Corrections or additions?
These articles by Michele Alperin, Bart Jackson, and Karen Hodges
Miller were prepared for the July 3, 2007 issue of U.S. 1 Newspaper.
All rights reserved.
Penni Nafus, director of NJAWBO’s Women’s Business Center, knows that
so many people puzzle over whether to start a business. One sign that
the entrepreneurial life may be right is an aversion to life in a
corporate cube, but she says that
so much more is required. If you have ever dreamed of opening your own
business, Nafus has some answers for you. Whether you are dreaming of
opening a local gift shop or founding a multi-million dollar
manufacturing company, the skills you
need to know are very different from the skills you need to survive in
the corporate cubicle.
A popular WBC course, "Are You an Entrepreneur?," gives an overview of
those skills. The next free course takes place on Monday, July 9, at 9
a.m. at the Women’s Business Center, 127 Route 206, in Hamilton. Cost:
free. To register call
The class, says Nafus, is a great starting place for "people who have
a really great idea, but don’t know how to go forward." The three hour
course is not long enough to go into detail on every issue of business
ownership, but it does give
an overview of a variety of topics. The class, says Nafus, teaches
people the "business of being in business."
The WBC is the educational arm of NJAWBO (New Jersey Association of
Women Business Owners). It offers a variety of seminars, classes, and
individual consulting for women and men at all levels of business,
from those just starting out to
seasoned business owners.
Nafus has been teaching the entrepreneur’s course, "for about six or
seven years," she says. She brings to the class her own experience as
an entrepreneur, a life which she "came to almost by accident," she
says. Her husband, James, a
refrigeration engineer, had an equipment problem. "A Zamboni (an ice
resurfacing machine) blew, and it all started with a phone call he
made to the company," she recounts. During the call, he decided that
Zamboni was in need of a
distributor in the central New Jersey area. He and his wife stepped
into the void and ran the distribution business for 22 years, until
selling their company in the late 1990s.
However, leaving the business did not mean the Nafus was ready to
retire. She joined the WBC and at the same time finished her
bachelor’s degree in sociology from Rutgers University.
One of the common problems many business owners have, says Nafus, is
that "they know their craft, but they also need to know business." A
fabulous chef may decide to open a catering company, but to stay in
business she will need to learn a
new set of skills. These include bookkeeping, marketing, networking,
the legal structure of a business, as well as insurance, obtaining
financing, and credit.
Nafus also says that every new entrepreneur needs to think about an
exit strategy. It may sound odd to think about closing your business
before it has even opened, but Nafus explains that knowing where you
want your business to be in 20 to
25 years is an important starting point for every entrepreneur. An
understanding of where you want to take your business is crucial to
developing a good business plan.
So what makes an entrepreneur? Nafus says there are several common
traits of a successful entrepreneur.
Passion. Number one on her list of top skills for the entrepreneur is
passion. "If you don’t care about your business, then no one else
will," she says. Passion for your business will keep you going late at
night and on weekends, and it
will help you to find creative solutions when the going gets rough.
Health. Having good health is very important for the entrepreneur.
"When beginning a business people work 12 to 14 hours a day. You have
to have the good health and the energy and stamina to do that day
after day," says Nafus.
Communication skills. Excellent communication skills are a third key
to becoming a successful business owner. Being able to communicate
both with customers and with employees is an essential ingredient to
giving good service. "I’m a firm
believer that no matter the product, service is number one," says
Creativity. Entrepreneurs have to be creative and independent. They
need to be able to solve the unexpected problems that arise and to
keep coming up with new ideas. They also need the confidence to go
ahead with those ideas.
Accept challenges. This is one of the hardest things for
entrepreneurs, she says. They must be prepared to accept that
something might not work and have the ability to find a way around the
problem. One of the common traits all
entrepreneurs share is that they are independent thinkers who don’t
easily fit into a mold. They aren’t "traditional folks; they’re
renegades," she says. "They don’t want to be put in a cubicle."
