Sustainable Jersey Certification Report

Download PDF Version

This is the Sustainable Jersey Certification Report of Trenton City, a Sustainable Jersey bronze certified applicant.

Trenton City was certified on December 10, 2018 with 185 points. Listed below is information regarding Trenton City’s Sustainable Jersey efforts and materials associated with the applicant’s certified actions.

Contact Information

The designated Sustainable Jersey contact for Trenton City is:

Name:Michael Kolber
Title/Position:Senior Planner, City of Trenton / Housing & Economic Development
Address:319 East State Street Trenton, NJ 08608
Trenton, NJ 08608
Phone:609-989-3503

Actions Implemented

Each approved action and supporting documentation for which Trenton City was approved for in 2018 appears below. Note: Standards for the actions below may have changed and the documentation listed may no longer satisfy requirements for that action.

  • Arts & Creative Culture

    Establish a Creative Team

    10 Points

    Program Summary: The Creative Team (C2C Action Committee) is designed to bring people together to advocate for and carry out projects in support of the Creek to Canal (C2C) Creative District. The Creative Team is primarily a convening and coordinating body to implement the recommendations stated in the arts district plan, Trenton Arts in Focus (released September 2016). The Creative Team meets on the first Monday of every month to discuss the progress of the Creek to Canal Creative District’s implementation and is open to all those who are interested and support the arts in Trenton. Numerous arts-related events have occurred within the Creek to Canal Creative District and support the implementation of Trenton Arts in Focus’ recommendations within the last 18 months.

    Creative Placemaking Plan

    10 Points

    Program Summary: The Creek to Canal Creative District (Placemaking) Plan is the result of Trenton Arts in Focus, a year-long, citywide planning process that engaged more than 750 people from Trenton and beyond in a discussion about how arts and culture can be drivers for equitable, sustainable downtown revitalization. Trenton Arts in Focus was inspired by the wide range of arts organizations and artists that call Trenton home, and by the local talent, community support, political will, and resources that are aligning to foster positive change in the Creek to Canal area. The Trenton Arts in Focus plan, released in October 2016, offers both place-based and citywide recommendations to develop the Creek to Canal Creative District and to highlight and support Trenton’s rich arts and culture scene.

    Municipal Commitments to Support Arts and Creative Culture

    5 Points

    Program Summary: Adopt a Cultural District Plan: The Creek to Canal Creative District is the result of Trenton Arts in Focus, a year-long, citywide planning process that engaged more than 750 people from Trenton and beyond in a discussion about how arts and culture can be drivers for equitable, sustainable Downtown revitalization. While the Creek to Canal Creative District focuses primarily on downtown Trenton, it also encourages the inclusion of arts citywide. The Trenton Arts in Focus plan, released in October 2016, offers both place-based and citywide recommendations to develop the Creek to Canal Creative District and to highlight and support Trenton’s rich arts and culture scene. Trenton City Council passed a resolution directing the planning board to review the plan and adopt it as part of Trenton250, the City's new master plan.

  • Brownfields

    Brownfields Inventory & Prioritization

    15 Points

    Program Summary: Trenton’s Brownfields Program celebrates its 20th year in existence and is one of the most accomplished and sustainable municipal brownfields programs in the United States. The Program has obtained over $30 million in grants, and received six prestigious, national Phoenix Awards for brownfields redevelopment. We are proud to adapt our program’s metrics and data to the format established by Sustainable Jersey. The City created a Brownfields Inventory using the following resources: • The existing Brownfields Program’s inventory, as well as other city inventories. The other city inventories contained sites that are owned and managed by the city, as well as additional sites; • Environmental database reports prepared for brownfields sites for assessment purposes; • NJDEP’s Data Miner (this resource was culled from over 2,000 entries to less than 150 known contaminated sites in Trenton. Some of these sites are not in need of redevelopment). The data from the Data Miner was imported into a spreadsheet, culled of sites not known to be contaminated, not in need of redevelopment and not located in Trenton, for submittal. Priority sites from Data Miner were included in the Brownfields Inventory and Brownfield Priorities list. The City of Trenton created a Brownfields Priority list using the following variables: • Human and/or ecological hazard (combined weight = 5) • Development potential (3) • Blight reduction potential (3) • Ownership (1) The sites on the Inventory were mapped in GIS using block and lot.

