Working for Smart Growth:
More Livable Places and Open Spaces

 

2014 Cary Edwards Leadership Award Announced

For Immediate ReleaseNews-release-graphic100px
April 29, 2014
Contact:  Elaine Clisham  (eclishamatnjfuturedotorg)  , 609-393-0008, ext. 102

Pioneer in New Jersey Redevelopment, Environmental Law
To Receive Smart Growth Leadership Award

 

TRENTON, April 22, 2014 – Joseph J. Maraziti Jr., a former chairman of the State Planning Commission, and a founding partner of the Short Hills law firm Maraziti, Falcon & Healey LLP, is being honored as the 2014 winner of New Jersey Future’s Cary Edwards Leadership Award.

The Cary Edwards Leadership Award recognizes individuals who have an outstanding commitment to improving the quality of life and promoting smart growth in New Jersey through sustainable land-use policy and practice. The recipients of this award are dedicated to strengthening communities by encouraging redevelopment and development where infrastructure already exists and by preserving and enhancing agricultural and natural resources.

“It’s our great honor to present this award to Joe,” said Peter Reinhart, New Jersey Future board chairman. “Communities throughout New Jersey have benefited from the innovative land-use policies and from the future-oriented and comprehensive approach embodied in Joe’s work with the State Planning Commission and in his everyday practice. He has been a model of leadership through service – to his clients, to his community, and to our state. This award is very much deserved.”

Mr. Maraziti has been a pioneer in the fields of redevelopment and environmental law in New Jersey, having tried some of the earliest “pollution cases” in the state. The first case he tried led to the creation of the Rockaway Valley Regional Sewerage Authority and the cleanup of the Rockaway River. Later litigation, some of it precedent-setting, focused on claims stemming from the landmark federal Superfund legislation.

In 1998, then-Gov. Christie Whitman appointed Mr. Maraziti to chair the State Planning Commission, in which capacity he led the effort to adopt the State Development and Redevelopment Plan of 2001, a framework to ensure that development and redevelopment in New Jersey enhances the quality of life for all residents. Plan adoption was not easy. Stakeholder groups from all sectors – environmental, development, agricultural – were apprehensive and resistant, and it is in large measure a tribute to Mr. Maraziti’s skills as a negotiator and mediator that the commission was able to adopt a plan that responded to most of their concerns.

“Joe Maraziti was an ideal candidate to lead the commission through this important work,” said Gov. Whitman. “His deep understanding of the issues affecting both development and the environment allowed him to navigate skillfully what could have been some very treacherous waters, and to arrive at a final plan that served all constituencies well.”

The plan’s emphasis on redevelopment was also somewhat prescient: At the time, there was more interest in suburbanization than reinvesting in the state’s older cities and towns, but that trend seems to have reversed itself during the past decade.  He served as chairman of the commission until 2002, and the plan he shepherded into place remains in effect today.

As a result of his experience on the State Planning Commission, Mr. Maraziti has played a leading role in the evolution and maturing of environmental and redevelopment law in the state, including participating in the legislative process and advising state and Washington policymakers. Many clients now seek his help to redevelop properties that were once shunned – so-called brownfields sites.

Among Mr. Maraziti’s many honors are the Morris 2000 Robert M. Schaeberle Leadership Award and the Regional Planning Partnership’s 2002 Van Zandt Williams Jr. Community Involvement Award for Commitment to Redevelopment in New Jersey. He has been listed as one of the best environmental lawyers in New Jersey in Best Lawyers in America; he was selected in 2014 by Superlawyers Magazine® (administered by Law & Politics, Inc.) for his experience in environmental law; and he has been selected by New Jersey Monthly as a super lawyer in environmental law for the 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2013 and 2014 editions of Super Lawyers of New Jersey. He served as a master in the Justice Stewart G. Pollock Environmental American Inn of Court, and he lectures extensively on environmental and redevelopment topics.

Mr. Maraziti has long been active in professional and civic organizations. He was the founding chairman of the Morris County Bar Association Environmental Law Committee; he is a past chairman of Morris 2000; he has served on the Environment of the 21st Century Task Force of the New Jersey General Assembly; and has served on the New Jersey Supreme Court Committee on Environmental Litigation. He is chairman of the Association of Environmental Authorities’ recently formed Ethics Committee, and he is an associate of the Environmental Law Institute. He serves on the board of directors of the Regional Plan Association and on the board of trustees of New Jersey Future, of which he has also been chairman.

Today he works at his father’s tiger oak desk in his Short Hills office, and continues to maintain a varied caseload that reflects the balancing act of modern environmental law: practicable enforcement and realistic solutions, respecting not only the law but also the state’s long-term ecological health.

Peter Kasabach, executive director of New Jersey Future, summed it up, “At New Jersey Future, we know that the smart and equitable redevelopment of our existing and older communities will propel the state toward a prosperous future.  Thanks to all of Joe Maraziti’s steadfast work, we are much closer to achieving that goal than ever before.”

The Smart Growth Awards ceremony is June 5 at the Newark Club in Newark.

For more information on New Jersey Future and the Smart Growth Awards event, please visit our website http://www.njfuture.org or call (609) 393-0008, ext. 101.

 

 

 

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