While this independence is what drives them, it can often be their
downfall if they don’t ask for help from others who are more
experienced. That’s where the "Are You an Entrepreneur?" class comes
in. As a former entrepreneur herself, Nafus
teaches by example. Says she: "I’ve made every mistake they’re going
– Paul Miller
Change is inevitable. "People transition six or seven times in their
careers," asserts business coach Helene Mazur of Princeton Performance
Dynamics. Each time they have to "build on everything they’ve done in
the past and translate it into
something else that will be even better."
Of course, when someone is out of work, it can feel like more a
perpetual punishment than an opportunity to move toward the future.
But by setting goals, developing the necessary skills, and controlling
negative attitudes, people can
confront the challenges of job change and come out on top.
Helene Mazur is one of the speakers at the Jewish Family and
Children’s Service’s Project Reemployment, a free seminar taking place
on Monday, July 9, Wednesday, July 11, Monday, July 16, and Wednesday,
July 18, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at
the Hickory Corner Library in Hightstown.
The sessions are for people who are either new to the job search
process or who have not sought employment in some time. Mazur will be
helping people "focus on what steps they can take now that are a
little outside of their comfort zone."
To register, contact Beverly Andres at 609-987-8100 or
To provide good advice about how to get a job, a person must
understand the corporate world from the inside out. Mazur paid her
dues for about 20 years in four large companies, Merrill Lynch, Dean
Witter, Bankers Trust, and Electronic Data
Systems, in jobs where she worked with business owners and colleagues
in functions ranging from sales and marketing to facilitating
administrative groups and strategic planning.
Six years ago she started her own business, Princeton Performance
Dynamics (www.ppdbusinesscoaching.com), where she works with small
professional service businesses – both the owners and their teams. "I
have had a lot of real live
leadership experience helping effect change in companies," says Mazur,
"and I’m doing it now with small businesses." For at least four years
Mazur has been offering similar help to the participants in Project
Mazur received her bachelor’s degree in marketing in 1979 from the
State University of Albany and a master’s in business administration
from the Stern Business School at New York University. She is also a
certified financial planner.
What Mazur works on at both Project Reemployment and in her consulting
work is helping people to think differently about past and future.
To help people define what it is they are really looking for, Mazur
starts with the big picture, asking people how they define success.
"This is a good framework for thinking about life in general," she
says, "not just about how to get a
job tomorrow." But of course it’s not really a question people spend a
lot of time pondering, and initially they have trouble with it. That’s
partly because most people are running around with someone else’s
definition of success, that of
their parents, their ex-boss, or even their spouse, says Mazur.
When Mazur asks people to brainstorm about their goals, she finds they
are different for every person. But some do come up time and again:
more flexibility, more challenge, making a difference in world, and
In her work to help people reach their personal goals, Mazur follows a
process that leads from the assessment and development of skills to
the creation of actionable items.
Shape past experience into future possibilities. When they launch a
job search many people have lots of experience, including a set of
skills they want to translate into a different job than they’ve had in
the past. The question, says
Mazur, is: "How do I represent myself as something I’ve never been in
the past?" One way to start to figure this out is to write down
skills, and then brainstorm – at this seminar, or with friends, former
colleagues, or a career counselor –
about other types of careers that would use those skills.
Do research on available jobs. Many people spend a lot of time on the
computer, submitting resumes to huge online sites. But given the
tremendous volume of resumes these sites pull in 24 hours a day, the
response rate can be close to nil.
"I encourage people to spend less time on the computer and more time
out there and meeting people," says Mazur.
She encourages job seekers to use all possible resources to connect
with people. A good place to start, she says, is the U.S. 1 Business
Directory, which provides an overview of companies in the area.
Another resource is Handsonhelpers.org,
a website for volunteer opportunities. The goal, she says, is meeting
people who can eventually introduce you to the "right people."
