NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ – The Borough Council discussed a proposed ordinance regarding plug-in charging stations and a new initiative, the Green Award, at its Monday, Feb. 24 meeting.

Councilman Peter DeSarno explained that the proposed ordinance to authorize and encourage plug-in electric vehicle charging stations would require multifamily buildings of five or more units to add 10 percent of required parking spots dedicated to plug-in charging of electronic vehicles. The ordinance, if approved, would affect only new constructions going forward. The ordinance draft is modeled according to similar ordinances in other New Jersey towns.

“I think this is a good idea” as it encourages the usage of electric vehicles and provides a needed infrastructure for them, DeSarno stated. “It is a great first step,” Council President Robert Robinson said.

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The ordinance will be further discussed within the planning board before the council will vote on it. The planning board has to evaluate the parking requirements as the ordinance draft increases the parking spaces to accommodate charging stations, Borough Administrator Doug Marvin said.

DeSarno explained that the usage of electric vehicles is going up and that the borough should support that trend.

DeSarno also initiated the discussion on the new Green Award to be given to New Providence businesses. He explained that the Sustainability Committee has spearheaded some ideas how to recognize the candidates for the award. The plan is to give out the first Green Award at the borough’s first Green Day event on Oct. 3.

The committee will send out a letter to business owners informing them about this new initiative to promote sustainability. The businesses will be encouraged “to tell their story” because there are a lot of good things going on within our business community, DeSarno said. The sustainability team will then review the stories and put forth a recommendation to the council to announce the award recipient or recipients.

DeSarno explained that the committee wants to keep the entries open-ended. The committee came up with some “thought-provoking ideas” of what to look for, such as does the business have a mission statement or does the business have a sign to remind shoppers to bring their reusable bag, etc. There are a lot of other things that the businesses are doing or could do, such as opting out from junk mail or instituting the use of environmentally friendly cleaning products, he listed.

“You are rewarding good behavior, you are encouraging good behavior, you are setting examples for good behavior, and you are rewarding it,” Robinson concluded. “I think it is a great idea,” he said.

The “freecycle” event will also take place during the Green Day.