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Regional Planning Efforts Have Friends in High Places

July 21st, 2011 by

The State of New Jersey has identified three areas where special circumstances justify the creation of regional planning bodies to oversee development and preservation decisions: the Meadowlands (1969), the Pinelands (1979) and the Highlands (2004).  Together these areas comprise 2,800 square miles, fully 37 percent of the state’s land area. 

Recently, however, some have questioned whether the regional planning bodies in these areas really matter, or whether they just add an unnecessary layer of government or red tape. 

Gov. Kean’s comments touched more broadly: “Regional planning in the state is absolutely vital — in the Highlands, in the Pinelands, in the Meadowlands. We cannot go backwards, so you’re right. We have to pay attention here and make sure we have a livable state to pass on to our children.”

In their latest Star-Ledger column, Govs. Brendan Byrne and Tom Kean took advantage of a general question (about whether the governor’s office could become too strong) to make it clear where they stand on regional planning.  Gov. Byrne focused on his legacy in the New Jersey Pinelands: “What I’m worried about is whether they’re using the word ‘efficient’ to do things like create huge gaps in Pinelands enforcement. By eliminating red tape, you eliminate some of the Pinelands restrictions, and you achieve a goal I don’t want to see them achieve. I think we all ought to rise up in worry.”

Gov. Kean’s comments touched more broadly: “Regional planning in the state is absolutely vital — in the Highlands, in the Pinelands, in the Meadowlands. We cannot go backwards, so you’re right. We have to pay attention here and make sure we have a livable state to pass on to our children.” 

Kean also emphasized the importance to New Jersey’s quality of life of sound land-use planning when he congratulated Jim Gilbert at New Jersey Future’s annual Smart Growth Awards celebration in June.  Jim received the Cary Edwards Leadership Award for his advocacy for state planning, smart growth and sustainable development in New Jersey, starting with his role as the first chair of the State Planning Commission, and continuing through to his role as a trustee for the New Jersey Highlands Coalition. 


One Response to “Regional Planning Efforts Have Friends in High Places”

  1. Well the exceptionally well run D&R Canal Commission is as good as dead. I wonder how long it will take “Christie the Destroyer” to go after these next.

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