At the beginning, it’s not a matter of immediately finding the "right
people," but rather just cracking open the decision-maker’s door.
"Don’t be intimidated if the three people you talk to won’t be the
hiring managers in the company," she
advises. The goal might be to get "three names that will get you
closer to the company you are looking for."
Prepare a 30-second elevator speech. You need to be ready when you
meet people to tell them in short order who you are and what your goal
is. For example, "I’m in transition and looking to learn more about
some of the local companies in the
information technology business."
And don’t forget to bring along your business card.
Manage your time well by setting up a plan. Frustration looms large
during a job search, especially after four hours on the computer that
yield nothing. Instead specify exactly what you plan to do, being as
specific as possible.
Mazur urges job seekers to keep the goals small: maybe attend four
networking functions in the next month; spend an hour a day either at
the library or online researching a new industry; or spend that hour a
day talking to people about what
the industry involves, what credentials are required, and whether
there are open positions. Take a class to develop skills that may be
prerequisites for a different type of work, or even "go to the gym a
couple times a week to keep your
attitude in check."
Mazur’s goal for her clients and the people at Project Reemployment is
to get them to "take themselves a little bit out of their comfort
zones, to encourage them to take an action that they haven’t taken
Specify any obstacles and challenges that might prevent you from
achieving your goals, and work through possible solutions.
Hone job search skills. The skills that are critical in a job search
include time management, sales (because you are selling yourself),
leadership (in this case, self-leadership, because you have to know
where you are headed and have a game
plan to get there), and writing skills – cover letters and resumes
need to be perfectly written, engaging, and persuasive.
Work on your attitude. "Even if you have all the right skills and
goals," says Mazur, "sometimes attitude can be the biggest piece of
the puzzle in terms of being able to succeed at anything or find a
Mazur offers several suggestions: surround yourself with positive
people, read self-help books, keep reminding yourself of your past
accomplishments (in fact, make a folder and pull it out any time
you’re feeling down).
Find someone to encourage you through the process. At Project
Reemployment participants coach each other, but anyone not able to
attend can enlist a friend to fill this role. "Find someone you can
work with to remind you of what you are
trying to accomplish, to help you stay on track with your action plan,
to ask how you are doing, and to help you move forward," suggests
Mazur thinks that job opportunities are out there, partly because, she
says, "a lot of companies are starting to think creatively when they
are looking to hire people." An accounting firm, for example, was
looking for women who have been in
the work force before, but out of it for a while, because "they like
to train them their own way."
In the job search process, the keystone is setting goals and Mazur
suggests keeping in mind the SMART acronym – not her own invention,
she says, but on the mark: Goals need to be Specific, Measurable,
Attainable, Realistically high (that
is, a stretch but not too much of a stretch), and they should each
have a Target date.
– Michele Alperin
Clean energy is lagging. The same technological explosion that has
transformed aviation, the Internet, and even video games, has left
wind, solar, and biomass energy creeping along far behind. This
inequity is not due to a lack of vocal
cheerleading. Praise for alternative power sources has become trendy –
embraced even by conservatives who scoffed not so long ago. Meanwhile,
actual innovation and new applications are being bypassed by the
Why isn’t clean energy replacing older, fossil-dependent technologies?
This is a key question on the table at the Environmental Leadership
Program’s "Climate Change Conference" on Tuesday, July 10, through
Thursday, July 12, beginning at 9
a.m. at the New Jersey Institute of Technology, University Heights in
Newark. Cost: $75. Call 215-292-3040 or visit www.elpnet.org. "Climate
University," a pre-conference instructional program, takes place
during the early part of the
conference, and has a separate registration fee of $50.
The kickoff seminar, "New and Emerging Models of Climate Friendly
Business Ventures," promises to show projects in the works and
unaddressed needs – along with a little finger pointing at energy
villains. Speakers include Cameron Brooks,
vice president of resource development for Renewable Choice Energy in
Boulder, Colorado; Jacob Park of Green Mountain University; and David
Dunn of Central Vermont Public Service.
