100 Ideas for New Paltz

11. make all new buildings green buildings

Create requirements in the housing codes of the Town and Village requiring all new construction to meet minimum LEED standards, with incentives of expedited review or density bonuses to those who exceed the minimum standards.


46. lay out concrete step-by-step plans for carbon reduction

Posted in agriculture, climate change, energy, environment, green building, parks, smart growth by Jason West on June 11, 2009

Once a concrete number defining the Four Governments’ carbon footprint is established, design a program of tree plantings, green building codes, public transit, automobile usage reduction, etc. to not only reduce our collective carbon footprint, but to reverse it, making New Paltz into a carbon sink.

47. sign the town on to the united nations urban environmental accords

In 2005, I was fortunate to help draft the United Nations Urban Environmental Accords.  At that year’s U.N. World Environment Day, 75 Mayors from around the globe met for the United Nations World Conference of Mayors. On behalf of the Village of New Paltz, I signed the original Accords, joining dozens of mayors from cities like London, Rome, Moscow, Kiev and Kampala, Uganda.

Here’s the text of the Accords:

and some related material:

48. get new paltz to meet the highest standards of the united nations urban environmental Accords

Create a program for the Village and a program for the Town for both meet the Five-Star rating of the UN Urban Environmental Accords

50. provide developers with trained green building pros

Posted in energy, environment, green building, planning and construction, stormwater by Jason West on June 11, 2009

Require all Town and Village Building Inspectors to be LEEDS-certified professionals, to be able to advise builders on how to improve the sustainability of their projects.

51. encourage investment in long-term capital heavy green building practices

Posted in green building, planning and construction by Jason West on June 11, 2009

Give an expedited approvals process to developers who invest in long-term or capital-heavy green building practices such as living roofs or solar.


52. put living roofs on bus shelters

Posted in environment, green building, public transit, stormwater by Jason West on June 11, 2009

There are obvious benefits to this in terms of increasing biodiversity, retaining stormwater, and keeping the bus shelters cooler in the summer, but for the most part I just think they look cool.

green roof bus shelter

74. create the city of new paltz

Merge the Town and Village into the City of New Paltz, thereby increasing New Paltz’ share of county sales tax revenue, federal aid and aid to police, fire and ambulance services. “City” doesn’t have to mean lower Manhattan; we can show people how to do it right.

75. use the industrial and commercial incentive board to create green collar jobs

Posted in environment, green building, local economy, planning and construction by Jason West on June 11, 2009

Utliize the Town’s Industrial and Commerical Incentive Board to draw green collar industries to New Paltz.

The ICIB is created pursuant to Section 485(b) of the New York State Real Property Tax Law.  The basic responsibilities of the ICIB are to set the terms of property tax reductions and incentives to attract business to the community.  In legalese, this translates to the followng, taken from section 485(b) linked above:

(b) The industrial and commercial incentive board shall present a plan to the appointing local legislative body concerning the various types of business real property which should be granted eligibility for an exemption pursuant to subdivision one of this section. Such plan shall make recommendations concerning the applicability of the exemption to specific sectors and subsectors, as defined in the North American Industry Classification System published by the United States Government. Such plan shall also make a recommendation as to whether the exemption be computed as provided in subdivision two or twelve of this section. In addition, such plan shall identify specific geographic areas within which such exemptions should be offered. In developing the plan required by this paragraph, the board shall consider the planning objectives of each municipality within which such exemptions may be offered, the necessity of the exemption to the attraction or retention of such business and the economic benefit to the area of providing exemptions to various types of businesses.
(c) In addition, the board may make recommendations to the appointing local legislative body with respect to actions it deems desirable to improve the economic climate therein.

It would take a bit of research to figure out how to target green industries in particular, but I believe this would be feasible under the general principle of Home Rule Law that localities may make laws more restrictive than enabling legislation, but not less restrictive.  For example, the State of New York protects wetlands of one hectare (12.4 acres) or larger.  So a municipality may pass laws that supercede state law to protect wetlands that are smaller than one hectare, but may not pass  a law superceding state law to eliminate protection of wetlands altogether, or that only mandates protection of wetlands larger than one hectare.

76. use the revolving loan fund to encourage green-collar jobs

Posted in green building, local economy by Jason West on June 11, 2009

Set up the Village Revolving Loan Fund as a micro-loan program for green-collar job creation and green building renovations.