Sustainable Jersey Community Certification Report

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This is the Sustainable Jersey Certification Report of Cranbury Twp (Middlesex), a Sustainable Jersey bronze certified applicant.

Cranbury Twp (Middlesex) was certified on October 10, 2016 with 155 points. Listed below is information regarding Cranbury Twp (Middlesex)’s Sustainable Jersey efforts and materials associated with the applicant’s certified actions.

Contact Information

The designated Sustainable Jersey contact for Cranbury Twp (Middlesex) is:

Name:Barbara Rogers
Title/Position:Environmental Commission Chairperson / Environmental Commission
Address:21 Shady Brook Lane
Cranbury, NJ 08512
Phone:609-716-0783

Sustainability Actions Implemented

Each approved action and supporting documentation for which Cranbury Twp (Middlesex) was approved for in 2016 appears below. Note: Standards for the actions below may have changed and the documentation listed may no longer satisfy requirements for that action. Additionally, points associated with actions prior to 2013 certifications may not be accurate.

  • Community Partnership & Outreach

    Create Green Team

    10 Points Bronze Mandatory

    Program Summary:

    In early 2012, the Cranbury Green Team was established. Through the efforts of the Cranbury Environmental Commission and the Cranbury Township Committee, a Green Team Resolution was written and adopted at the February 2012 Cranbury Township Committee meeting (see uploaded file, Green Team Res Upload). The resolution indicates that the seven members of the Environmental Commission would be appointed as the Green Team, to lead and coordinate sustainability activities for the community. Several Environmental Commissioners are also members of other commissions (Parks) and boards (Planning) which provides opportunities to advocate for sustainability in other parts of the township government. The Green Team’s priority for the past year was to become a certified Sustainable Jersey town at the Bronze level. It was an opportunity to find out what the town has already accomplished in the area of sustainability and areas that still need improvement. Action items were selected by the Green Team from the Sustainable Jersey Website. These items were researched by individuals of the Green Team and employees of the township. Supporting documents were obtained and particular actions that needed to be accomplished to complete an action item were pursued. For instance, the Community Forestry Plan was already completed by the Shade Tree Commission but a Tree Canopy Goal needed to be implemented and adopted. A member of the Green Team guided the Shade Tree Commission in calculating the current Cranbury Tree Canopy and the Shade Tree decided on adopting a 30% Tree Canopy Goal. At a recent Cranbury Environmental Commission meeting, the Green Team reviewed and identified the current group members and its association with the Cranbury Township Committee (see page 1, Sustainable Jersey Section, of uploaded file, Green Team Reorg EC Minutes). The Green Team actively communicates with the township government by working closely with the township clerk and having several team members serving on other township boards. In addition, a township committee member attends our meetings regularly acting as a liaison between the Green Team and the township government officials. 2016 Update: At a recent EC meeting, March 16, 2016, the Green Team members were reviewed and approved (see attached 2016 Green Team Reorg EC Minutes). The Green Team has been active with open space initiatives, updating the ERI, organizing SJ recertification, creating a school Green Team and working on the Sustainable Jersey School certification.

  • Farmland Preservation

    Farmland Preservation Plans

    10 Points

    Program Summary:

