Working for Smart Growth:
More Livable Places and Open Spaces

 

Letter in Support of State Plan

Dear Governor Murphy,

New Jersey is a remarkable place, packing more people per square mile than any other state in the country while still offering 130 miles of shoreline, nearly 233,000 acres of farmland, and everything in between. New Jersey is a state with many  communities of unique character, made special by the people living there.

New Jersey has a unique opportunity to set itself on a course toward economic and environmental vitality. