The State Planning Act mandates the creation of a State Plan to coordinate and guide land-use planning in the state. In November, the State Planning Commission approved the final draft of its new “State Strategic Plan: New Jersey’s Development & Redevelopment Plan”. A good deal of controversy has surrounded this planning process and you can read about that here.
The public is welcomed and encouraged to comment on the plan and can find information about submitting written comments here (scroll down to “Comment on the Draft Final Plan”). The deadline to submit comments is April 2, 2012.
The League of Women Voters of New Jersey has submitted comments outlining our concerns. Read the League’s comments.
While the plan does express admirable goals, there are underlying problems. For example, there is a lack of specificity. The plan itself and the proposals for implementing it are so vague that it is impossible to predict what conformance would consist of and what the results of conformance would achieve.
To make it more specific, the League proposes, among other things, including wetlands, floodplains, stream corridors, aquifer recharge areas, steep slopes, areas of unique flora and fauna, and areas with scenic, historic, and recreation values in the geographic criteria list for priority preservation. Other suggestions include greater emphasis on affordable housing and proximity of development to public transportation.
The League of Women Voters of New Jersey looks forward to the adoption of the State Plan. With the benefit of the comments submitted at the hearings and during the comment period, we hope to see a more specific, augmented, coherent plan that can be relied upon for predictable outcomes.
The following is written by Jesse Burns, LWVNJ Director of Communications.
Recently I had the pleasure of joining the League of Women Voters of Ocean County as they honored three professionals whose work has benefited the environment. The “Pearl Schwartz Environmental Awards” is in memory of the passionate and committed work of League member Pearl Schwartz who passed away in 2010.
The reception was full of people who greatly admired both the work of Pearl and the work of the award recipients. League member Sandy Potaski speaking of Pearl said “she best exemplified all that the League of Women Voters is about”. Sandy went on to mention that Pearl was an outspoken voice in Ocean County, attending Freeholder board meeting for over 20 years, registering voters, and encouraging residents to speak out and get involved.
It was Pearl’s passion for and commitment to the environment that led the League of Women Voters of Ocean County to honor her memory with this award ceremony. The award recipients were William deCamp, Jr., Save Barnegat Bay, Dr. Michael Kennish, Rutgers University, and Kirk Moore, Asbury Park Press.
William deCamp, Jr.
William deCamp, Jr. is the chairman of Save Barnegat Bay, as well as a member of the League of Women Voters of New Jersey. His work with the non-profit Save Barnegat Bay has been instrumental in slowing the over development that threatens the bay.
Dr. Mike Kennish
Dr. Michael Kennish is a research professor at the Institute of Marine and Coastal Science at Rutgers University and an expert on the ecology of Barnegat Bay. He is the author of many books and papers and his scientific data and expertise has led to legislation and action to conserve the bay.
Kirk Moore is a longtime environmental reporter with the Asbury Park Press. His week long series “Barnegat Bay Under Stress” was award winning and is credited with raising public awareness of the issues facing the bay.
As each of these deserving recipients spoke of their own work, as well as the work of the League, I could feel the audience becoming energized and inspired. I knew Pearl would be proud.