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GreeNR Sustainability Plan Approved

New Rochelle is the first community in Westchester County to have such a plan.

After a two-year process, the City of New Rochelle now has a sustainability plan.

At its meeting Tuesday, the City Council voted to support GreeNR, which makes recommendations on ways to achieve economic and environmental progress over the next 20 years.

"This is a great milestone for New Rochelle," said Mayor Noam Bramson. "This is one of my prouder moments."

New Rochelle is the first municipality in the county to adopt a sustainability plan.

He said the council's action "positions New Rochelle as a leader in sustainable policy making and provides an excellent road map for improving our quality of life and cutting costs."

The plan contains 10 major goals to be accomplished by 2030:

  1. Reduce energy use and greenhouse gas emissions by at least 20 percent
  2. Cut nonrecycled solid waste generation by 15 percent and increase recycling rates to 50 percent
  3. Preserve natural spaces and restore inland water bodies
  4. Absorb or retain 25 million gallons of flood water per storm
  5. Decrease sewage flow by at least 2 million gallons in peak hours
  6. Build at least 95 percent of new housing near mass transit
  7. Open at least 1 additional mile of the Sound Shore to the public
  8. Plant at least 10,000 new trees on public property
  9. Create a comprehensive walking and bicycling system
  10. Subscribe at least half of all households to the city Web site

Councilman Louis Trangucci, R-District 1, was the only dissenting vote.

"No one is more green than I am," he said. "I believe in green, but I vote no."

His issue was the city's membership in ICLEI—Local Governments for Sustainability, an association of more than 1,220 governments that are committed to sustainable development.

Area municipalities that are members of ICLEI include Bedford, Dobbs Ferry, Eastchester, Larchmont, the town and village of Mamaroneck, Mount Kisco, Pound Ridge and Rye. Westchester County is also a member.

"I think the people who got involved in this did a great job," Trangucci said. As the plan's requirements are implemented, "what influence does ICLEI have?"

Deborah Newborn, the city's sustainability coordinator, said of the plan's 43 recommendations "not a single one of them came from ICLEI. They did not mandate anything. They did not have any role in the development of this plan," except in very general parameters.

Councilman Richard St. Paul voted to support the plan, but said that it didn't go far enough.

Among the things he was concerned about was exploring the difference between the middle class and the wealthy and improving graduation rates.

"With that, I do think it's a good start," St. Paul said.

warren gross March 17, 2011 at 01:37 PM
perhaps we can see what something is as opposed to what something is not. best way to look at this is as if were a strategic business plan. ICLEI provides extensive software and networkiing guidance in exchange for dues; there is no mandate other than that. Get on their website and check Agenda 21 for more information. The UN has no Swiss Guards, and the risk of occupation by a foreign power is nil. As I read the Council comments above, they seem confusing so maybe more education is needed. Again, as a strategic planning proces would suggest; take the 30 years and break time frames into short, middle and long range objectives. Keep mandates to a minimum and look for ways to incentivize people. New York City entered into a partnership with Home Depot on exchanging bulbs -- there are opportunities for involving the community in other ways and I am sure Deborah Newborn has received lots of good community advice. Oh one other thing -- the US State Department is a member of ICEI and maybe that adds to the credibility list. Be great to see the entire council find ways to work together for the community even in an election year.

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