    Farmland preservation has been a central theme of land use planning in Cranbury Township for over 16 years. Approximately 64% (more than 2000 acres) of agricultural land in Cranbury Township is designated as permanently preserved farmland. Nearly all (83%) of Cranbury's preserved farmland is actively farmed. Cranbury's Master Plan includes a Farmland Preservation element which is consistent with regional goals described in the Middlesex County Comprehensive Farmland Preservation Plan. To set aside agricultural land, Cranbury Township uses proactive municipal planning and zoning approaches including the purchase of development rights under the Farmland Preservation Program of the New Jersey State Agriculture Development Committee (SADC), promotion of lot averaged development patterns, and the acquisition of agricultural properties. In collaboration with the Middlesex County Agricultural Development Board (CADB), Cranbury has established an Agricultural Development Area and a plan for its preservation as farmland. The Township Farmland Preservation Plan includes a list of properties eligible for farmland preservation and a proposed strategy to place them under agricultural zoning. In addition, the Township adopted a Right to Farm ordinance to help farmers stay on agriculturally valuable land. The most recent farmland preservation action by Cranbury Township was the attempted purchase of the approximately 72-acre Protinik farmland easement on Dey Road in April 2013 (Cranbury Township Bond Ordinance #04-13-11) (see uploaded file, FP TC Bond Ordinance 040813). However, the property owner’s withdrew their application, which had been submitted through the Middlesex County Farmland Preservation Program in 2014, without further consultation with the Township. The Cranbury Township Committee has an Open Space Sub Committee that operates on a case by case basis. The Open Space Sub Committee member represents the township on the CADB. There has not been any activity related to the properties listed in Cranbury as eligible for farmland preservation, therefore, the sub committee has not had to meet. The only activity was Iafelice Farm which was deemed not eligible for the Farmland Preservation Program due to acreage issue. The landowner of the 32-acre Iafelice Farm on Dey Road presented a farmland easement purchase application to the CADB in July 2015 (see uploaded file, FP CADB Minutes 072215). However, the CADB determined that the property was not eligible for the Farmland Preservation Program, as it did not satisfy the minimum eligibility criteria for tillable area (see uploaded file, FP CADB Minutes 101415).

  • Innovation & Demonstration Projects

    Raingardens

    10 Points

    Program Summary:

    VILLAGE PARK RAIN GARDEN The Cranbury Township Environmental Commission and Parks Commission partnered with the Rutgers Cooperative Extension (RCE) Water Resources Program to design and install a rain garden at Village Park during September 2014, with the help of township resident volunteers and equipment donation from two local businesses. The rain garden in Village Park is 600 square feet in size and intercepts stormwater runoff before it enters Brainerd Lake. The drainage area which contributes to the rain garden is approximately 3000 square feet and captures 2,400 gallons for a New Jersey design rainfall event of 1.25 inches. This equates to a 67,320 gallon volume treated annually. The design also incorporated a swale construction to improve drainage to the rain garden. Over 150 native perennial species plants line the base and sides of the rain garden. The plants include turtlehead, spotted Joe-Pye weed, spotted horsemint, cinnamon fern, royal fern, sweet pepperbush and meadowsweet. Maintenance is provided by volunteer groups including local scouts and garden clubs. An educational sign discussing the Village Park rain garden is posted for park visitors to read. The sign provides basic information about the purpose and function of rain gardens as well as specifics of the Village Park rain garden design. There is a QR code on the sign for use by those with smart phones or other web enabled devices. This links back to the Cranbury Township Environmental Commission webpage and allows visitors to learn more about the plants and design of the rain garden. Detailed fact sheets for these native plants and design detail drawings are provided. The webpage provides additional educational links to the Rutgers Cooperative Extension Water Resources Program website which offers literature to help home owners design and install a rain garden at their property. Visit [http://www.cranburytownship.org/vp-raingarden/vp-index.html ] for more information.

  • Land Use & Transportation

    Green Building and Environmental Sustainability Element

    10 Points

    Program Summary:

    The Green Building and Environmental Sustainability Element was adopted in the 2010 Cranbury Township Master Plan. The overall goal of this element is to address energy, land use, transportation and waste. It provides a review of Cranbury Township's existing sustainability efforts, including farmland and open space preservation, stormwater regulation, renewable energy projects, an Environmental Resource Inventory, and a municipal energy audit. Sustainability goals and objectives listed in other elements of the master plan include encouraging wind and solar projects in industrial areas, continuing to preserve farmland, exploring options for bike and walking paths, adopting a stream corridor conservation overlay ordinance, and encouraging backyard composting. The Green Building and Environmental Sustainability Element contains a “green plan goals and objectives” section which suggests participation in the Sustainable Jersey program, education of the public on the importance of energy efficiency and conservation measures, and making municipal buildings and operations more sustainable.

