Sustainable Communities

Tue. Jan. 31, 2023
"Sustainability in Communities - its about achieving balance" - Jay Wolkind

Environmental Regulations + Sustainable Communities

Some of the most complex, risky situations involve properties that are environmentally contaminated. Cherokee helps the owners of these properties, and those who hold mortgages or tax liens on them, recover their trapped equity. We buy these assets on an all-cash, no-contingency basis.

The topic of contaminated properties is much broader than can be summarized on this web site. We anticipate launching a separate web site later in 2011 devoted exclusively to our efforts associated with cleaning and redeveloping contaminated properties, and how Cherokee is an exit strategy for financial institutions and other stakeholders associated with such troubled assets.

That site will be Clean Fields but it is currently dormant and under development.

The purpose of this web page is to offer some information resources related to environmentally contaminated properties. Specifically, links to the environmental regulators in each state, as well as links to laws, and other useful resources that will enable those with an interest in this area to learn more.

The regulatory climate in each (US) state is different, as is the interaction with overreaching federal laws. To help you learn more about the laws that affect the property or properties important to you, the following link on the web site of the US Environmental Protection Agency that will allow you to quickly identify and go to the web sites of the natural resource and environmental protection regulators in each state.

We also recommend you visit the web site of ECOS, a national, non-profit association of state environmental agencies at Environmental Council of the States.

We also offer hyperlinks directly to the environmental and natural resource laws enacted by most states.

Achieving Balance

There is a balance between everyone's desire to clean and protect our environment, and facilitating economic and community development. These goals are not mutually exclusive. They are coming into sharper focus as it relates to competition between America and foreign manufacturers, and competition between the states for jobs and tax ratables.

As our natural resources dwindle, innovative thinking in business, science and development must flourish to meet environmental challenges. Government must provide reasonable incentives for developers to incorporate sustainability in their real estate development.

There is room for responsible, sustainable growth. Public policy should balance economic incentives with the desire to protect the landscape, preserve green spaces, ensure clean air and water, limit costly and unreasonable strains on utilities, discourage urban sprawl, and build a better world. We can achieve those goals through incentives for smart and sustainable growth and disincentives for irresponsible sprawl. Cherokee's rehabilitation of residential and commercial properties is part of this responsible smart growth, as we as being ecologically sound since it reduces landfill volume.

Everyone wants to live in a safe, livable, healthy community. But creating a vision of what that might be, and creating a workable plan to achieve these goals is a challenge. But we can build communities that are more environmentally sound, economically prosperous, and socially equitable.

There are concerns that international and interstate economic competition may lead governments to relax their environmental regulations, resulting in a race to the bottom. State regulators should be sensitive to the effects that their decisions have on the economic welfare of their home states. In surveys, agencies admit to being influenced by the regulatory decisions of the states they compete with for jobs and investments.

Where does Cherokee fit into all of this? Cherokee salvages the tattered remnants of polluted properties, and restores them to clean, safe, productive status in their communities. We typically acquire an interest in properties where the stakeholders have been remiss in their responsibilities to properly maintain the properties, or pay their taxes and mortgage. So when Cherokee becomes involved with a distressed property, we are a cleansing agent in many ways ... economically, socially and environmentally.

To learn more about how Cherokee can be a positive change agent in your community, please see Renovating Board-Ups, or Cherokee Restores Contaminated Properties, or call Jay Wolfkind at (732) 741-2000.

To learn more about how economic development and environmental protection interact, and see both sides of the debate on this issue, we offer the following additional Internet resources:

  • The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) website provides access to a broad set of resources for communities, including directories of community grants and financial assistance. It also provides links to tools for community action, EPA contacts and other information sources.
  • The International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI)is an international environmental agency for local governments. It serves as a clearinghouse on sustainable development and environmental protection policies, programs and techniques, initiates joint projects or campaigns among groups of local governments, organizes training programs, and publishes reports and technical manuals on state of the art environmental management policies.

  • The Sustainable Communities Network (SCN) connects citizens with resources to implement programs to restore the economic, environmental, and social health and vitality of their communties.

  • The Sustainable Communities Program brings together government officials, environmental regulators, academic researchers, business people, non-government organizational staff, and others to work on environmental issues in the northeastern United States and Canada.

Additional Recommended Reading

  • The Ecology of Place: Planning for Environment, Economy, and Community. (Beatley + Manning, Island Press, 1997)
    This book presents a holistic approach to repairing and enhancing communities by introducing a vision of sustainable places that considers not just the physical layout of a development but the broad set of ways in which communities are organized and operate.

  • For the Common Good: Redirecting the Economy Toward Community, the Environment, and a Sustainable Future. (Daly + Cobb, Beacon Press, 1989)
    In this book, the authors demonstrate how conventional economics and a growth-oriented industrial economy have led us to the brink of environmental disaster, and show the possibility of a different future.
  • Earth in the Balance: Ecology and the Human Spirit. (Al Gore, Houghton Mifflin, 1992)
    This book probes the roots of the environmental crisis and offers a forceful vision of a new, more sustainable path.
  • President's Council on Sustainable Development. Towards a Sustainable America: Advancing Prosperity, Opportunity, and a Healthy Environment for the 21st Century (1999)
    This third and final report highlights 140 ways we can improve our economy, protect our environment, and improve our quality of life. This resource can be found online at:
  • Sustainable Cities: Concepts and Strategies for Eco-City Development. (Walter, et al, Eco-Home Media, 1992)
    This is a tool for architects, developers, planners, environmentalists, educators, public officials and anyone else interested in the hands-on process of bringing the built environment and natural environment into harmony. To obtain this resource contact
      Eco-Home Media,
      4344 Russell Ave,
      Los Angeles, CA
      Tel: 213.662.5207

    If you are aware of additional resources that are especially useful or current, and would like us to consider adding them to our links and resources, please send us a quick note using our webform on our Contact Us page.

    Thank you for your interest in joining Cherokee in our desire to protect the environment while fostering the social and economic development of our communities. This is a critical topic for everyone, as a clean sustainable environment is fundamental to our survival.