Tag Archives: #BenLeeAIA

AIA NJ Leaders participate in the Municipal Land Use Law RE-FORUM Meeting on May 19,2017

Presentation of Compendium of Notes

from MLUL RE-FORUM Meeting on May 19, 2017 

to the West Orange Township Council

by Jerome Leslie Eben, FAIA, PP, [email protected]

 

The Hon. Joe Krakoviak, West Orange Township Council President recently invited AIA NJ Past President Jerome Eben, FAIA to speak on the Municipal Land Use Law Re-Forum. Organized by the NJ Chapter of the American Planning Association this past May, AIA NJ was one of many sponsors. Jerry talked about this extremely informative event and a follow up meeting in July that he attended with President Ben Lee, AIA.

Jerry explained to the Council, Hon. Robert Parisi, Mayor and about 75 members of the public that along with many of his colleagues, we have long known that the  zoning in this New Jersey is broken and has been for a very long time.  He explained that AIA-NJ had a decade ago, given thought to the problem, as well as a name, calling it:

 

“Zoning Ridiculousness”

 

Jerry spoke of the lack of intelligent planning throughout New Jersey’s 565 municipalities.  Highlighting that this is especially critical in areas along common border lines.   Despite the apparent fact that individual Master Plans declare that the so called intelligent planning exists between these communities, in truth it does not.
This is the consensus of the many professionals who have the chore of navigating the MLUL on behalf of their clients.  He explained that the costs both the clients and in turn (alphabetically) architects, attorneys, engineers, planners and sometimes many other consultants in appearing before municipal regulatory boards, is out of control.

In a very general way, what came out of the RE-FORUM meeting was the following important QUESTION:

How can we enhance and update the MLUL to reflect 21st century planning advancements, recognize the diversity of conditions across municipalities, create an efficient, value-driven review process, and ensure development and preservation outcomes that support shared statewide priorities of prosperity, environmental stewardship, affordability, mobility, public health & safety, quality places and sustainable design?

 

The meeting organizers recommended attendance by experienced practitioners, decision-makers and opinion leaders.  There were well over 150 participants to share their vision for how the MLUL could be updated to authorized the use of invocative planning tools in NJ communities. The goal would be to PREVENT internal inconsistencies between Master Plans, Zoning Ordinances and re-examination reports that in fact confound the for mentioned professionals, not to mention the public.

The Compendium of Notes from this program reflect the highlights from twenty-eight (28) Breakout Sessions.  Over fifty (50) pages of records have been placed on the association’s web page.  They reflect the general opinions from those who participated in these sessions.  

Click here to read the entire report.
Because of a time constraint, Jerry addressed only a few of the items, but he tells us they were those close to his long time push to get enforcement under control, make sure contents of the Master Plan include detailed points to review on the zoning ordinances and that it would be helpful to professionals appearing before these boards if the volunteer board members were better educated and prepared by visiting the proposed sites prior to their actual meeting.

 

He also mentioned that it is extremely important for Zoning Officers to be a trained in Planning and Zoning issues and State certified with followed up mandatory continuing education credits!  

 

Lastly, he spoke of the support of non-automobile mobility options………SAFE STREETS ARE A MUST and ordinances on paper need to be applied to all applicants with strict enforcement.

 

The Re-Forum committee meets again in September. Ben and Jerry will be present and promise their fellow members of AIA NJ a follow up to where hopefully this will lead all of us to the removal of Zoning Ridiculousness in our State.

 

AIA NJ takes action to protect New Jersey from New Executive Order that exposes Government Infrastructure to Flood Risk

red_eagleOn Tuesday, August 15, President Trump issued a new executive order that rolls back Obama-era protections put in place to ensure that government-funded infrastructure projects in flood prone areas would be less exposed to flooding and the effects of climate change. Read more on this executive order here.

Illya Azaroff, AIA Regional Recovery Work Group, and a resiliency expert on AIA National’s Strategic Council says, “In the northeast alone 20% of the US GDP is accounted for from the Boston-Washington corridor or megalopolis. In that same 2% of US land area 48.6 million people reside and it is all connected by a tangled web of infrastructure that is very vulnerable to immediate shocks and stresses. Since Super Storm Sandy the way forward in not only this region but around the country has progressed toward comprehensive resilient building measures that account for risks of today and those predicted in the future. To reverse Obama era directives that aim to design for climate change across political and state boundaries is to say the least a short sighted failure of leadership. I believe the health safety and welfare of the public is at greater risk without these measures in place. ”

Here in New Jersey, we still hear residents speak of the effect of Sandy on our communities, the days before compared to the way things are now.  While the Obama regulations created a new landscape for many on the Jersey Shore, those changes brought a sense of security to people, allowing them to stay in their communities rather than relocating to higher ground. Will that now be ripped out from under our neighbors?

