in developer agreements. As the City Council representative to the Planning Board, I made sure our Master Plan re-examination emphasized green building. I will be fighting for an ordinance to require developers to use LEED standards (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design).

Plainfield is planning development projects. We face some critical choices. Do we want green building or construction as usual. Sounds like a no brainer but remember that GM and Ford didn't install seatbelts voluntarily. They were brought on board kicking and screaming. As a community we will have to require that our new buildings are energy efficient and environment friendly. If not, they will not hold their value relative to new buildings in more progressive towns. This is not a train we want to chase after it has left the station.

Sustainable development means managing stormwater to minimize flooding. It means pedestrian friendly streetscape, public art, farmers markets and open public space. It means shopping, jobs and residential areas are in proximity to each other.

If development projects can't meet our standards for sustainable, people friendly neighborhoods, then we should hold out for projects that will.

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