April 19, 2023
Dear Friends,
Earth Day is an annual opportunity for us all to reflect on our place in the world and our contributions to the health of our planet. As we face the looming threat of climate change, it can feel daunting at times, but it is important to maintain perspective and appreciate the progress we’ve made since the first Earth Day in 1970 both globally and locally. Here in the Garden State, we believe that proper management of our land and balancing development and open spaces promotes clean air and water, and fosters a healthy environment where all New Jerseyans may prosper.

Currently, New Jersey Future is working closely with our partners to encourage the governor and legislature to finish the job and fund the development of a park adjacent to the newly-renovated State House. Capital Park can and should be an urban park to accommodate the Trenton community, state workers, school field trips, and any New Jerseyan visiting our capital. Join us for a walkthrough of the anticipated park on April 24, and sign our public comment letter urging government action in support of this urban green space.

I want to highlight a series of resources linked in this month’s newsletter that demonstrate New Jersey Future’s interconnected issue areas, and how we distribute information and support materials to mayors, municipalities, water agencies, and developers.
  • Lead in Drinking Water Task Force Primer for Mayors—a new edition of this resource is now available highlighting technical assistance opportunities.  
  • Creating Great Places to Age—our community placemaking priorities must be updated to include consideration for aging New Jerseyans. NJF has ample resources for municipalities on our website, including a comprehensive guide. 
  • Stormwater Utility Resource Center—we continue to advocate for the establishment of stormwater utilities to fund solutions to managing our stormwater and minimizing expensive and disruptive damage. 
  • NJ Developers Green Infrastructure Guide 2.0—we’ve updated this guide to reflect NJ’s Department of Environmental Protections' new stormwater rules, which require the use of green infrastructure.

Peter Kasabach
Executive Director

P.S. The NJ Planning and Redevelopment Conference is coming up June 21–23. Be one of the 900 attendees who take part in shaping the future of New Jersey’s development. Registration is now open, with more information below.
At New Jersey Future’s Planning and Redevelopment Conference in June 2022, New Jersey Commissioner of Environmental Protection, Shawn LaTourette, emphasized the historic funding opportunities for NJ flowing from the federal government and implored attendees, “If you don’t have a grant writer on staff, hire one. If you do have one, hire a second.” LaTourette concluded his remarks by stating his desire for New Jersey to seize the opportunity for federal funding, and to position itself well for any additional rounds of funding. Read more.
As the multi-year renovation of NJ’s historic State House nears completion, now is the timely and critical moment to envision the next steps for greening downtown Trenton by creating an urban park. Join us in calling on Governor Murphy and the state legislators to set aside $15 million in this year's budget to build “Capital Park” now!

Join our walkthrough to show your support for this future park and mobilize others to join! Jay Watson, co-executive director of New Jersey Conservation Foundation, will lead the walking tour at noon, where participants will gather at the State Capitol Fountain (between State Annex and Library), walk through the grounds, and discuss future connectivity and possibilities for the open space.
New Jersey Future and APA New Jersey are proud to present the annual New Jersey Planning and Redevelopment three-day conference convening virtually on June 21–22 and in person on June 23 at the Hyatt Regency in New Brunswick.

Registration is now open! Registration includes a full-access pass to all conference programming, including 36 sessions, a virtual and in-person exhibit floor, and networking with fellow attendees, speakers, and sponsors. An on-demand video library, in addition to session files and resources, will be available to all conference attendees for two months following the conference.

If you are interested in available sponsorship opportunities, please contact Michele Glassburg.
New Jersey Future is always growing in order to build upon our mission and make effective change throughout the Garden State. We are pleased to announce expanded leadership roles in our policy and advocacy work. Diane Schrauth's new title will be Policy Director of Water, overseeing all or the organization's water policy and programmatic work. Chris Sturm, fresh from her sabbatical, will take on a new role as Policy Director of Land Use, leading the team on climate change, transportation, and housing. We are also pleased to welcome Sabrina Rodriguez-Vicenty as our Advocacy and Government Affairs Manager, supporting this policy agenda and more.
Legislative Updates
  • On Monday, April 17, the first day of Earth Week, Governor Phil Murphy announced the final adoption of regulations to implement New Jersey’s landmark Environmental Justice (EJ) Law, which was signed into law in September 2020. Both the law and the newly adopted rules are the first in the nation aimed at reducing pollution in historically overburdened communities and communities of color that have been subjected to a disproportionately high number of environmental and public health stressors, including pollution from industrial, commercial, and governmental facilities.The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection developed the rules through an extensive stakeholder process that brought together affected communities, environmental and public health advocates, and leaders in business and industry for critical input. Now effective, the EJ Rules pioneer a community-first approach to planning and permitting certain pollution-generating facilities.