New Jersey’s environmental groups respond to the new executive order. See comments here.

AIA NJ is not in support of the new executive order. It goes against our core values:

  • We stand for a sustainable future
  • We stand for protecting communities from the impact of climate change

President Elect Verity Frizzell, AIA says, “Yes, there is some additional cost to raising projects another 2 or 3 feet, but it is nothing compared to the cost of rebuilding after a flood.  It shouldn’t cause any delays in permitting, at all, unless the original plans weren’t drawn to the higher standard and had to be re-drawn.  It is another example of our President’s shortsightedness and operating without full knowledge of the consequences of his decisions.”

AIA NJ President, Ben Lee, AIA has issued a plan of action that is already underway, with AIA NJ representatives scheduling Summer Recess meetings with our Congressmen and Senators,  and discussions with State Legislators being planned. Our Committee on the Environment is advising on the recommended plan for our state.

 

 

AIA NJ’s East Coast Green 2017 Conference

Protecting the Health, Safety and Welfare of the Public

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While our country has been watching national environmental protection erode, the AIA NJ COTE Committee has been culling their resources to create a powerhouse, one-day conference filled with industry experts, award winning architects, sustainable sponsors and continuing education.

This event is nothing new for committee chair and past president, Jason Kliwinski, AIA, LEED Fellow, but this year it may mean more than ever before.

While we have limited control over the legislative requirements pertaining to the environment, nothing is holding back architects from educating themselves on best practices that can be incorporated into all of our projects, making responsible design an office standard, and beyond that, an industry standard, with AIA Architects leading the path toward a more sustainable future for the whole planet, supported on the backs of healthy buildings, responsible manufacturing and green construction practice driven by the smart choices built into the designs of an educated, environmentally savvy AIA.

This year’s conference looked at sustainability from a different perspective, with the primary program focus on sustaining the health of the people who use our buildings.  Wellness considered and built into the building, by design.

Held on June 22, 2017, at the USGBC LEED Platinum Watershed Center in Hopewell, NJ designed by Michael Farewell, FAIA, attendees were treated to an absolutely perfect day, as we stepped into summer. Mr. Farewell led two tours, inside and out, explaining the history of the site, the basis for many of the design decisions and how the building works, from day-to-day, as well as through the seasons.  Michael was also the morning keynote speaker, presenting Two Rivers Run Through It: The Stony Brook Millstone Environmental Center.

For members interested in attaining USGBC Well Building Accreditation, a five-hour training seminar was taught by Lia Nielson of Simply Sustainable LLC and the Green Building Center, to assist attendees in preparing to take the Well Building certification exam.

Two other tracts included 8 courses associated with either Safety or Welfare:

  • Climate Reality – Effects and Solutions taught by Jason Kliwinski, AIA, LEED Fellow/ Faculty
  • Resilient Design in a Changing Environment presented by Tom Dallessio, AICP/PP/FRSA and Illya Azaroff, AIA
  • The A/E Role in Creating Good Indoor Environmental Quality, speaker Jason Kliwinski, AIA, LEED Fellow/ Faculty
  • Selecting and Specifying Healthy Materials in the Age of Product Transparency with Mark Jane Augustine
  • Meeting the new Energy Code ASHARE 90.1 & IRC 2015 with Bill Amann, PE, DCEP, LEED Fellow
  • Commissioning the Architects Role to Ensure Optimal Performance presented by Kirk Tucker
  • Show your Client the Money: ALigning Available Grants & Incentives with Project Goals by Gary Magiera and Tiffany Rolfing

and

  • Tectonics of High-Performance Design presented by David Gibson, AIA

Video clips of the programs are in production for publication on our YouTube channel. Keep a look out for announcements of their release.

 

AIA NJ officers participate in Sussex County Technical School Final Jury

On May 4, 2017 AIA NJ President, Ben Lee, AIA, Immediate Past President, Justin Mihalik, AIA and NJIT Associate Dean for Academics, John Cays, along with a Sussex County Board Member were invited to serve as design jury for the Senior Projects at Sussex County Technical School.

school

Two project teams made their presentations:

One for conversion of a barn into a residence. They completed site & zoning research. The building design was based on taking advantage of the views. They produced a computer 3D image as well as a scale model.

The second project was to convert a school bus to an eco-friendly mobile home for travel and demonstration of eco-friendly design components and built-in furniture and furnishings.

Both teams showed dedication and tremendous effort and investment. Some of the seniors plan to pursuit architectural education.