1 MEETING MINUTES Jersey City Environmental Commission City Hall 280 Grove Street, Jersey City NJ Alison Cucco, Chair Meeting: Date / Location: Jersey City Environmental Commission Public Meeting Council Chambers, City Hall, 280 Grove Street, Jersey City, NJ Attendees: Commissioners/City Representatives Alison Cucco Michelle Luebke Mario Verdibello Alexander Mirescu Gregg Lanez Takeya Meggett Kate Lawrence, Secretary Member of the Public: Luis Rios Prepared By: Alison Cucco and Kate Lawrence Date Prepared: January, ROLL CALL Environmental Commission Chair Cucco called the Commission to order at 6:40 pm. Six of eight active commissioners were present; four constitutes quorum. Commissioners Solowsky and Ristorucci were absent. SUNSHINE ANNOUNCEMENT Secretary Lawrence confirmed that the meeting agenda was sent on January 12, 2017 to the following media outlets: Jersey Journal, Jersey City Reporter and the City Clerk s Office. APPROVAL OF PREVIOUS MINUTES No other comments from commissioners. December 2017 minutes were unanimously approved. COMMUNICATIONS TO THE ENVIRONMENTAL COMMISSION The Environmental Commission received no (0) environmental notifications for projects in Jersey City. Secretary Lawrence brought up the Rutgers Environmental Steward Program that was listed in the Sustainable Jersey newsletter. This is a volunteer environmental training program that allows participants to become certified as Environmental Stewards after completing 60 hours of classroom instruction and 60 hours of a volunteer internship. For more information, go to Envirostewards.rutgers.edu.
2 Page 2 of 5 OLD BUSINESS Letter to the Mayor about Planting 25,000 Trees Commissioners discussed creating a Tree planting Goal of 30,000 trees within 10 years. o 2,000 trees in the first year and 28,000 for the following years. With the data from the Tree Canopy Study from 2015, Commissioner Mirescu prepared an estimated ideal distribution of where the first 5,000 trees should be planted in order to reach more equal canopy coverage among wards. o Commissioner Luebke asked if the proposed distribution would achieve parity. o Commissioner Mirescu indicated it would not, yet it would advance it. Commissioner Mirescu inquired whether there is an ordinance that promotes the removal of impervious surfaces o Secretary Lawrence said no. Secretary Lawrence clarified which city ordinances currently relate to trees. Chapters 321 and , 66, and 70 of the Jersey City Municipal Code establish more protections for trees and more requirements for developers. Commissioner Verdibello asked who would manage the trees and implement the ordinances. o Secretary Lawrence stated that the Division of Parks and Forestry manages the City s trees and operates under the DPW. The ordinances that relate to developer requirements will be implemented by the Planning Division and the Zoning Division. Secretary Lawrence brought up the city of Cleveland as an example of a funding model that could work in Jersey City. In Cleveland, a private/public partnership has been put forth as a sustainable funding option. o In Jersey City, the Parks Coalition might be a good group to work with. Next Parks Coalition meeting will take place on 2/8 at 6pm. There will be an RFP for a Citywide tree planting posted by Parks and Forestry. The Commission voted and unanimously approved sending the letter to the Mayor with discussed changes. o Change the goal to 2,000 in first year. Change goal to plant 30,000 within 10 years. JCEC Secretary Lawrence informed the Commission that there is no update from Google Analytics about providing commissioners with . Commission will revisit in February. Plastic Bag Ordinance Commissioner Luebke and others have been in discussions with a lawyer for the City. They have found the Plastic Bag Ordinance in Teaneck, NJ would work well for Jersey City as well. Below are a few objectives of the ordinance: o Include measure to discourage use of plastic bags o Paper bags must have at least 40% post-consumer content o Launch a yearlong educational campaign prior to introducing the ordinance
3 Page 3 of 5 Partner with schools and children Commissioner Mirescu indicated there are new voices in the DOE, would be happy to facilitate an introduction. Branded bag campaign Commissioner Luebke suggested finding a way to incorporate the JC Green Businesses. o Businesses cannot add a charge if you use your own plastic bag. o Food carts and food delivery are exempt. Something to discuss in the future, as many don t like this loophole. Secretary Lawrence forwarded the commissioners the NYS Plastic Bag Ordinance Report. The report is a review of the bag ordinances of the country. It discusses the impact of single-use plastic bags as well as the options for legislation. Commissioner Verdibello asked who takes bags for recycling o Commissioners Luebke and Mirescu- Best Buy and Shop Rite. o Chair Cucco made a recommendation to include plastic bag collection as part of this year s Earth Day activities. Jersey City Green Business Certification Commissioners voted to approve the applications for the following businesses: o Bucket & Bay Craft Gelato Co. o VendiQuench LLC o Kanibal & Co. Commissioner Mirescu recused himself for the following vote and left the Caucus Room. o Commissioners voted to approve the applications for the following business: RESILIENT/CITY, LLC Chair Cucco communicated that two student volunteers from Montclair State University will be assisting on the Green Business Recognition Program. A meeting is in the works for the coming weeks. Secretary Lawrence spoke about the organization Rethink Disposable ( which promotes the use of no disposables at all for businesses. o Interested in pursuing a project in JC. o Will be giving a presentation in Jersey City on the evening of Feb 21 st. Location has not been decided. Citizens Advisory Committee Letter to Governor-elect Murphy The letter addresses the re-establishment of oyster restoration with CAC and NJ/NY, harbor wastewater treatment, and CSO reduction. It addresses consistency in water pathogens and fecal analysis, highlights national standards vs. standards in New Jersey and New York, both of which are outdated. The letter also seeks to address fish advisory levels and creation of no discharge for Raritan Bay.