Brooks is an angry, eager environmentalist who has the technological
know how to back up his insistence on more progress. A native of San
Francisco, he graduated from Yale University in l991 with a bachelor’s
degree in ecological design. He
then led several environmental advocacy groups in Colorado before
earning an MBA from Cornell University in ecological marketing.
A strong New Jersey advocate, Brooks became one of the major
architects for New Jersey’s Renewable Energy Credit system in 2004.
The state was clamoring for more clean energy out of existing
utilities, and purchasers of clean energy systems
were clamoring for relief from high installation costs. As a project
manager for the Clean States Alliance (www.cleanenergystates.org),
Brooks helped develop a system whereby all public utilities must have
a set percentage of their total
kilowatt hours as clean energy.
To meet these percentage standards, the utilities can purchase RECs –
renewable energy credits – from individual homeowners who use solar,
wind, or biomass systems. If a home is powered largely through solar
panels, for example, any excess
energy that it produces is purchased by a utility company.
Brooks is now developing new wind powered facilities for Renewable
Choice Energy. By using the support from renewable energy credits the
company helps establish new wind farms and makes wind a viable option
for the individual residential
homeowner. (Visit www.renewablechoice.com.)
"We have to change our mindset," says Brooks. "The technology will
come and will be adapted if we can break the traditional energy views
foisted upon us by the utilities."
Energy myths. For generations, big regional utilities have convinced
themselves – and us – that they need to always be ready for peak load.
Therefore, they have overbuilt, their plants are often idle, and we
pay for it. "It is a little like
hiring extra help for the Christmas rush, and then keeping them on all
year long," says Brooks.
From what Brooks terms "this big block attitude" has come the concept
that all kilowatt hours – each unit of energy – must cost exactly the
same, because they come from a common pot.
But what about charging based on the energy’s source, time of day,
location, or weather considerations – for example, the need for air
conditioning on a 100-degree August day versus a 60-degree August day?
We accept such billing from
telephone utilities, Brooks argues.
Such kilowatt categorizing could encourage peak-time conservation and
the use of cleaner energy. Solar energy, for example, has long been
seen as the ideal peak power hedge, because when demand for air
conditioning is at its highest – on
those sunny, 100-degree August days – solar units really shine.
Restricting energy production to a few, centralized plants may be
wasteful, but it could also be dangerous in terms of security. These
huge regional facilities are ideal targets for terrorists of any
stripe – and are vulnerable to natural
disasters such as hurricanes or earthquakes, too. What’s more, they
are so enormous that they are beyond any possible backup.
"Where were the solar panels on the New Orleans stadium during
Katrina?" asks Brooks. "Just a minimal number could have flooded those
poor refugees with much needed light."
Ventures afoot. For the last few years venture capitalists have been
plunging into wind and solar energy distribution with lucrative
results. New Jersey, boasting one of the nation’s most solar-friendly
policies, has seen demand soar well
beyond the ability of installers to meet it. Home Depot, which has
customers waiting in line for solar, despite their heavy mark up. But
Brooks points out that this is only for the most basic clean energy
"Electrons flow both ways; energy researchers are stuck in only one,"
he says. "I can download music to and from anywhere on my iPod, but
there is no device on my dishwasher telling me whether energy demand
is high, or low." Brooks foresees
such priority routing as the very essential and very profitable next
step in energy development.
If a chip were installed to govern a home’s or a business’ energy flow
throughout the day and week, the total capacity required at any time
could be reduced. The well pump, thermostat controlled refrigerator,
air conditioning, and other
appliances could perform their tasks in conserving concert. There
could be cost savings in using energy during off-peak times. Just as
telephone companies are able to minimize the size of their systems by
encouraging off-hour usage, so too
could utilities use the carrot of lower bills to get consumers to pay
attention to when they are doing their laundry.