    Brownfields Reuse Planning

    10 Points

    Program Summary: The City’s Brownfields Program works with the City’s Division of Planning and other units of government to support the reuse of brownfields sites. Brownfields reuse planning tools include: • Using New Jersey’s Redevelopment Law to establish 42 Redevelopment Areas. Each area includes development standards, design standards and other development parameters. These areas are all considered “in need of redevelopment” and each redevelopment area is established by Ordinance by the City Council with substantial public outreach and input. Eight of the 13 designated “priority” brownfields sites are located within established Redevelopment Areas; • Establishing two “Brownfield Development Areas” (BDAs) within the City. The BDAs allow for area-wide planning activities and elevate the prioritization of State Hazardous Discharge Site Remediation Funds for investigation and cleanup. Six of the thirteen priority brownfields sites are located in BDAs: five in the Assunpink Greenway BDA; and one in the Magic Marker BDA. • Three of the 13 priority sites are located in established Historic Districts and require preservation as part of redevelopment. Only two of the thirteen priority brownfields sites are not located within the above-referenced planning areas. These two sites will utilize site-specific planning tools (for example, the Vacant and Abandoned Properties Act). Brownfields is also included as an element in the City’s new Master Plan, designated as “Trenton 250” (see http://trenton250.org/ ). With respect to Sustainable Jersey compliance for Brownfields Reuse Planning, the following actions were taken: • Designate the top 13 prioritized sites for additional information, review and marketing; • Tabulate and upload data in accordance with SJ recommendations, including: stakeholders; site description, zoning, redevelopment designations, development status, accessibility to public and other transportation, reuse options, etc; • Upload Ordinances designating Redevelopment Areas and the City’s Master Plan. • Upload information regarding the City’s two BDA’s (data sheets and reports) Throughout the process used to determine the reuses of brownfields in Trenton--city council discussions and resolutions, Trenton250 public meetings, Master Plan discussions--the public has been closely involved and had opportunities to provide input and offer recommendations at regularly scheduled and specially called meetings. UPDATE: The City of Trenton BEST Advisory Committee (Better Environmental Solutions for Trenton) adopted a Brownfields Program Action Plan in June 2014 (see upload). The Action Plan serves as a blueprint for action to maintain a successful, sustainable Brownfields Program, by setting forth program components and associated metrics. Also, please note the Brownfields Inventory & Prioritization does not expire until July 2016 (and so this is not a resubmittal and the 6.5 years does not apply. In any event, the Enterprise Ave Redevelopment Plan is dated June 2009, within the timeframe). The City of Trenton is not relying upon a Brownfields Element for this submission. Rather, we are relying upon the submission of redevelopment plans (which do not expire), ordinances (also still valid), and the June 2014 BEST Action Plan. Nevertheless, to give you a sense of the active ongoing planning that is taking place around Trenton's Brownfields Program, the draft Trenton 250 Brownfields Element has been attached.

  • Community Partnership & Outreach

    Create Green Team

    10 Points
    Bronze Required Silver Required

    Program Summary: The City of Trenton formally established its Green Team in October 2011 with a resolution from City Council (see SJ Trenton Green Team Resolution 2011). Meetings are held monthly with community participation and collaboration since May of 2011. As of March 2018, meetings are held jointly with the Trenton Green Infrastructure Partners, a municipal action team (see attachment) organized around implementation of green infrastructure projects designed to help with the City of Trenton’s stormwater discharge compliance. Green Team and Green Infrastructure Partners share common members and goals, so it was natural to align their work. A current list of Green Team members is included (Green Team Members 2018). The Trenton Green Team has actively supported the City's efforts to undertake a comprehensive Master Plan process (Trenton250) and in 2014 testified in favor of pursuing a more comprehensive sustainable Master Planning process.

