Sunday, June 27, 2010

NJ Still Leads The Toxic Waste Race

As we focus our attention on the overwhelming oil pollution crisis in the gulf states, we shouldn't forget that New Jersey is still the home to the largest number of toxic waste sites in the U.S.

According to The Star Ledger, the state has received over 3 Billion from the national Superfund in the past 30 years including 150 million from the recent stimulus package. Yet only 29 of the designated 142 hazardous waste sites have been completely cleaned up. Authorities are now predicting another 15 to 25 sites could be added to this list over the next 5 years.

The photo above was taken less than 100 yards from my Bloomfield home four years ago. Not sure if it is still considered a Superfund site since extensive funds were laid out by the former owner, Scientific Glass, to clean it to residential standards. They never quite finished the job, though, and the DEP required that tarps cover up what was left as the real estate developer shelved his townhouse plans due to the economy. Meanwhile, the torn tarps and mounds of polluted soil remain.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Balancing the Scales on Renting Vs Buying

If recent activity is any indication, there are significantly more prospective renters out there than buyers in today's housing market. While there are many reasons folks may have little choice in the matter, there may never be a better time than the present to invest in your own home.
If you crunch the numbers on the mortgage calculator to the right, you will find that you can now get a 3 bedroom entry level home in many Essex Co. suburbs for a monthly payment as low as $1,000 per month. Most 2 BR rentals, on the other hand, start at $1100. Of course property taxes can add $400 to $700/mo to that figure -- you'll get a good chunk back from the IRS from that beloved Homeowner's Deduction.
Combine this with the landlord restrictions on such factors as pets, private driveways, and larger families and renter choices can be very limited. The bottom line is that interest rates have never been lower and have nowhere to go but up.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Spring Greening Recycling Design Finalists

After weeks of deliberation on an incredible array of creative reuse projects Inhabitat has just announced the finalists of their 2010 Spring Greening Design Competition.... This year's competition turned up an amazing crop of over 350 entries and after much consideration they've narrowed them down to just 21 finalists who demonstrated an amazing amount of ingenuity, resourcefulness, and creative approach to design reuse. One of my own favorites is above. Can you guess what the source material is before opening this link? Now its up to you to decide who will be the winner of international fame and a $250 gift certificate to the Inhabitat shop -- so cast your vote for your favorite Spring Greening finalist today!