The problem is one of application, not technology, Brook insists. We
have airplanes that land electronically by sensing and communicating
data back and forth. Programs like these for running residential and
commercial buildings are
comparatively simple. And as energy costs skyrocket, new entrepreneurs
should be knocking on the doors of major distributors.
Villains & bottlenecks. "We have a utilities network that is at best
indifferent to clean energy, and at worst hostile," says Brooks.
"Despite urgings from the public, businesses, and even a grudging
government, we are stymied." Like
virtually all businesses that have been reaping profits from one
product, one way, for a long time, utilities have resisted the change
to alternative energy sources.
New Jersey government mandates that a set percentage of each utility’s
energy be classified as clean. Utilities are fined $300 for each
megawatt below that mark. Rather than build clean energy plants,
utilities have chosen to purchase clean
energy credits from various solar arrays around the state. (One
renewable energy credit equals one megawatt of electric power.) From
where does the money for these fines and REC purchases come? It is
simply passed along as a surcharge to
the ratepayer. It’s a bit pesky, but the utilities lose nothing.
Additionally, utilities have launched a major, if somewhat subtle,
campaign stating that clean energy is overpriced. Solar and wind
systems, they say, couldn’t possibly stand alone were it not for vast
government subsidies. The average
household in the U.S. employs 9,000 watts of electricity annually. At
today’s prices in the New Jersey, a solar array to handle that usage
would cost $70,000 before rebates. After state and federal subsidies,
the homeowner’s bill might come
to $25,000 with an approximate eight-year payback.
Certainly, this is subsidized energy. But what the utilities fail to
mention is that they themselves are subsidized by government on a
scale that makes solar subsidies look paltry. These subsidies may have
been legitimate when states sought
to avoid a tangle of competitive wires criss-crossing every street,
and therefore created a regulated monopoly for electric power. "And
while that need is long gone now," says Brooks, "the utility subsidies
still remain, and competition is
strangled as a result."
– Bart Jackson
What does is mean when Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley begin rating
companies based on their response to climate change? Why are major
institutional investors, acting on their analysts’ advice, divesting
their portfolios of environmentally
irresponsible firms? In short, what do these experts already know that
you want to know?
For probably the first time, the business and investment sectors are
focusing on climate change as a strategic concern. The rationale
behind this new trading trend is one of many topics discussed at the
Environmental Leadership Program’s
"Climate Change Conference" on Tuesday, July 10, through Thursday,
July 12, beginning 9 a.m. at the New Jersey Institute of Technology,
University Heights in Newark. Cost: $75. Call 215-292-3040 or visit
On the morning of July 11, the panel discussing "Climate Change and
the Marketplace: Changing Landscape for Business Strategy," shows the
surprising power of this new investment-environment link. Panelists
include Eric Becker, vice
president with Trillium Asset Managers; Donna Steele of McKinsey and
Company; and Shelly Zimmer of NIKE.
Growing up in Boston, the son of a social worker and a psychiatrist,
the realms of finance were the last career path Becker could imagine
himself choosing. He attended Haverford College, graduating in l991
with a bachelor’s degree in
comparative religion. When asked whether he ever uses this academic
major, Becker replies, "In this market? Every day."
Becker originally joined Trillium Asset Managers to work on the
company newsletter. But he soon got swept up in the excitement of
investing, and in l996 became a financial analyst for the firm.
Trillium, whose investments have traditionally been governed by social
and environmental responsibility, has encouraged Becker to develop
several climate-change oriented funds. This past April the
Environmental Leadership Program named
Becker as one the Boston area’s top 24 environmentalists – an unusual
award for an investment manager.
"We are swiftly entering a new, carbon-constrained era," says Becker.
"Simply, the companies that survive and draw investors are those that
can go lean in this new aspect."