  • Diversity & Equity

    Lead Education & Outreach Programs

    10 Points

    Program Summary: The City of Trenton has been active in both lead education and outreach over the most recent certification period, most particularly by means of the partnership between Isles and the City’s Department of Health. Isles focuses primarily on outreach, environmental remediation, and the training of healthy homes workers and rehab contractors. The City, through the Bureau of Lead Case Management and Legal Nurse Consultant, Sharon Winn, conducts outreach, education, and follow-ups with parents in coordination with the City clinics and local pediatricians. These efforts are ongoing. The target population is young children at the age appropriate testing milestones, and the lead testing of homes throughout the city. A summary of Isles lead education and outreach work for the time period of January 2017 through June 2018 is as follows: • Isles provided lead water, soil and dust sampling along with other healthy homes assessments to 800 residents of Trenton. Residents were provided resident education on lead and healthy homes. • Completed Teacher In-Service workshop for K-6 on lead and healthy homes. • Completed online Community College course in lead and healthy homes for those seeking AA degrees in health, energy and construction fields. • Delivered lead and healthy homes workshops (The Seven Keys to a Healthy Home) 260 community members. • Provided or facilitated Healthy Homes for Community Health Workers training course for 241 home visitors and/or supervisors of home visitors, educators, nurses and social workers. • Provided Professional Development training in Lead and Healthy Homes for 10 Trenton School District Nurses • Provided Lead-Safe Renovation, Repair, and Paint training and certification for 113 workers. • Delivered professional lead certifications for more than 49 workers or supervisors of lead safe work. • Worked with City of Trenton, Trenton Public Schools to publicize availability of money to provide lead safe repairs to city residents. • Provide lead safe repairs to 88 homes in Trenton.

  • Food

    Community Gardens

    10 Points

    Program Summary: Isles currently supports more than 60 community and school gardens across the city of Trenton by providing technical and organizational assistance to local residents and other community-based organizations. These gardens produce well over 20,000 pounds of food each year, as reported by a University of Pennsylvania study. Municipal support is provided by The City of Trenton in the form of water access, including water service and permits to utilize fire hydrants for watering gardens. The City also provides woodchips, mulch, and allows drop-off of compostable materials from gardens for recycling. Isles also works with the City to help gardeners secure permission to garden on public property. Gardening opportunities are promoted by the City in a number of ways. They post flyers on bulletin boards in City Hall, and have flyers available in the Recreation and Housing & Economic Development departments. The Real Estate department also refers people interested in developing gardens on vacant lots to Isles and Trenton Water Works refers residents seeking fire hydrant permits to Isles as well. Signs are also posted on community gardens with contact information for those who are interested in plots. The NJ DEP open space registry also lists a number of preserved community gardens in the city, and, when functional, the City of Trenton website lists these significant preserved community gardens on the recreation page. http://www.trentonnj.org/Cit-e-Access/webpage.cfm?TID=55&TPID=13169 The City of Trenton Department of Health and Human Services also promotes opportunities through the Trenton Health Team's Community Advisory Board distribution list and website: https://trentonhealthteam.org/event/isles-incubator-garden-garden-info-seed-starting-workshop/ The NJ State Library also lists the community garden program as a resource: http://libguides.njstatelib.org/get_help/trenton_resources Isles and the City of Trenton also promote gardening through a Seed Library at the City's municipal Free Library: http://www.trentonlib.org/seedlibrary/ We have a working relationship with the Trenton Board of Education, which allows us to develop gardens on school sites and conduct cooperative gardening and food education with teachers and students. We also work with other Green Team partners on school-wellness related work and utilize volunteers from community organizations. Over the years, these gardens have played a critical role at the household level in helping families meet their food needs by increasing access to fresh and nutritious foods at low cost. Gardens improve nutrition and health by providing exercise and fresh, and healthy fruits and vegetables. Gardening also strengthens the community by enhancing connections between people, making the streets more secure, and giving people a chance to share food with others. Isles works with teachers and students in gardens at over twenty schools in the Trenton area. Since 2013, we have proudly hosted FoodCorps service members in partnership with Rutgers Cooperative Extension and NJ Farm to School. Our staff worked directly with over 700 students in 2017, many of them repeatedly, at school gardens and at afterschool and summer programs. In addition to gardening education, we provide hands-on cooking workshops and lessons for both youth and families.

