Master plan may go a little greener

Plans to add a sustainable element to the borough’s master plan are moving ahead as borough commissioners discussed putting out a request for proposals for a technical sustainability planning consultant with both Diane Schrauth of Sustainable Haddonfield and John Stokes, a member of both the planning board and the environmental commission.

Both Schrauth and Stokes discussed their idea for the RFP at the Oct. 30 commissioners’ work session meeting, following previous discussion between Sustainable Haddonfield and the planning board.

Discussion of adding a green element to the master plan began after the borough successfully received a $10,000 grant from Sustainable Jersey to do so.

Schrauth said it is currently estimated that the addition of the sustainable element to the master plan will cost in the range of $15,000 to $25,000.

“I’m hoping the borough will incorporate green engineering and green technology into its decision making,” Schrauth said after the meeting in regard to her goals for the green element.

As explained by Schrauth, the green element will address four points, that include historic preservation, storm water management, complete streets and open space.

“We wanted this committee to focus on the issues plaguing this town,” Schrauth said.

During the discussion, Mayor Jeff Kasko asked about green technology versus historic preservation, using the example of windows and how green windows may conflict with historic preservation in buildings that fall into the historic district or historic landmark designation.

“Windows have plagued the planning board for years,” Stokes said.

Stokes also added that they would be working with the Historic Preservation Commission to address the issues, and also to garner input on the installation of solar panels within the historic district.

Stokes added that the RFP was structured very carefully with detail on the need for a “great deal of consultation,” but not necessarily meetings, which would help keep down the total cost for the borough.

The consultant would be required to consult with not only the planning board and Sustainable Haddonfield, but also with other entities, such as Public Works and the board of education.

“We want things that are adoptable and appropriate,” Stokes said.

Kasko also inquired as to whether the new element to the master plan would be useful.

“We can see its potential to influence future action,” Schrauth said.

Finances for the project were also discussed as Kasko explained that if the borough were unable to find money in the 2013 budget, the borough would not have to award the contract until 60 days after the RFP goes out. This meant that if the RFP went out in November, the borough would be in the budget of the next fiscal year when it came time to award the contract.

Stokes said after the meeting that under the terms of the grant, the borough has until May 2015 to revise the master plan.

After consulting with borough administrator Sharon McCullough, Stokes said the next step would to be to form a committee for the project, similar to what was done with the revision of the Historic District Ordinance.

Following discussion, the RFP was scheduled to be placed on the planning board’s agenda for the Nov. 5 meeting.