The New Rochelle City Council has voted to approve the community’s first sustainability plan, “GreeNR,” concluding a two-year process of research, analysis, and discussion that brought together residents and policy experts, and that also featured extensive public input. The plan is also the first of its kind to be created by a Westchester County community.
GreeNR features practical recommendations for short-, medium-, and long-term action with forty-three specific initiatives. As described by Mayor Noam Bramson, the plan “addresses subjects as big as renewable energy and as small as supermarket tote bags, with lots in between…And it will help New Rochelle take advantage of a shift to green consumer preferences, lifestyles and job opportunities, instead of falling behind.” He added that the plan should help cut costs, not increase them.
The plan states 10 major goals to be accomplished by 2030 as follows:
(1) Reduce energy use and greenhouse gas emissions by at least 20%;
(2) Cut non-recycled solid waste generation by 15% and increase recycling rates to 50%;
(3) Preserve natural spaces and restore inland water bodies;
(4) Absorb or retain 25 million gallons of flood water per storm;
(5) Decrease sewage flow by at least 2 million gallons in peak hours;
(6) Build at least 95% of new housing near mass transit;
(7) Open at least one additional mile of the Sound shore to the public;
(8) Plant at least 10,000 new trees on public property;
(9) Create a comprehensive walking and bicycling system; and
(10) Subscribe at least half of all households to the City website.
The Mayor noted that the next step will be “to develop an initial implementation plan that addresses GreeNR’s short-term objectives.” The City Manager is “to provide annual updates on progress toward GreeNR’s goals.”
The full draft plan is available online at www.newrochelleny.com/greeNRdraft.
Joyce H. Newman is an Emmy Award-winning environmental journalist, educator, and gardener. She holds a Certificate in Horticulture from The New York Botanical Garden, and is a tour guide there.