4 Page 4 of 5 Chair Cucco will edit the letter to address new DEP Commissioner McCabe and send the letter on behalf of the JCEC in support of the Citizen s Advisory Committee and the five priorities outlined in the letter. Commission voted and unanimously approved sending the letter to Commissioner McCabe and Governor Murphy with discussed changes Resolution to Support Sustainable Open Space and Farmland Chair Cucco inquired with the Highlands Coalition about how the PILOT program is related to Open Space, yet has not heard back. Discussion will be tabled for February 2018 Commission meeting. Planning for Next Year goals, agendas, and speakers JCEC 2018 Goals o Continue increasing communication via Twitter- Cucco o Green Business Recognition Program- Cucco and Lawrence o Plastic Bag Educational Campaign- Luebke and others o Solar through the Office of Sustainability o Drafting letter to DEP Commissioner regarding federal pesticide regulation- Lanez o Site visit in Hoboken s resilient flood parks- Mirescu o Supporting the Morris Canal Greenway- Lanez o United Nations Making Cities Resilient Campaign- Mirescu JCEC Potential Speakers o Professor Alison Fitzgerald and students from NJCU o Emile DeVito from the Highlands Coalition o City s Recycling Coordinator o Sam Pesin- FOLSP o Morris Canal Greenway representative o Bergen Arches representative o MUA representative- regarding Boonton Reservoir development follow-up o Community Composting representative o United Nations representative o Stevens Institute of Technology speaker- Commissioner Mirescu s suggestion NEW BUSINESS United Nations Making Cities Resilient Campaign Commissioner Mirescu suggested drafting a letter on behalf of the JCEC petitioning the City to join the United Nations Making Cities Resilient Campaign ( o Campaign is a city-to-city sharing platform. Share documents such as: resiliency, adaptation, and green infrastructure plans. Chair Cucco asked what requirements JC must meet in order to join the campaign.
5 Page 5 of 5 o The City would have to meet 3 out of 10 requirements. o JC would be a signatory. Gets global and local press. Chair Cucco inquired about potential costs to the City. o No cost is ever incurred. An annual reporting mechanism, in addition to an assessment tool, will be provided by the UN. Commissioner Mirescu will draft a letter petitioning the City by the February meeting. CSO Long Term Control Plans The JCMUA must complete its Long Term Control Plan by As part of its consent order with the EPA, the MUA will need to invest in major infrastructure to reduce CSO flooding events. So far there has been little outreach and education to the public about the process. There are regional quarterly CSO Supplemental Team meetings in order to educate the public about the process and to discuss green infrastructure alternatives. Chair Cucco will contact MUA and PVSC to set up a CSO Supplemental Team meeting in Jersey City. CLOSING REMARKS AND OTHER BUSINESS BY COMMISSIONERS Secretary Lawrence announced the February meeting will take place in Council Chambers. Secretary Lawrence passed around a draft of the Forestry Standards. o Will share final version when it is ready. o Chair Cucco asked if input was required by the JCEC. Secretary Lawrence said no. PUBLIC PARTICIPATION None. ADJOURNMENT The meeting was adjourned at 8:25 p.m. NEXT MEETING The next Environmental Commission meeting is scheduled for 13 February 2018 at 6:30 p.m. in City Council Chambers, City Hall, Jersey City, NJ