Byram Township Wins National Smart-Growth Grant
December 9th, 2011 by Elaine Clisham
Congratulations are due again to Byram Township for its continuing commitment to smart-growth development.
Smart Growth America has just awarded the township a technical-assistance grant, one of 15 awarded across the country from 90 applications. Byram was the only New Jersey municipality to be awarded a grant.
According to the township, the assistance will be provided in the form of
” … a day-long workshop for township officials, volunteers, and other stakeholders in the community[, to] focus on how smart growth improves the business climate and the long-term health of the local economy, increases tax revenues and attracts jobs, nurtures small and mid-size business, and how municipal actions affect positive outcomes. These … principles will then be applied to Byram’s situation, to develop specific strategies for the township.
“The grant is aimed at Byram’s Village Center, where the township’s future commercial and residential development will be located. The Village Center occupies only 2 percent of the township and is the only area of Byram not in the Highlands Preservation Zone. Byram was the first municipality to fully conform with the Highlands Regional Master Plan, including opting-in its Village Center, which was designated the first Highlands Center.
“In [a] letter supporting the township’s grant application, [Mayor James] Oscovitch made note of Byram’s decade-long planning efforts, which have created ‘the vision and framework for a new place. Byram is now on the cusp of seeing all these years of planning actually result in new development, particularly in our mixed-use Village Center Zone. Byram wants to make sure that this development actualizes our vision and promotes the kind of local economy and more stable municipal fiscal structure that are key to a final good outcome.’ “
In June of this year New Jersey Future honored the township with a Smart Growth Award for its Village Center Plan, adopted in collaboration with the New Jersey Highlands Water Protection and Planning Council. The plan calls for establishment of a mixed-use town center, in addition to addressing its affordable-housing obligations and providing protection for the natural resources along a scenic tributary of the Musconetcong River.