    Farmers Markets

    10 Points

    Program Summary: The Trenton Downtown Association operates the Capital City Farmer’s Market in Mill Hill Park from May through October. The market runs during lunch hours to attract local city workers and residents during the height of city activity. This particular market offers fresh local produce, prepared foods, homemade crafts and jewelry from up to 25 local vendors. The City of Trenton is an essential partner in the weekly farmers market. The city provides assistance by allowing the Capital City Market to take place in Mill Hill Park on market days. Further, the Trenton Police Department provides security during these markets to promote an atmosphere that allows our merchants and entertainers to do business. The City of Trenton also allows our organization to promote our farmers markets on city property and in city offices including City Hall, and also programs live music during the summer to coincide with the market.

  • Health & Wellness

    Smoke-Free and Tobacco-Free Public Places

    10 Points

    Program Summary: UPDATE: The City of Trenton Department of Health has adopted an ordinance "to prohibit smoking in parks and recreation areas owned or otherwise possessed by the City of Trenton." See attached ordinance. The ordinance was approved by Trenton City Council at second reading on July 16, 2015. The ordinance was a collective effort on the part of the City of Trenton Department of Health, Trenton Green Team, New Jersey Prevention Network, Mercer Council on Alcoholism and Drug Addiction, and Hunterdon and Mercer County Regional Chronic Disease Coalition. Several of these partners testified in favor of the ordinance at the public meetings considering the ordinance. The ordinance specifies that the Trenton Department of Health and Human Services is responsible for enforcing the ordinance (the same department that spearheaded passage of the ordinance). No other Departments are involved in the enforcement process. All Departments were provided with a copy of the Ordinance and the Director of Health and Human Services has hosted a staff meeting to go over the enforcement policy, the procedures to be followed, and the education process for the public. These procedures will closely follow the enforcement strategies in place at the State Department of Health for the Smoke Free Air Act. As evident in the ordinance, signage is a requirement on all public property informing of the prohibition of smoking on the grounds. 108 signs were delivered in September 2015 (see attached image) and the New Jersey Prevention Network has ordered the Trenton ordinance stickers that will go at the bottom of the signs. Tobacco Free for a Health New Jersey has provided these signs to post on public property at no cost. There has been significant media coverage of this ordinance, including a supportive editorial in the Trenton Times and media stories in both the Trenton Times and Trentonian. Media coverage has been uploaded. Notice of the adoption of the ordinance also was posted on social media (see attached).

  • Innovative Projects

    Innovative Community Project 3

    10 Points

    Program Summary: Trenton Bike Repair Station: The Dero Fixit station and pump were purchased by the Greater Mercer Transportation Management Association (GMTMA) for installation at the Trenton Transit Center. NJ TRANSIT approved the location for its placement and agreed to do the installation. The installation took place in April 2015. This new Bike Repair Station is an important implementation element for the City of Trenton's Complete Streets Policy and represents an innovative and replicable practice. In terms of community outreach and education, the City of Trenton announced this new resource on its website: http://www.trentonnj.org/Cit-e-Access/news/index.cfm?NID=37487&TID=55&jump2=0 There was also media coverage of the unveiling of the bike station, which was attended by Mayor Jackson. See uploaded press release and media clips for more information.

