Sustainable Newtown Square - watch the Township's progress toward sustainability
As the Township progresses in our sustainability efforts, accomplishments or actions will be noted under the relative best practice. The focus will be put on the best practices that apply and can be realistically accomplished.
The following is a comprehensive list, per category. of the 130 best practices of the Sustainable Pennsylvania Community Certification Program.
- Governance & Community Engagement
- Healthy Communities
- Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
- Energy Use, Conversation, & Green Building
- Environmental Stewardship
- Land Use and Transportation
- Local Economy
- Other Sustainability Innovation
- Professional staff are employed or retained, in the areas of budgeting and finance.
- A revenue-expenditure trend analysis is conducted annually.
- Funds for capital-related borrowing are not used for day to day expenses.
- Municipality routinely evaluates ability to ensure that revenue is sufficient to maintain public infrastructure, i.e., road, water, sewer, stormwater, (community has an asset management based budget system).
- Obligations for pensions/other post-employment benefits are funded for the long-term to at least 80%.
- 5-10 percent of operating funds are carried over year to year.
- Taxation takes a balanced approach applicable to all sectors of municipal services provided and fees satisfy cost recovery.
- Green vehicle fleet assessment has been initiated toward: using greener fuels and/or vehicles, vehicle right-sizing for the job/trip, retrofit or replace older diesel trucks or equipment with cleaner technology, or driver education about driving techniques for fuel economy.
- Civic engagement, public participation and transparency are regularly assessed and facilitated.
- A Historic Review Commission is active.
- An Environmental Advisory Council is active.
- Municipality communicated with the public via a regularly scheduled newsletter or regularly updated web based communications.
- All municipal-sponsored events have a sustainability-awareness component.
- A program exists to actively pursue and match residents and local businesses to volunteer opportunities to better the community and assist the local government.
Local and Regional Cooperation
- Municipality is an active participant in a Council of Governments.
- The municipality utilizes Intergovernmental Cooperative Agreements (ICA) to engage in multi-municipal endeavors.
- Intergovernmental Cooperative Agreements include conflict resolution provisions.
- The municipality is committed to passing a resolution (within six months or enrolling) to affirm participation in the Sustainable Community Essentials Certification Program.
- A municipal sustainability program(in name) has been developed and departmental goal setting and budget processes are used to advance it.
- Sustainability policies, goals, and principles have been adopted.
- A sustainability assessment has been conducted to evaluate municipal facilities, operations, plans and regulations relative to conserving resources, saving money, and implementing policies and procedures that simultaneously advance the environment, economy, and social equity.
- There is on-going training for municipal employees and officials and the HR function is closely engaged in advancing objectives of the municipal sustainability program.
- Procedures are in place to measure and track the impacts of the sustainability program (and yearly reporting to the public on results is conducted).
- An executive/management level municipal staff person has responsibility for management of the municipal sustainability program expressly included in their job description.
- Professional development for municipal personnel and officials includes participating (at a minimum, per year) in quarterly Local Government Academy, PA DCED or other professional training association programs.
- Newly elected officials participate in Local Government Academy or other orientation training for public officials.
- Municipality maintains updated public safety mutual aid agreements with neighboring municipalities and shares resources.
- Municipality maintains an updated Public Safety comprehensive plan to be sure staffing and financial resources keep pace with municipal needs for Police, Fire, and Emergency Medical Services.
- Municipality participates in a regional service program or contracts services to or through other municipalities for fire, police, or EMS.
- Incentives exist for establishment of farms and gardens within the municipality.
- The municipality supports a program (or cooperates with neighboring communities) to engage residents in strengthening sustainable food systems to link local foods, farms and people (ex. Buy Fresh Buy Local Initiative, Good Food Neighborhood, etc.).
- Education programs are made available for residents on the benefits or organic, locally-purchased food; farmers' markets and farm stands are facilitated.
- A community produce garden(s) is available.
- Programs by local government, or in cooperation with the non-profit and private sector, exist to address community health concerns, i.e. exercise programs, feeding programs for children and the elderly, crime watches, accessible health care, exercise away from areas of air pollution, etc.
- Outdoor recreation opportunities, amenities, and lifestyles are promoted.
- A program to promote safe walking to school is in place.
- The use of pesticides and herbicides is being monitored and reduced by all municipal departments which use them.
- Measures are taken to ensure a wide range of candidates are interviewed for all municipal job openings i.e., the Rooney Rule.
- The municipality has a written municipal policy prohibiting discrimination and valuing diversity and inclusion.
- The municipality has provided diversity training for municipal employees.
- The municipality annually assesses, and reports to the public, diversity of all boards, employees, volunteers, committees, etc.
- The municipality reports annually to the public on progress in creating a more diverse workforce.
- There is a municipal policy ensuring Minority Business Enterprise and Women Business Enterprise are considered in municipal purchasing, bids and contracts.