    Sustainable Land Use Pledge

    10 Points Bronze Priority Silver Priority

    Program Summary:

    In January 2013, the Cranbury Green Team decided that one of the first steps toward Sustainable Jersey Certification should include adopting a Sustainable Land Use Pledge. Although obtaining certification status is in the 2010 Cranbury Master Plan, the coordination of sustainable activities for certification has not been a township priority. Therefore, the Green Team decided to draft and have the township adopt a Sustainable Land Use Pledge. The Green Team obtained a model Sustainable Land Use Pledge from the Sustainable Jersey website. Each member selected one of the seven sections (regional cooperation, transportation choices, natural resource protection, mix of land use, housing options, green design, and municipal facilities siting) to assess whether Cranbury’s land use practices aligned with these sections. At the follow up meeting, the members determined that Cranbury already has in place many of the recommendations contained in the land use pledge. The draft pledge was emailed to the township clerk, who placed it on the Township Committee agenda for discussion and distributed it to the Township Committee, the township’s lawyer and other necessary township officials for review. The Green Team presented the pledge to the Township Committee on Mach 11, 2013. After minor changes to the resolution, it was adopted by the Cranbury governing body. The secretary of the Planning and Zoning Boards distributed the adopted resolution to board members. With the adoption of the Sustainable Land Use Pledge, the Township Committee confirmed its commitment to sustainable land use practices that will balance economic, environmental and social needs with a high quality of life for residents. The Cranbury Press, a local newspaper, followed up with a front page article on Friday March 22, 2013 “Town Seeks ‘Sustainable’ Status”. The article is submitted along with the pledge (see uploaded documents).

  • Natural Resources

    Environmental Commission

    10 Points

    Program Summary:

    As described in Chapter 16 of the Township of Cranbury Code, an Environmental Commission was established in 1972 (see uploaded file, EC Ordinance). Since that time, the EC has been an active advisor to the Township Planning Board and leader on environmental issues and sustainability within Cranbury. The EC consists of seven members appointed by the Mayor; one of the members is also a member of the Planning Board. One member is designated the Chairman and presiding officer, and the member terms are 3 years (except when filling an incomplete term). The EC also has two alternate members. Meetings are the third Monday night of each month at 7 pm. The EC takes the lead in many programs that raise awareness and directly address environmental issues (see uploaded file, EC Year End Report). Some of these programs include: · Leading the Green Team on sustainability actions within the township and initiating the actions necessary for Cranbury School to become a registered Sustainable Jersey School; · Eradication of invasive plant species and planting native species in public passive recreation areas (for example, the Cranbury Preserve); · Working with Stony Brook Millstone Watershed Association on stream cleanups; · Constructing and maintaining signs and trails in the public passive recreation areas; · Working with Scouts and school groups on environmental education initiatives such as water quality and recycling; · Providing the annual Meiss Award to a graduating Cranbury School (8th grade) student who has been a positive environmental role model; · Updating and maintaining the Township’s Environmental Resource Inventory (ERI); · Working with the Shade Tree Commission and Park Commission on various issues and projects; · Reviewing development plans and providing suggestions for improvement to the Planning Board; · Staffing a booth at the Cranbury Day outdoor fair each year to explain the EC’s work and promote sustainable activities; and · Participating on a subcommittee to amend Cranbury's Riparian Zone Ordinance.