  • Land Use & Transportation

    Sustainable Land Use Pledge

    10 Points
    Bronze Priority Silver Priority

    Program Summary: City Council passed a Sustainable Land Use Pledge resolution on Thursday, July 19, 2012. A memo was subsequently distributed to members of the planning board on July 27 and members of the zoning board on July 30 of that year. The document has been used to inform the Trenton250 master plan update and notice was circulated again to both the planning and zoning boards in 2018. While Trenton does have a Open Space Advisory Board, it has been inactive for a significant number of years. The Green Team has had discussions (in consultation with ANJEC) about advocating for the establishment of an Environmental Commission by the City, but no progress has been made. This is something that may be pursued with the new administration.

    Bicycle & Pedestrian Audits

    5 Points

    Program Summary: The Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission, in partnership with the City of Trenton, conducted several bicycle and pedestrian audits in a variety of locations throughout the summer of 2014. The locations for the counts were selected with input from the City of Trenton Planning Division, members of Trenton Cycling Revolution and planners from Mercer County. The video and automatic bike counts were taken between May 4, 2014 and May 20, 2014. The pedestrian counts were taken between May 5, 2014 and June 3, 2015. This range of dates is due to several of the locations needing to be set more than once. Bicycle counts on Perry between Montgomery and Stockton had to be set many times and were finally captured July 22 – July 29. Westbound pedestrian counts on Broad from State to Hanover were captured July 22 – July 30. The full counts, and description of constraints and opportunities were incorporated into the Trenton Downtown Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan, which is attached within a separate action for certification. Video from the audits were used during presentations to the community about the draft plan. Previously, in June and October of 2013, walking audits were conducted in North Trenton in consultation with the New Jersey Partnership for Healthy Kids-Trenton and the New Jersey Safe Routes to School program. More than 30 volunteers conducted a walking assessment to document the conditions of sidewalks and crosswalks around Monument Elementary School.

    Bicycle and/or Pedestrian Plan

    10 Points

    Program Summary: Bike and Pedestrian Plan Narrative The City of Trenton partnered with the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission to complete a bicycle and pedestrian plan for downtown Trenton. The first stakeholder meeting was conducted on February 11, 2014 at Trenton City Hall. A follow-up meeting was conducted on September 3, 2014 at Trenton City Hall. At this meeting, planners from DVRPC presented draft recommendations for review and feedback. Trenton Cycling Revolution convened a larger community meeting for residents and members of the larger bike/pedestrian community on Monday, September 29, 2014. The draft recommendations were presented and additional feedback was provided to DVRPC planners. Additional feedback was provided by members of the community via email throughout October. On April 17, 2015 a final draft of the Downtown Trenton Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan was circulated with a deadline for all comments to be submitted by May 1, 2015. The draft plan includes a review of existing demographics, land use and transportation conditions; recommendations for on-street bicycle infrastructure, trails, intersections and other; and a guideline for implementation, including complementary policies, strategies and funding programs. DVRPC has an internal proofing process before final publication of the plan, hence the 'draft' label of the plan attached below. The draft plan was adopted by the Planning Board on June 25, 2015; the Planning Board agenda is attached below. On July 9, 2015, the Planning Board adopted a resolution memorializing the adoption of the plan (uploaded below).

    Green Infrastructure Implementation

    10 Points

    Program Summary: In the spring of 2018, two water catchment systems were installed in partnership with Rutgers Water Resources and Isles, Inc. as part of a NJ DEP 319H grant. These projects were some of the first of many green infrastructure projects to be done in conjunction with the Municipal Action Team/Green Team work. A 1500 gallon tank was installed adjacent to Isles Institute to collect water for the Tucker Street demonstration garden on City of Trenton property. This catchment system provides a significantly larger roof area to collect water than the existing 12x12 shade structure roof within the garden that supplies a 300 gallon tank. A second water catchment system was installed at Rivera Community Middle School to provide water for the new school garden. The 500 gallon tank features the option to use an old-fashioned hand pump to deliver water. The students were present during the installation, and learned about the principles of water catchment and storage from the contractor. Both installations were done with support and permission of the City of Trenton and the Trenton Board of Education.