- The municipality is engaged in programs to communicate that the community is welcoming to persons who represent diversity (sister city relations, diversity sensitivity training, multilingual signage, etc.).
- Municipal planning is coordinated with the school district and the two meet together at least once per year.
- The municipality and local public schools cooperate to share facilities and other resources. (For example, the municipality assists with the cost of evening lifeguards for community use of a school swimming pool or for provision of crossing guards.)
- Municipality works with schools and local nonprofits/community organizations to engage students about community issues such as waste reduction and recycling, public safety, wellness, conservation, nature, etc.)
Municipal Energy Use
- The municipality has recently completed an energy audit of all municipal buildings and operations. The audit includes findings and recommendations and establishes a baseline of energy usage.
- The municipality has established goals from the energy audit findings and is methodically implementing the energy audit findings.
- Municipal energy use has declined overall at least 15% from the baseline year established in the energy audit.
- Municipality is reporting year to the public on progress and results made in implementing recommendations/findings contained in the municipal energy study.
- Municipality has or is in the process of retrofitting street lights and traffic signals to LED bulbs.
- As part of the energy audit, a greenhouse gas inventory and mitigation plan has been established for municipal functions.
- Positive progress on the greenhouse gas inventory and mitigation plan is reported annually to the public.
- Energy performance of key municipal buildings is tracked using ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager and is reported yearly to the public.
Community Energy Use
- The municipal comprehensive plan contains an energy conservation element.
- Municipal support is provided to a public program (throughout the community and for businesses) to conserve energy, promote renewable energy sources and mitigate carbon emissions.
- The greenhouse gas inventory has been expanded to include the entire community (not just the municipality) and a mitigation plan has been developed.
- There is a written green building policy/standard for new construction/major renovations of municipal buildings such as the International Green Construction Code (IGCC).
- New construction and major renovations at municipal facilities incorporate (sufficient to achieve) LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Silver principles.
- Municipal building operations could meet LEED O&M Silver principles or better.
- The municipality has reviewed ordinances, resolutions, and other policies to remove impediments to the use of alternative energy (wind, solar, geothermal) installations or green building.
- LEED certification is required for development projects receiving a public incentive (TIF, abatement, etc.).
- Municipality purchases energy for multiple facilities from renewable energy sources (or has installed renewable energy sources) such that at least 10% of all municipal energy comes from renewable sources.
- Municipality purchases energy for multiple facilities from renewable energy sources (or installed renewable energy sources) such that at least 40% of all municipal energy comes from renewable sources.
Water Use, Conservation and Quality
- The municipality utilizes an Integrated Municipal Stormwater and Wastewater Planning Approach (as described by EPA) to identify the municipality's priorities for projects and includes a description of how the proposed priorities reflect the relative importance of adverse impacts on human health and water quality and the municipality's financial capability. See: http://cfpub.epa.gov/npdes/integratedplans.cfm
- The municipality actively encourages water conservation and efficiency measures in the community and among businesses.
- Low impact development and onsite stormwater infiltration is encouraged.
- Water provider(s) prioritize improving service to existing developed areas as opposed to opening up new areas to development.
- Drinking water and sanitary sewer rates are based on the real cost of providing service.
- Sufficient investments are being made to the water, sewer, and stormwater systems per real costs and keeping pace with maintenance and operations.
- Cooperation is occurring with neighboring municipalities to manage water and sewer supply, treatment and distribution, sewage and stormwater, in the most cost-efficient way.
- PA State anti-idling law is enforced and compliance is promoted
- Municipality supports public education regarding reducing air pollution and emissions.
- A clean construction emissions policy for all publicly subsidized projects has been adopted and is enforced.
- A burn ban has been formally adopted and made part of municipal ordinance, and State or County outdoor wood fired boiler construction and operation is in accordance with state law.
- The municipality and its municipal waste hauler service are exploring ways to reduce emissions from vehicles and trucks beyond anti-idling.
- Policies, plans and ordinances protect wetlands and waterways and their buffers.
- Written policies exist and ordinances and incentives have been enacted to conserve environmentally and ecologically sensitive places (for example, slopes over 25%, slide prone soil and geology, springs and vernal pools, mature woodlands, Natural Heritage Areas, etc.) in order to protect public safety and natural resources while using green infrastructure for stormwater management.
- Low impact and green development projects, as well as techniques (pervious pavement, bioswales, cisterns, woodland and steep slope protection) are fostered through incentives, ordinances, and design guidelines.
- Tree and woodlands protection and management policies are in place (for example, community forestry plan and canopy goal; tree planting programs; tree maintenance programs; tree hazard and health assessment projects; computerized assessment of municipal trees, tree/woodland replacement criteria in ordinances, etc.).
- A natural resource inventory has been developed for the community within the last 7 years as part of the comprehensive plan.
- Sustainable landscape maintenance practices are in place for parks and municipal grounds.