    Environmental Commission Site Plan Review

    10 Points

    Program Summary:

    The Cranbury Environmental Commission has implemented the following process to ensure that all development applications are reviewed for possible adverse environmental impact. First, a member of the Environmental Commission serves on the Cranbury Township Development Review Committee (DRC). The DRC performs a preliminary review of all development applications prior to these applications being sent to either the Zoning Board or the Planning Board for final review. The EC's participation on this committee is intended to allow us to advise applicants at the earliest possible opportunity of potential environmental issues within their site plan. Although all environmental issues are considered, the majority of the EC's focus has been on issues involving stream buffers, wetlands, stormwater management, hazardous soil mitigation, and the use of non-invasive native trees and vegetation. If an applicant indicates that an environmental issue contained in their site plan cannot (or will not) be changed – despite the advice given by the EC member at the DRC meeting – the application and the issue will be brought before the full Environmental Commission at the next EC meeting. If warranted, a memorandum summarizing the EC's concerns, recommendations, and/or advice will then be sent to the appropriate Township government body.

    Natural Resource Inventory

    20 Points Bronze Priority Silver Priority

    Program Summary:

    Updated Natural / Environmental Resource Inventory Via a Sustainable Jersey Grant: The updating of the original 2006 Cranbury Township ERI, completed in March 2016, has produced a much more comprehensive document for use as a planning tool to assist Cranbury Township balance the ongoing development within the Township while protecting and enhancing the sensitive environmental resources in the Township (see uploaded file, ERI Cranbury 2016). The updated ERI provides over 30 maps (as opposed to 11 in the original 2006 ERI) depicting key climate, geologic, soils, water resources, wetlands, air quality, land use, and wildlife information on the resources in the Township. All of the existing data and text in the original ERI has been updated, as required, and new data and text has been provided for the additional maps included in the updated ERI. The Cranbury Township Environmental Commission took the opportunity in updating the ERI to expand on the key characteristics of the Township that make Cranbury a special community. Discussions on the Village Historic District, as well as the open space within the Township have been expanded in the updated ERI. Additional mapping, data, and text on the parks, wildlife preserves, and farmland preservation have been included on the updated ERI. In updating the ERI, the Environmental Commission has also provided links to other key documents and information that are important in the planning process. Links to the Cranbury Township Master Plan, the Open Space component of the Master Plan, the Middlesex County Farmland Preservation Plan are provided in the applicable sections of the updated ERI. The link to the Parks Committee’s web site provides useful information on all of the parks and wildlife preserves within the Township. The Township Committee has passed a resolution to update and adopt the ERI (see file uploaded, ERI TC Resolution 2016). The updated ERI will be incorporated into the Township’s Master Plan. The Township has made the future updating of the Environmental Resource Inventory the responsibility of the Environmental Commission / Green Team. The ERI will be updated as necessary as priorities and conditions in the community change and coinciding with the updating of the Township’s Master Plan (see uploaded file, ERI Cranbury MP Update).

    Open Space Plans

    10 Points

    Program Summary:

    In May 2006, the Cranbury Planning Board formed the Cranbury Open Space and Recreation Subcommittee. It was composed of members from the Cranbury Township Planning Board, Board of Education, Township Committee, Environmental Commission, Recreation Commission, Park Commission, Human Services Board as well as the Township engineer, Planning Board attorney and Township planners. The members met once a month from June to September and twice a month in October and November at Cranbury Town Hall. Two public meetings which included breakout work sessions (June 17 and October 18, 2006)---one focusing on active recreation, and the second on passive recreation----were particularly important in guiding the scope of the subcommittee’s work and directing the needs and priorities of the town’s open space plans. A review of prior planning efforts, most notably the 1993 Master Plan and the 2000 Open Space and Recreation Plan (OSRP) for Cranbury, and extensive public input were also important in drafting the initial report. The draft report was created and circulated for the subcommittee’s review and was forwarded to the Cranbury Planning Board for consideration at a public meeting. After public comments and questions on April 19, 2007 and additional changes made to the draft, the revised version was adopted at a public Planning Board Meeting on October 4, 2007. The 2007 OSRP is referenced throughout the 2010 Cranbury Master Plan. The OSRP recommends making improvement to Cranbury’s existing parks (both active and passive) to increase their utilization, keeping preserved open space in its natural state, and accommodating farming operations where approved.

