Awards 2015



Sustainable Westchester

The Land Use Law Center is happy to announce that this year’s recipient of the Groundbreaker’s Award is the not-for-profit organization, Sustainable Westchester. The Groundbreaker's Award is given to a graduate or group of graduates of the Center's  Land Use Leadership Alliance (LULA) Training Program that have done exemplary work in the region using the types of land use and decision-making tools and techniques taught in the LULA program. Sustainable Westchester was selected from a prestigious group of other past LULA graduates nominated for this award. Sustainable Westchester has close to 30 LULA graduates active in its mission.

About Sustainable Westchester
Sustainable Westchester is a consortium of Westchester County local governments that, according to its mission statement, “facilitates effective sustainability initiatives, engages community stakeholders, and shares tools, resources, and incentives to create healthier, vibrant and attractive communities, now and in the future.”

Sustainable Westchester is a 501(c)(3) entity and is the result of the merger of two predecessor organizations, the Northern Westchester Energy Action Consortium (“NWEAC”) and the Southern Westchester Energy Action Consortium (“SWEAC”).  The resulting founding of Sustainable Westchester took place in December 2014. Within the first year, 39 cities, towns and villages joined the consortium, representing over 800,000 residents—or 90% of the entire County.

Sustainable Westchester’s activities are entirely member-driven and are organized into one of four major domains: Energy, Land Use and Transportation, Materials Management, and Water.  Each of these four domains has a Working Group comprised of local experts, advocates, activists and stakeholders.  The Working Groups meet and drive the program activities or policy initiatives.

In its first year, Sustainable Westchester is launching several “first-in-the-state” initiatives.  Over 20 cities, towns and villages have joined the Community Choice (Energy) Aggregation Program with the goal of lowering energy supply prices for residents and small businesses in the participating municipalities.   The Municipal Solar Buyers Group Program offers cities, towns and villages a cost effective way to install solar photovoltaic systems on public facilities to lock in lower future electricity prices, without a large capital expense.

Sustainable Westchester’s Working Groups have also been very effective in partnering with other like-minded organizations on key initiatives, such as the Solarize Westchester Program and the Energize New York Program with the Energy Improvement Corp.

Information sharing is very important to Sustainable Westchester. In 2015, Sustainable Westchester co-hosted public workshops on a wide variety of topics from Complete Streets programs to Solar Permitting and Zoning updates.

For more information, visit:



Alfred B. DelBello

The Theodore W. Kheel Center on the Resolution of Environmental Interest Disputes was launched in April 2008 to train lawyers and local leaders in environmental and land use dispute resolution. Located at the Land Use Law Center on the Pace Law School campus in White Plains, New York, the Kheel Center aims to promote the use of non-traditional forums to resolve environmental and land disputes. To further this mission, the Kheel Center bestows an annual Founder’s Award upon an individual or municipality that has worked collaboratively with a community and reinvented democracy to make change happen.

The Kheel Center and Land Use Law Center are pleased to posthumously honor Alfred B. DelBello with the 2015 Founder’s Award to recognize his work in furthering sustainable planning and development in the region. During his illustrious practice, Al exemplified the type of collaboration and spirit that the Kheel Center celebrates.

As former New York State Lieutenant Governor, Westchester County Executive, City of Yonkers Mayor and Councilman, Alfred B. DelBello brought innovation, vision and practical good-sense administrative ability to all the public offices he held.

On the state level Al created and administered 10 regional economic development councils throughout New York. He coordinated a nuclear emergency planning strategy for the Indian Point nuclear facility, spearheaded the Task Force on Aging-Out and the New York State Commission on Youth Suicide Prevention.

As Westchester County Executive, he reduced property taxes for three consecutive years while achieving the highest investment credit rating of any government in New York State for the County. He established offices for the aging, disabled, women and youth. He created the Labor Advisory Board, Consumer Protection Agency, Veterans’ Advisory Board, Office for Economic Development and reduced the number of ineligible people on welfare by more than 70 percent. He built the Westchester Medical Center, the Westchester Transit System and Solid Waste System, created the Westchester Arts Council, Bicycle Sundays on the Bronx River Parkway, Muscoot Farm Park and so much more. He brought professionalism, pride and excitement to county government.

While Mayor of Yonkers, Al restored the city’s fiscal stability by balancing city budgets, reducing operational debt and attracting an unprecedented amount of state and federal aid. He created the first budget surplus in 10 years eliminated an inherited $15 million debt, established a citywide narcotics program and Youth Services Agency, a cooperative Manpower Planning System, Office of Consumer Protection and a tenants advisory council.

Finally, Al was a founding partner in DelBello Donnellan Weingarten Wise & Wiederkehr, one of the largest law firms in White Plains.

Al’s community service was as broad as his government service. He was a member of the New York State Commission on Local Government Efficiency and Competitiveness, former chairman of the board of the Westchester Land Trust, member of the Senate Club of New York, National Association of Former State Troopers and The Business Council of Westchester. His vast former organizational affiliations involved local, state and national matters and were in the governmental, nonprofit, educational and environmental sectors – everything from Term Limits of Westchester Inc. to Iona College to National Council of Elected County Executives to Renaissance Project, as examples. The honors and awards Al received are as vast as his affiliations and run from honorary doctorate degrees to international recognitions to virtually every local organization. He was recognized early on in his career as one of the Outstanding Young Men in America (1970) 200 Rising Young Leaders in America by Time Magazine (1974), and Who’s Who in American Politics.

In all of these engagements, Al pioneered downtown revitalization, affordable housing, transportation, and open space preservation. These are the elements of Sustainable Development and align closely with the mission of the Land Use Law Center.  Emblematic of his precocious contributions to this field was his appointment in the mid-1980s to President Carter’s Council on Development Choices, designed to create cost-effective and environmentally-friendly communities;  Before most of us had heard the words “sustainable development” and understood its critical importance, Al was a national leader of it. We thank him for his many contributions and service to this region.