300 Guests Attend PlanSmart NJ’s 43rd Annual Dinner & Awards Ceremony

NEW BRUNSWICK – PlanSmart NJ, a non-profit land use planning and advocacy organization based in Trenton, held its annual dinner and awards ceremony Nov. 9. Approximately 300 land use planners, business leaders, academic and non-profit leaders were in attendance.

The dinner celebrated seven innovative projects and ventures from throughout NJ in the areas of regional & community development, economic development, resource efficiency, environment and regional equity.

“These awardees represent the best of New Jersey. PlanSmart NJ is honored to recognize these projects and promote the cutting-edge work of leaders in the land use field.” noted Ray Ferrara, PhD, Chairman of the Board of Directors for PlanSmart NJ. “During these economically challenging times, it is encouraging to see bold investments that are turning New Jersey’s economy around. Our award winners are to be commended for their leadership and vision.”

The 2011 awards and recipients:

Regional & Community Planning Achievement Award:
Christopher J. Paladino, New Brunswick Development Corporation (DEVCO) for the Gateway Project.The Gateway Transit Village includes 150 apartments, 42 condominiums, 50,000 square feet of office space, 65,000 square feet of retail space, and a parking garage. A pedestrian skywalk will connect the building both to the existing New Brunswick train station and to the Rutgers campus. The Gateway Transit Village and Wellness Plaza represent a revitalization of New Brunswick including Transit Oriented Development, Mixed Use Development, and Community Based Practices.

Economic Development Achievement Award:
David Samson, Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ)for the decision to raise the Bayonne Bridge. The Port of New York and New Jersey is a thriving economic engine for the region, generating over 269,900 jobs and $6 billion in economic activity. Raising the bridge will optimize the more than $2 billion invested in the Port by the PANYNJ and the federal government in deeper channels and berths, lower shipping costs for businesses that use the port, and reduce truck vehicle miles traveled. Raising the Bayonne Bridge to accommodate New Panamax size ships will ensure stability and growth for the region.

Resource Efficiency Achievement Award:
Barry Rabner, Princeton HealthCare System for his leadership with the development of the University Medical Center at Princeton. The medical campus is part of a cluster of medical facilities on a redevelopment site in Plainsboro and is designed to accommodate public transportation. As part of a Redevelopment Zone, the Medical Center will benefit from a new bus rapid transit system. The site is already well-served by mass transit and that service will increase as the campus develops. The hospital is built to Green Building standards including an on-site co-generation plant as well as a chilled water thermal energy storage system; a photovoltaic installation; high efficiency motors; thermal energy transfer; and water-saving fixtures. Together, these systems will reduce carbon emissions by 18.1 million pounds annually.

Environmental Achievement Awards:
Debby Turner-Fox, Salem County Improvement Authority for working with the Salem County Community College to locate its Samuel H. Jones Glass Education Center in proximity to the land fill to capture the methane gas produced to power the education center. The partnership has been a success for both parties. It has lowered the college’s operating costs significantly, and it has lowered the Improvement Authority’s methane management costs by $70,000.

Jed Richardson, Johnson & Johnson for the largest ground mounted solar array in Titutsville, NJ. This state-of-the-art facility generates approximately 70% of Janssen Pharmaceuticals energy needs; combined with the existing rooftop generation on site, it meets 85% of the site’s energy demand. Janssen Pharmaceuticals has long been a leader in reducing their carbon footprint by reducing waste and redesigning their buildings to LEED standards. The company’s goal to “reduce the environmental impacts of our operations,” is translated into a measurable target of increasing on-site renewable and clean technology energy capacity to 50 megawatts by 2015. To help support success in meeting this target, Johnson &Johnson takes the further step of establishing an annual budget of $40 million for energy projects for the organization’s sites throughout the world.

Avi Avidan, Avidan Management for the largest roof-top solar array (Edison). Avidan Management reduced its energy consumption by 30% and derives 30% of its energy needs from their rooftop solar array, currently the largest in the country. Comprised of 17 acres and 17,745 solar panels, the system generates 4.26 megawatts of solar energy and reduced electrical costs at the building by 70 percent in just the first month after installation.

Regional Equity Achievement Award:
Matthew A. Reilly, MEND for his leadership in developing affordable housing in Burlington County. In the ten years that Matt has been at MEND, he has doubled the number of MEND’s affordable units and expanded its reach into other communities. The organization now owns or manages affordable rental housing – from single family houses to garden apartments at 23 sites in Delanco, Deptford, Evesham, Medford, and Moorestown.

In addition to recognizing the 2011 Awardees, PlanSmart NJ announced the newly elected Board members: Jorge Berkowitz, Langan Engineering; Richard Lloyd, Johnson &Johnson; and Ted Zangari, Sills Cummis & Gross. Each new board member will serve a three year term.

Lucy Vandenberg, Executive Director of PlanSmart NJ, noted, “Our awardees’ initiatives embody smart growth here in NJ. These are the types of projects that PlanSmart NJ champions. With the right land use policies in place, NJ could see many more of these innovative projects in the future.”

Event sponsors include: Title Sponsor: HOK; Presenting: Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc., New Jersey American Water, New Jersey Natural Gas, NRG Energy, Pennrose Properties LLC, TD Bank, Turner Construction Company, Van Note-Harvey Associates, P.C.

PlanSmart NJ is an independent, non-profit civic planning and research organization committed to improving the quality of community life through the advancement of sound land use planning and regional cooperation.

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