Green mandates. There are still a few, head-in-the-sand business
people who deny global warming, climate change, and environmental
peril, dismissing the lot as some sort of political hoax. "Believe
what you will," says Becker, "but
governmental regulations and supply restrictions are coming, and they
will force firms to mix environmental concerns into their daily
business equation." Virtually no one is making profits large enough to
ignore the energy dollar drain.
One factor already increasingly appreciated by most businesses is the
energy savings achieved by going green. As utility-fed electricity and
carbon-based fuel costs continue to soar, trimming the energy bill
becomes the difference between
black ink or red. Companies that build and refurbish using
energy-efficient techniques, find new conservation methods, and adopt
alternative clean energies are noting the competitive difference.
The green mandate is even creeping into product design. Baldor
Electric Company, based in Fort Smith, Arkansas, manufactures several
models of electric motors. But it is their ultra high efficiency model
that is flying off the shelves. The
price is premium, but since the energy cost of running a motor dwarfs
the purchase price, no one is looking at the sticker.
"Quality is coming back," says Becker. "Customers are demanding a
longer product life cycle, and cheaper running costs. These are
factors that allow companies to differentiate themselves in the
market." In addition to the customer savings,
the environmentally-conscious companies are banking enormous amounts
of good will.
New due diligence. No doubt Goldman Sachs has some outstandingly
altruistic brokers working at its offices, but rest assured they do
not suggest any stock offering because the company does nice things.
Major brokerage houses make and
maintain their reputation based on the results of their financial
advice. They will tell clients to invest in munitions if a war is
imminent. So why are they pushing environmental responsibility so hard
"It’s primarily to protect their investors’ assets," says Becker. All
the energy savings, product differentiation, regulation compliance,
and good will give a company fiscal strength. Conversely, the wanton
polluter or energy hog faces
excellent odds of not lasting another 20 years, and becomes an
investment broker’s liability.
"Climate change has become just one more risk management consideration
in the due diligence process," says Becker. A manufacturer of recycled
steel, versus virgin steel, is the sounder long term investment.
Likewise a company that developed
a climate change strategy and opts for recycled steel in implementing
it will gain brokers’ recommendations.
Investors’ yardsticks. "As the chief investment officer for New York
City’s pension fund, I look for long and short term security for our
$100 billion worth of investments. This means that consideration of
sustainability makes for a
positive bottom line," says William Thompson. Thompson is not alone.
The Investor Network on Climate Risk (www.incr.com) is an organization
of institutional investors and financial institutions with more than
$4 trillion in assets. It is using its clout to demand climate change
strategies from all companies.
By holding summits and forcing shareholder resolutions, they are
getting the message across. We can no longer afford to ignore our
environment. We must consider the effects of our actions.
"Currently, there is not a great transparency in the
energy-per-manufactured-widget available," says Becker. "But just
wait, energymetrics reporting will soon be standard." Investors
already want to compare not just a company’s energy
strategies, but its actual energy usage within a given field.
In l990, Trillium launched CERES, a coalition of investors and
investors. Linked with INCR, it formed the Global Reporting
Initiative, which not only urges disclosure of environmental impact,
but also sets a quantifiable standard for
investor comparison. More and more investors will be able to see what
environmental policies they are buying into.
Clearly, the myth that for business to prosper, environmental concerns
must often be set aside, is quickly losing favor. The investment
community is beginning to see the economy and the environment as
intertwined. As Abby Joseph Cohen,
Goldman Sachs’ partner and chief U.S. investment strategist, who is
famous for predicting the bull market of the 1990s, says: "We believe
that environmental matters belong on the agenda of every company."
– Bart Jackson
Given the heavy rainstorms of April, and of years past, and of the
flooded highways and basements that ensued, the state government had
to look for some solutions. One reason for flooding, the state
decided, was development close to the
banks of rivers and small streams. More buildings and more parking
lots naturally mean that less soil is available to soak up rainfall.