  • Tree & Woodlands Management

    Community Forestry Plan and Tree Cover Goal

    20 Points

    Program Summary:

    The Cranbury Township Shade Tree Commission earned 9.0 CEU’s in 2015 with the attendance of three commissioners at the NJ Invasive Species Conference on April 1, 2015. Arbor Day was recognized on April 24, 2015 at the town ballfield behind the Cranbury School. Second graders, teachers, family members, school staff, township employees and volunteers joined members of the Shade Tree Commission to plant a sugar maple. Cranbury was named a Tree City USA by the Arbor Day Foundation for the 27th year. Regular articles were contributed to the quarterly Cranbury Township newsletter that included guidelines for mulching, tree care tips, leaf composting, proper planting techniques, avoiding utility wires, and more (http://www.cranburytownship.org/newsletters_main.html). The Shade Tree Commission wrote and posted an FAQ page on the Shade Tree page on the township website (http://www.cranburytownship.org/Frequently-Asked-Questions2016.pdf). The Shade Tree Commission adopted a canopy goal of 30% at the June 6, 2013 meeting. This canopy goal was re-affirmed at the April 7, 2016 meeting. To this end the Shade Tree Commission requested $5,000, a new budget line item, for the 2016 Township budget for the planting of new shade trees. It was granted.

    Tree Hazard Inventory

    10 Points

    Program Summary:

    During the period of May 24, 2012 to July 17, 2012, three Cranbury Shade Tree commissioners volunteered a total of 42 hours to assess each shade tree located on Main Street in historic Cranbury. A rubber mallet, belonging to one of the commissioners, and visual observation were employed to collect data and produce the 2012 Main Street 1-2-3 Shade Tree Assessment Survey, with #1 trees needing immediate maintenance, #2 trees needing maintenance in near future, and #3 trees needing no work (see uploaded file, Cranbury Tree Hazard Survey). No cost was associated with this project. At a public meeting of the Cranbury Township Committee, a Tree Hazard Assessment Program was initiated by the mayor (http://cranburytownship.org/STC_agendas/2012/STC_minutes040512.pdf). Main Street was proposed by the mayor to be the first area surveyed because of the volume of pedestrian and vehicular traffic, numerous local businesses, and its historical significance as a designated Historic District. The area surveyed included the entire length of Main Street in Cranbury from North Main Street at Route 130 to South Main street at Route 130.(see uploaded file, Tree Hazard Assessment Area Map Cranbury). Following delivery of the completed survey to the Cranbury Township Committee, Cranbury Township Public Works initiated removal of the most hazardous trees. The Phase II planting of the No Net Loss Reforestation Grant will include approximately 25 trees on Main Street mitigating the removal of the hazardous trees and trees lost in recent storms.

  • Recycling

    Community Paper Shredding Day

    5 Points

    Program Summary:

    Cranbury Township hosts a paper shredding event, every other year, for all residents of Middlesex County. It is organized with the help of Middlesex County Division of Solid Waste (MCDSW) due to the great bid rates it received. An article about this event is written for the quarterly Township newsletter It is advertised on the township website http://www.cranburytownship.org/recycling_main.html and the MCDSW website http://www.co.middlesex.nj.us/Government/Departments/PSH/Pages/Paper-Shredding-.aspx It is held in the same location, the DPW Yard, 100 Dey Road, Cranbury, each time. On August 8, 2015, Cranbury Township hosted a shred event. A new location was selected this year to accommodate the vendor’s two shred trucks. Organized and held in the Cranbury School parking lot, a total 254 Middlesex County residents shredded a total of 9.70 Tons of confidential files. The advertised hours are from 9:00am to 12pm or until the truck is full-whichever comes first! Two employees from MCDSW and three Cranbury Township employees are needed to work this event. Cranbury Township and Plainsboro alternate the yearly Shred-It events.