  • Natural Resources

    Natural Resource Inventory

    20 Points
    Bronze Priority Silver Priority

    Program Summary: In February 2015, the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC) published the City of Trenton Natural Resource Inventory (NRI). The NRI was funded through the Environmental work program of DVRPC. DVRPC worked closely with The City of Trenton Division of Planning and Green Team for contributions to the document. The purpose of the NRI is to identify and describe the natural resources of Trenton, as these resources are fundamental to the City’s character. The completion of the NRI occurred at an opportune time for Trenton. The City is presently updating the Master Plan, known as Trenton250. The NRI provides a basis for the development of methods and steps to preserve, conserve, and utilize those resources. The City plans to use the information provided in the NRI as the baseline data informing the update of the Land Use and Circulation, Environment, Health and Food Systems, Economic Development, Housing and Education elements of the Trenton250 Master Plan. The Planning Board approved a resolution incorporating the NRI into the City's Master Plan at its meeting on May 28, 2015. Update: The Planning Board adopted a resolution memorializing adoption of the NRI at its meeting on June 11, 2015 (see uploaded resolution). Updated NRI Review Policy: The NRI has been adopted as part of the Master Plan, therefore the City of Trenton is required to review and update it every ten years as per Municipal Land Use Law requirements. The City and the Green Team is actively seeking to create an Environmental Commission in Trenton which typically updates the NRI. Until the Commission is created, the City of Trenton Division of Planning staff will be the responsible entity for periodically reviewing the NRI to ensure it is still up-to-date. It is anticipated that this will occur at least once every five years. Furthermore, the City is presently updating our master plan, which may propose a shorter time period for review of the document. The new master plan, entitled Trenton250, is scheduled for completion by the end of 2016.

  • Public Information & Engagement

    Online Municipal Public Service Systems

    10 Points

    Program Summary: Please see attached checklist.

  • Sustainability & Climate Planning

    Community Visioning

    10 Points

    Program Summary: The development of the Trenton250 Vision Element was an ambitious outreach effort designed to create consensus around a community-driven vision. The vision statement and guiding principles sets the direction for the City and will guide the creation of all future master plan elements as well as city policies, programs, and projects. The Vision Element was adopted by the Planning Board on October 09, 2014. The Planning Division completed the following actions: • Conducted a 200 person Youth Summit at a local high school where more than 20 visions were submitted and five students were nominated to join the Master Plan Steering Committee. • Designed a custom, mobile-phone-compatible, multilingual website that hosted multiple quick, low-investment opportunities to participate. The website attracted over 2,000 unique visitors and was complemented by an aggressive social media campaign on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. That effort produced over 1,000 Facebook friends and more than 50 visions submitted via a Twitter hashtag. • Conducted a public meeting in every ward of the City and conducted several stakeholder meetings with businesses, nonprofits, educational and artistic institutions. • Ensured that all outreach efforts, such as the website, as posters, flyers, and brochures were available in both English and Spanish. Most importantly, Trenton250 teamed with a local non-profit, El Centro, to host a Spanish-speaking public meeting. Trenton will directly benefit from the Vision Element. There is now a documented consensus around a community-driven Vision Statement and a set of Guiding Principles that expresses what the community wants Trenton to be in 2042. More importantly, residents and stakeholders now have a clear easy-to understand tool for evaluating whether proposed policies, plans, and projects align with the community’s long-term vision for the City. This will be particularly important as the City and its residents embark on efforts to complete the rest of the master plan elements.