New Jersey State Plan Update Back On Track
August 3rd, 2012 by Chris Sturm
(Updated Sept. 11)
Two additional public hearings on the draft State Strategic Plan have been scheduled. One was held on Sept. 10 in Toms River. The next one is scheduled for Sept. 13 in Jersey City. (Full details on the two hearings are available in the state Office of Planning Advocacy’s announcement.) The New Jersey State Planning Commission will take additional written public comments for 30 days after the Sept. 13 hearing, and will then have a 30-day window — between Oct. 13 and Nov. 12, 2012 – within which it can legally adopt the draft as the updated State Development and Redevelopment Plan.
The process of plan adoption had been stalled since late April when the State Planning Commission cancelled its scheduled meeting. The commission completed a series of six public hearings around the state on March 1.
What is the State Strategic Plan and Why Does It Matter?
The plan provides a guide for the state’s economic and physical development, recognizing that New Jersey can only have a prosperous economy and a healthy environment if it plans carefully for where and how to grow. As the nation’s most developed state, New Jersey needs a framework that will enable it to strengthen its existing communities, allowing businesses and residents to thrive, at the same time that it preserves well-loved open spaces and natural resources.
The draft State Strategic Plan and the supporting Executive Order 78 go a step further with a practical implementation agenda. The plan requires state agencies to align their resources behind the plan’s goals — a critically important step toward ensuring that the plan will have a meaningful impact.
New Jersey Future’s comments on the draft plan recognize its enormous potential, but also call for revisions to ensure that it meets completely the requirements of the State Planning Act and will ensure tangible outcomes.
After the public hearings, a revised plan will be released that reflects comments from New Jersey Future and others. The State Planning Commission must adopt this revised plan in late October or early November.
Immediately following plan adoption, there should be progress on implementation activities on several fronts:
- State agencies should release their own draft strategic plans that describe how their programs, capital spending and regulations will advance the plan’s goals;
- Proposed regulations will be drawn up to govern the process by which “investment areas” for growth and preservation are identified, leading eventually to these areas’ designation on county- and state-wide maps;
- The draft state budget should include performance metrics tied to the plan’s “Garden State Values.”