    Recycling Depot

    10 Points

    Program Summary:

    The Recycling Shed is located at 100 Dey Rd., Cranbury, NJ. It is open on the first Friday of the month, unless a legal holiday-then the shed is open on the 2nd Friday of the month. Hours of operation currently are 9am – 12pm (see uploaded file, RD Photos). Information about the Recycle Shed is published on the Cranbury Township website and in the Cranbury Township Quarterly newsletters. Acceptable items include scrap metal, white goods, florescent bulbs and polystyrene (see uploaded file, RD Info). A recent article in the 2016 first quarter township newsletter, http://www.cranburytownship.org/newsletters/1Q2016.pdf (see uploaded file, RD Newsletter Q1) published information about the Cranbury Recycling Guide which included information about the recycling shed (see uploaded file, RD MC Cranbury Recycling Guide 2016),. The Recycle Shed, established March 2009, has temporarily ceased the collection of e-waste beginning January 2016 as stated on the Cranbury website, http://www.cranburytownship.org/ (see uploaded file, RD E-Waste). It is hopeful that this situation will be rectified soon. Cranbury Township participates in a no cost program with Call2Recycle, http://www.call2recycle.org/, that collects cellphones, rechargeable and button batteries. A link to published information on this program can be found at http://www.cranburytownship.org/dept_public_works.html. (see uploaded file, RD Call2) . The collection box is located in Town Hall and once full, mailed to them for proper recycling. Another collection program that Cranbury participates in is a technotrash program to keep CD/DVD disks and cassettes, VHS, audio, and computer tapes, inkjet cartridges, laptops, hard drives, cords, cables, chips & boards out of the landfill. These items are collected at Town Hall, then boxed up and sent to GreenDisk for proper recycling.

    Recycling Education & Enforcement

    5 Points

    Program Summary:

    Cranbury Township amended its Recycling Ordinance Chapter 120 on 9/27/10 and 9/10/14 to remain current with recycling regulations and remains compliant with the Middlesex County Recycling Plan. The Township's curbside recycling program is collected through the Middlesex County Improvement Authority. This program is established and has worked well for Cranbury residents since recycling became law in 1986. In January 2016, the dual stream collection was combined to single stream. Uploaded file, REE Cranbury Information, includes links and copies of Cranbury's Recycling Ordinance, Accepted Material Recycling Flyer, Cranbury Newsletter Recycling Article and Cranbury Recycling Webpage In addition, Chapter 120 addresses Construction/demolition waste/recycling requirements when a building permit is issued. The construction contractor must fill out the recycling form and fax it to the Middlesex County Division of Solid Waste Management (MCDSWM) within 48 hours of municipal permit issuance (see uploaded files, REE Cranbury Vendor, REE Tonnage Report) .

  • Waste Reduction

    Grass - Cut It and Leave It Program

    5 Points

    Program Summary:

    Over the past several years, Cranbury Township has made an effort through the Public Works Department and the Environmental Commission to educate the public about "Cut It and Leave It". The Public Works Department and its recycling coordinator posted information about it on the Cranbury Website, http://www.cranburytownship.org/grasscycling.html (see uploaded file, Cut It and Leave It: PW) . It summarizes the importance of the program and its benefits to the environment. Articles about the program are published in the Cranbury Township quarterly newsletter, http://www.cranburytownship.org/newsletters_main.html (see uploaded file, Cut It and Leave It:CN) promoting the idea that mowing and leaving the clippings in place on the lawn saves homeowners time and money. The Environmental Commission has informed the public about the program on Cranbury Day. The commissioners handed out NJDEP brochures about the program (see uploaded file, Cut It and Leave It: NJDEP) and suggested citizens use "Cut It and Leave It" as part of their lawncare. Copies of the "Cut It and Leave It" brochures from Middlesex County Improvement Authority can also be found in Cranbury's Town Hall (see uploaded file, Cut It and Leave It: MCIA).