One result of the observation is that the Department of Environmental
Protection has put into place four new rules that will affect land
development as the state approaches the point of complete built-out.
But these rules – set to go into
effect by the end of the year – have a lot of developers scratching
their heads, and scrambling to catch up. Some think that too little
thought, and too little science, went into drafting the rules, and
that they will stifle not only new
development, but also redevelopment of deteriorating urban areas.
"The state has adopted a series of regulations in the past year that
severely restrict the development of land," says Neil Yoskin, an
attorney with Sokol, Behot, and Fiorenzo in Hackensack, where he
practices in the areas of environmental
law, land use, and civil litigation. "These changes purport to be
quality related but they have severe land use implications as well,
both residential and commercial everywhere in the state," he says.
In New Jersey water quality regulations are often the determining
factor on whether all or part of a parcel of land can be developed. A
property may meet all local zoning requirements, but can still face
regulatory restrictions on the state
level. "These new rules will create buffers adjacent to water bodies,"
says Yoskin. "Whereas under the current rules if you were developing
within a flood hazard area and planned to build within 25 feet of a
stream you needed a permit from
the state. Now this 25-foot minimum will increase at least to 50 feet
and in many circumstances to 150 feet, or even 300 feet, on either
side of a stream. That’s the real bugaboo."
Yoskin moderates a seminar on "Land Use, Water Quality, and the Law"
on Tuesday, July 10, at 9 a.m. at the New Jersey Law Center, One
Constitution Square, New Brunswick, sponsored by the New Jersey Center
for Continuing Legal Education.
Speakers will include Lawrence Baier, director of Division of
Watershed Management; Andrew R. Davis, of Paulus, Sokolowski and
Sartor; Joseph J. Fleming, of PS and S Engineers; and Tavit Najarian
of Najarian Associates. Cost: $199, but free
for law students with I.D.) To register or for more information, call
While primarily set up for practicing attorneys who represent
builders, developers or municipalities, as well as municipal planners
or city officials, the seminar is also offered to the public. "We
generally get a good representation of the
general public at these events," says Yoskin. "This particular topic
is pretty controversial and will have an almost draconian impact on
According to Yoskin, one of the reasons why the rules are
controversial is because many doubt their ultimate benefit.
"A lot of people are wondering just how effective all this will be,"
says Yoskin. "The environmental community is happy about these rules,
but others feel it is just the politically expedient thing to for a
problem that is a lot more
complicated. Government has a lot of administrative problems and a
constrained budget and sometimes the easiest thing to do is draw a
bold line and leave it at that."
Another problem is the vagueness of the rules. "The rules don’t
distinguish well between development and re-development," says Yoskin.
"So even in areas that are being redeveloped, you can run into these
While ostensibly meant to further environmental protection, Yoskin
says that the new regulations ignore many subtle facts. "A lot of
consulting engineers and scientists feel that the 300-foot buffer
requirement isn’t supported by the
scientific literature," he says. "The fact is that the water quality
buffers are a function with a lot of variables that include flow,
vegetation, and temperature, and most suggest that 300 feet is just
too wide. It becomes obvious that it
is really not a water quality measure, but a land use measure."
A practicing attorney in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, Yoskin is a
member of the New Jersey State Bar Association’s Sections on
Environmental and Land Use Law and the American Bar Association’s
Natural Resources Law Section. He is also a
member of the National Association of Home Builders-Legal Action
Network for Development Strategies. A former staff attorney with the
New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, he is a member of
the adjunct faculty of Seton Hall
University Law School and serves on the Environmental Finance Advisory
Board of the United States Environmental Protection Agency. He earned
his B.A. from the University of Virginia and his J.D. from Temple
University School of Law.
