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New Report: Review of Legal Framework for County Planning in New Jersey

May 21st, 2012 by

Map Courtesy of Digital-Topo-Maps.com

By Ingrid W. Reed, New Jersey Future trustee and senior fellow.


New Jersey Future has just released County Planning in New Jersey; a Review of Existing Law, prepared as a 2011 summer internship project by Francis A. Weber, with whom I was pleased to collaborate on the report.

The paper seeks to answer the question, “What are county planning boards authorized to do?” by outlining the legal framework – formed by the County Planning Enabling Act, Municipal Land Use Law, and other state legislation and regulation – within which county planning boards operate. In addition, comment sections throughout the paper highlight where the legal framework is unclear or where it appears to be inconsistent with 21st-century planning principles and practice.

County planning has been an option for counties in New Jersey for more than 75 years, with each county implementing the requirements as it sees fit within the given legal framework, often with little visibility. Citizens are likely to be served very differently by county planning boards and staffs depending on the county in which they live, because the staff, responsibilities and relationships with municipalities all vary among the 21 counties. The diversity of county planning capacities will need to be understood as the state relies increasingly on counties as a source of data and coordination with municipalities in creating and implementing state policies and regulations.

This is the first part of a two-part study of county planning, focusing on legal authority. The second part will review current county planning practices.

DOWNLOAD: County Planning in New Jersey; a Review of Existing Law (PDF)


One Response to “New Report: Review of Legal Framework for County Planning in New Jersey”

  1. We are just starting master plan work and this will be helpful. Look forward to seeing part two. This information will also be helpful in advancing the Foundation’s collaborative activities in the six northern New Jersey municipalities with which we are working most closely: Bergenfield, Bogota, Englewood, Hackensack, New Milford, and Teaneck.

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