Are You, Or Aren’t You An Entrepreneur?

For Jobseekers: Rewrite the Past; Rethink the Future

Green Energy Advances, But Not in the Mainstream

Sustainability: New Investment Tip

Urban Consequences of Stream Protection

Gass Free for a Day

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.

Survival Guide

Top Of Page
Are You, Or Aren’t You An Entrepreneur?

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

to make."

– Paul Miller

Top Of Page
For Jobseekers: Rewrite the Past; Rethink the Future

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 (, 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

financial freedom.

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,

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

Top Of Page
Green Energy Advances, But Not in the Mainstream

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

business mainstream.

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 "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 (,

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

"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

Top Of Page
Sustainability: New Investment Tip

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

right now?

"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 ( 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

Top Of Page
Urban Consequences of Stream Protection

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

Top Of Page
Gass Free for a Day

The Greater Mercer TMA ( 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 or at

GMTMA’s website. A commuter service manager will then arrange a

convenient carpool.

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.

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