  • This month, Governor Murphy signed bill S3333/A5020 prohibiting water and wastewater utility providers that fail to participate in the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs' (DCA) Low Income Assistance Program (LIHWAP) from shutting off service to customers. LIHWAP is funded by the US Department of Health and Human Services. The program provides benefits to water utility providers on behalf of residential customers. “They shouldn’t be forced to choose between food on the table or paying their water bills, especially when there is a program designed to help. This law will ensure that utility companies and the DCA are working together to increase participation and maximize available resources for those who need it,” said Senator Nilsa Cruz-Perez.
Coming Up
  • April 24: Join our Capital Park Walkthrough to show your support for this future park and mobilize others to join! Jay Watson, Co-Executive Director of New Jersey Conservation Fund, will lead the walking tour at noon, where participants will gather at the State Capitol Fountain (between State Annex and Library), walk through the grounds, and discuss future connectivity and possibilities for the open space.
  • April 29: Come out to Trenton Community Day at George Page Park to meet community organization partners here in Trenton, learn about Assunpink Creek, play games, enjoy food, and celebrate the Trenton community. The rain date is April 30.
  • May 5: The NJ Sustainability Summit is an exceptional one-day forum, drawing change-makers from across sectors. Participants will engage in thoughtful discussions and hail the work that is currently being done in sustainability. Register and learn more.
Smart Growth for Everyone
Smart Growth is equitable growth. It is also restorative, as smart growth and redevelopment can help correct systemic racial and economic disparities. As New Jersey Future drives land use decision-making toward more equitable outcomes, we will be sharing useful resources and lessons in this monthly spotlight. Please give us your feedback and share with us any particularly insightful articles, talks, events, or videos that you come across.

Conversations around environmental justice (EJ) and social determinants of health are commonly focused on the inequities that are present in underserved communities: the dangerous developments and contaminants. Often, the focus of environmental justice efforts is on remediating the lead and forever chemicals like PFAS found in the drinking water of low-income communities, or cleaning up the massive superfund sites or improving air quality near freeways that are often sited in communities of color. So naturally, there is a limited discourse in the environmental justice movement on what is missing in communities that have been historically marginalized, especially when it comes to things taken for granted as amenity, like parks. 

“To provide an overarching perspective, there are 100 million people in the United States—of which 28 million are children—who don’t have access to a park within a ten-minute walk of their homes. That’s an equity statement,” said Scott Dvorak, the Associate Vice President and New Jersey State Director of the Trust for Public Land. “In communities of color, the parks people do have access to are, on average, half the size and serve five times as many people as those in privileged areas. In these parks, the programming needs and demand are higher, but the entities responsible for maintaining the parks often have restricted resources.” Read more in our latest blog, "Access to Parks is an Environmental Justice Issue."
Come Work With Us
  • Community Planner II: New Jersey Future is seeking an experienced planner to help grow our community planning program. Applicants for the position must have experience managing projects to meet deadlines and produce deliverables. Partner collaboration and stakeholder engagement will be integral to the position.
  • Communications Specialist: NJF seeks an experienced communications professional who is a skilled, organized, and motivated writer and copy editor to support the organization’s communications and marketing activities. The Communications Specialist will work within a collaborative team environment to implement and manage program-specific and general organizational communications plans and tasks.
  • Policy Coordinator: New Jersey Future is seeking a highly skilled, organized, and motivated individual to join the team working to change the land use policies that shape our communities, including climate adaptation and mitigation, transportation, housing, state and regional planning, and economic integration. The coordinator will craft policy positions, conduct research, coordinate program activities, facilitate consensus-building among stakeholders, and advocate for change.
  • Jersey WaterCheck Intern: New Jersey Future is looking for a highly organized, motivated individual to work on a comprehensive data update for Jersey WaterCheck, Jersey Water Works data dashboard. The intern will be required to verify existing data, gather relevant new data on New Jersey’s water and wastewater systems, and compile it into a spreadsheet, as well as issue a survey to utilities and towns and conduct survey follow-ups.
New Jersey Future in the News
Featured Resources

This quarterly primer from the JWW Lead in Drinking Water Task Force provides key information on how lead pipes can be replaced quickly, cost-effectively, and with community support.

New Jersey Future has prepared Creating Great Places To Age: A Community Guide to Implementing Aging-Friendly Land Use Decisions to provide communities with a step-by-step process to make designing for the needs of older residents easier.

The New Jersey Stormwater Utility Resource Center is a one-stop shop housing technical, legal, and financial information, case studies, and helpful guidance on stormwater solutions, community process, and public engagement.

The Developers Green Infrastructure Guide 2.0 breaks down New Jersey’s Stormwater Rule amendments and helps developers and decision-makers more clearly understand green infrastructure options and advantages, compare alternatives, and evaluate costs and benefits.
Founded in 1987, New Jersey Future is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that promotes sensible and equitable growth, redevelopment, and infrastructure investments to foster healthy, strong, resilient communities; protect natural lands and waterways; increase transportation choices beyond cars; provide access to safe, affordable, and aging-friendly neighborhoods; and fuel a strong economy for everyone. New Jersey Future does this through original research, innovative policy development, coalition-building, advocacy, and hands-on strategic assistance. Embracing differences and advancing fairness is central to New Jersey Future’s mission and operations. New Jersey Future is firmly committed to pursuing greater justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion through its programs, internal operations, and external communications.