Yoskin says that the ultimate impact of the new rules will be to take
a lot of land out of development throughout the state and in some
cases to make redevelopment much harder. The rules will also
potentially conflict with other goals of
state government, such as redeveloping cities like Patterson or
"Most of our cities were built along rivers because that is where you
have your power source," he says. "But these new rules, particularly
the flood hazard rules, make redevelopment so difficult. We have a
client who does nothing but build
multi-family affordable housing. He was approached by the Patterson
Housing Authority for a project on the banks of the Passaic River. But
when we ran the numbers on the new rules, he saw that he had to create
so much area for a flood
storage basin that it would have forced all parking to be structured
parking. That makes the project unaffordable. This site under the new
rules will not be developed, and you won’t have that affordable
housing. It will be an empty lot in
the middle of town."
But despite difficulties and questions about the efficacy of the new
measures, they will be a reality that all developers will need to take
into account. "The perception by the state is that if we just adopt
these rules, we will solve the
problem of flooding," says Yoskin. "But even if you believe that
flooding is caused by existing development, regulating new development
out of existence won’t change the problem. But this is something that
those considering new development
will need to take into account."
– Jack Florek
The Greater Mercer TMA (www.gmtma.org) is holding its first gas free
day on Wednesday, July 11. The mass transit advocacy organization is
urging everyone to pop out of their car cocoons, take a deep breath,
and find another way to get to
Do not stop for gas, GMTMA is urging. Send a message that pump prices
are too high, and at the same time give a commuting alternative a try.
Take part, and you will definitely save money, you may win a prize,
and best of all, says GMTMA’s
Joan Beck, you may find that carpooling, or biking, or taking the bus
is an unexpected pleasure.
A warm woman who understands Mercer residents’ extreme attachment to
the independence that comes with having their wheels parked right
outside their doors, she says that those who are able to break free
tend to like sharing their ride with
others. "It’s someone else to talk to," she says of carpooling.
The gas free idea was Beck’s, but she quickly adds that "it’s not
really new. I’ve heard about it a number of times." The impetus for
these mini-boycotts, she says, is generally a rise in gas prices. The
tipping point now tends to be $3. At
that price, she says, "people talk about boycotting the pump. They say
`let’s send a message to such and such.’"
The media tends to pooh-pooh the idea, though, she finds. "They say
you’re not doing anything. You’re filling up day before or the day
after.’" That response misses the mark, though. "You’re reducing your
days of travel by one," she points
out. "You’re using gas for one day less."
While carpooling is not yet the norm, Beck says that "numbers are up."
She credits a good part of the increase to a state program, started
about one year ago, that gives $100 gas cards to new carpools after 24
trips within two months.
"We’ve had enormous interest," she says. Everyone – even people
already carpooling – is eligible. Sign up at www.NJcommuter.org or at
GMTMA’s website. A commuter service manager will then arrange a
GMTMA is always coming up with new ways to part commuters from their
solo drive habit, but a random ride down Route 1 any day between the
hours of 4:50 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. is enough to demonstrate that
one-person-per-car is the norm. How
frustrating is that? "I understand it," says Beck. "You wish more
people would take part, but I’ve been in it long enough. But it just
takes little things and a little time. If somebody tries it, they find
they like it. There are a lot of
Beck herself is not an ideal carpool candidate. "I live in Little Egg
Harbor Township," she says. "I travel 62 miles one way." But, thanks
to her boss, she is doing her part to save gas. "I have a great boss,
Sandra Brillhardt," she says.
"I telecommute two days a week." The arrangement is great for Beck,
but it is also a benefit to her organization. Like so many
telecommuters Beck says that "I find I get more done at home. I’m be
able to achieve more."
Anyone telecommuting on July 11 is eligible to enroll in the Gas Free
Day program, right along with the bikers, carpoolers, and workers who
plan to travel via bus, train, or van. Sign up at GMTMA’s website.
Corrections or additions?
This page is published by PrincetonInfo.com
— the web site for U.S. 1 Newspaper in Princeton, New Jersey.