Teaneck to Hold Public Meeting on Local Environmental Resources

Report on township's environmental resources is outdated, group says.

The following was submitted by the Teaneck Environmental Commission: 


An Open Public Meeting will be held on Wednesday, Feb. 20 at 7:30 p.m. at the Rodda Center on Palisade Avenue in Teaneck in Multipurpose Room 1 to discuss the updated Environmental Resource Inventory currently being created under the auspices of the town’s Environmental Commission.

The original inventory completed in 2002 is out of date, and the town grant from the Association of New Jersey Environmental Commissions’ Sustainable Land Use Planning Grant Program of $5,500 to update its Environmental Resource Inventory (ERI). Teaneck has provided the required matching funds. The plan is being written by The Land Conservancy of New Jersey, which was awarded the contract through a competitive process. Barbara Heskins Davis, is the lead planner on the project and will make a presentation at the meeting along with her colleague Kathleen Caccavale. Residents will be able to ask questions about the information presented and make comments.


What is an Environmental Resource Inventory (ERI)?

An ERI is an unbiased report that compiles information about the natural resources and environmental features of an area. It provides baseline documentation for measuring and evaluating resource protection issues, such as the impacts of planning decisions. 


What Does an ERI Include?

An ERI has texts, maps, pictures, photographs, tables, figures, and graphs that describe and compare information on the natural and environmental characteristics and features of an area.

ERI’s cover climate, geology, geography/topography, soils, hydrology, vegetation, wildlife habitat, critical areas and land use. Many also include information on historic and cultural factors, scenic areas, air quality, transportation, and noise.

What is an ERI used for?

●   A factual basis for municipal land use planning

●   A resource in the preparation of the land use element of the municipal master plan

●   A comprehensive guide in the site plan review process

●   A basic tool in determining zoning regulations, municipal ordinances or other land use management techniques

●   A basis for a land capability analysis and for determining the intensity and location of development

●   An indicator of sensitive areas and areas suitable to certain kinds of development as a tool to increase understanding of natural systems, and their limitations and opportunities for use

●   A long-term planning tool to identify potential land use and natural resource problems

●   An educational tool for residents to learn more about their community and its environment

●   A way to save dollars by avoiding future problems and mitigation costs.

Who Uses an ERI?

●   Environmental Commission

●   Planning Board

●   Boards of Adjustment

●   Council

●   Developers

●   Planners

●   Engineers

●   Environmental consultants


Is an ERI Pro- or Anti- Development?

Neither. The ERI is an objective listing, and does not offer interpretations or recommendations. Its function is to provide objective data for use by the Environmental Commission, Planning Board, Board of Adjustment and the Council. The ERI does not affect their discretion to act.

ERI’s give data to everyone so that when decisions are made, they take into account the environmental impacts. This will lead to better decisions, smart development that benefits developers, the town, the community and the environment that we all depend on. Identifying potential problems early in a process ultimately saves money since mitigation after the fact is almost always more costly than preventing the problem in the first place.

Why is an update needed?

Much has changed over the last ten years and accurate information is needed to support decisions by the town’s regulatory bodies.

How can I learn more?

Come to the public meeting!


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Art Vatsky February 19, 2013 at 12:40 AM
It is very good this is being done now. In the 11 years since the ERI was prepared, the impact of Global Climate Change is being recognized for what it is - an unavoidable, undeniable change in our environment. Hence temperatures, seasons, trees, wildlife, insects, rain flow will all change. In effect, the climate of NJ will become that of VA or possibly GA. As Hoboken is doing now, Teaneck has to face the fact that the environment is changing. What shall we do about it?


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