Going Green Is An Uphill Battle In The 'Burbs

<p>Eco-friendly developments are struggling to achieve approval due to zoning restrictions in the suburbs of New York and New Jersey -- a story that is more and more familiar in suburbs across the country.</p>
November 30, 2007, 12pm PST | Nate Berg
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"Early last year, Mr. Duffy and his business partner, Brian Fahey, signed a contract to buy 130 acres of land here pocked with corn and pumpkin fields. Since then, he has been trying to persuade the township to let him build a cluster of 32 small, eco-friendly houses - in a layout that would violate zoning laws requiring single-family homes to be built on at least five acres."

"But on Oct. 22, after Mr. Duffy and Mr. Fahey's third presentation before the Planning Board, the town unanimously rejected the proposal, saying that the five-acre zoning law, established in 2004, remains important to the township's rustic character."

"Mr. Duffy and Mr. Fahey are at a standstill. They can modify their plan - which would have spared the town a subdivision of 15 sprawling homes and resulted in less runoff and erosion - or sue."

"For every project being considered for certification by the United States Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED, in the categories of neighborhood development or multiunit residence - 13 are in the works in New Jersey, 10 in Connecticut, and one each on Long Island and in Westchester - there are dozens of similar projects stuck in limbo, hoping for approval."

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Published on Sunday, November 25, 2007 in The New York Times
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