Dunellen Among First NJ Municipalities to Adopt Climate Resiliency Plan

Dunellen Among First NJ Municipalities to Adopt Climate Resiliency Plan 789 444 DMR Architects

Dunellen is believed to be the first municipality in New Jersey to adopt a stand-alone Climate Resiliency Plan following Governor Murphy’s 2021 amendment to the Municipal Land Use Law. The borough retained DMR to write the plan which addresses its susceptibility to flooding and other global warming hazards.

“Preparing a roadmap for anticipating and avoiding the flooding and other devastation that we saw after Hurricane Ida in September 2021 is so crucial to us in Dunellen that we took the important approach to prepare this plan as a stand-alone document,” said Dunellen Mayor Jason Cilento of the plan that will be used to guide decision-making related to zoning, redevelopment, housing, infrastructure, green initiatives, pedestrian safety and other aspects of daily life and municipal governance. “DMR’s practitioners helped us complete a comprehensive, proactive and intentional plan that will advance municipal redevelopment and sustainability practices and benefit the borough for generations.”

The Climate Resiliency Plan includes recommendations to the Borough for the next decade and beyond to mitigate its exposure to worsening flooding, precipitation, and heat, such as:

  • Partnering with regional agencies and neighboring municipalities to address riverine flooding;
  • Amending local zoning and exploring other options to reduce development intensity in flood prone areas;
  • Promoting green building practices that help to reduce flooding and stormwater runoff.

“Similar to how DMR’s planners approach any project, we drew on our diverse expertise from land use and zoning to sustainability practices that will help protect Dunellen for the next decade and beyond,” said Daniel Hauben, PP, AICP, LEED Green Associate.  “It is wise for municipal leaders to plan ahead of natural disasters as we see one in a hundred-year storms making landfall more and more often.”

DMR’s work to complete the plan included:

  • Analyzing the existing infrastructure, including water, sewage, power and gas; Dunellen’s flood zones and vulnerability for flooding regardless of the designated zones; and natural hazards;
  • Completing a vulnerability assessment which examined and rated the risks facing community assets, such as brooks, parks, transit lines, and buildings;
  • Completing a build out analysis to project how much redevelopment could occur within vulnerable areas under current zoning;
  • Recommending resiliency strategies, design standards and policies;
  • Identifying grant programs to provide critical funding for the projects outlined in the plan.

DMR’s previous planning work in Dunellen also included a Master Plan Reexamination; the Master Plan, Complete Streets and Transit Friendly Planning Survey; Cannabis Business Public Survey; and numerous Redevelopment Plan amendments and other efforts to address affordable housing and infrastructure projects.