- The zoning ordinance provides for or accommodates a full range of housing opportunities throughout the community.
- The comprehensive plan addresses the community benefits of and need for expanding housing choice.
- The zoning ordinance has inclusionary housing provisions/incentives.
- A program exists (perhaps in partnership with an outside agency) to facilitate home ownership: homebuyer incentives, employer-assisted housing, community land trust, etc.
- The community is tracking and reporting annually to the public on results toward affordable housing for residents.
- A current inventory of vacant and blighted/blighting properties is maintained and mapped.
- A program is being implemented to put blighted, abandoned properties back into productive use: smart rehab code, conservatorship, demolition, acquisition, green lot strategies, etc.
- The municipality has elected to administer and enforce PA's statewide Uniform Construction Code (UCC).
- The municipality has adopted the International Property Maintenance Code within the last 6 years per good, safe rental housing.
- Staffing is in place sufficient to enforce building and maintenance codes.
- The municipality utilizes a system for collection of delinquent taxes and fees in order to mitigate blight and abandonment.
- Trails for walking and bicycling are being developed or maintained.
- Alternate transportation (e.g. transit, inter-modal, multi-modal, bicycle/pedestrian) are accommodated and promoted.
- Public transportation and ride sharing are promoted and facilitated, as is transit-oriented development (where applicable).
- Bicycle lanes or shared roadways are being developed and a "Share the Road" education campaign is being advanced.
- Police are trained on the rights and responsibilities of bicyclists and state law on passing bicycles.
- Traffic calming techniques, "complete streets" projects, access management and congestion management programs have been evaluated and are being implemented.
- Professional staff are employed or retained to manage the land use program.
- Comprehensive land use/development plan is current, addresses impacts to neighboring communities, and incorporates sustainability principles.
- A multi-municipal comprehensive plan has been adopted as has an official map.
- Up-to-date ordinances for zoning and subdivision/land development are in place to implement the comprehensive plan.
- The comprehensive plan and ordinances promote pedestrian-oriented, dense, walkable, mixed-use development (in existing and proposed development), and redevelopment in the core or town center.
- A Transfer Development Rights (TDR) program is in place to incentivize development where infrastructure currently exists and to protect important green space.
- Developers are required to submit a comprehensive and detailed fiscal impact analysis including long-term fiscal impacts such as road repair, school infrastructure needs and other public services with their development applications.
- Land use and development decisions are assessed to ensure they do not have negative fiscal, stormwater, traffic, infrastructure, or service demands, or quality of life impacts on neighboring municipalities.
- The Comprehensive Plan identifies environmentally sensitive, ecologically, significant, and civic/historic places.
- The Comprehensive Plan and ordinances protect farmland and/or promotes community gardens and infill green space.
- The Comprehensive Plan includes a parks/recreation and open space component with proposed passive or active greenways, parks and trails, and the zoning and subdivision ordinances support the vision.
- The greenspace/open space plan has benchmarks and results are reported annually to the public.
- The municipality has a PA Dept. of Agriculture Agricultural Security Area (ASA).
Thriving Local Business
- The municipality has assessed Main Street program options and opportunities for possible applicability and implementation.
- Owners and tenants in the retail area are engaged with the municipality to provide attractive sidewalks, trees, and street furniture and make the area safe for pedestrians and bicyclists.
- The municipality maintains and supports an initiative to encourage residents to buy local.
- Municipal action plans for promoting minority and women-owned business are being advanced, including seeking proposals from the same for purchasing, services, etc.
- A program is in place to encourage businesses to be aware of innovative sustainable business approaches and to recognize achievement.
Material Use, Waste, and Recycling
- Waste and recycling ordinances and regulations are in compliance and enforced per Act 101, or if not a mandatory - Act 101 municipality, a municipal recycling program is conducted.
- There is a curbside and/or droff-off recycling program.
- The municipality contracts for solid waste collection as opposed to individual home owners contracting for the same.
- There is a written waste reduction and recycling ordinance for residential, commercial and institutional facilities.
- There is an active public informational program to encourage citizens to reduce waste and recycle.
- All municipal buildings have an active recycling program.
- For municipal facilities, a recent waste management assessment has been conducted with municipal employees trained in waste reduction and recycling.
- An Environmentally Preferable Purchasing Program has been implemented for municipal operations.
- Municipality has an active litter prevention/clean-up program.
- An expanded material recycling program is being advanced, i.e., e-waste, composting, pharmaceuticals, and household hazardous waste for community-wide collection.
- A community-wide recycling program is maintained at 5% above the state stipulated goal of 35 percent.
- Provide an on-line link to description of a sustainability innovation that the Municipal Manager/Secretary feels strongly is deserving of additional recognition and is not covered by any of the above criteria options.
- Provide an on-line link to description of a second sustainability innovation that the Municipal Manager/Secretary feels strongly is deserving of additional recognition and is not covered by any of the above criteria options.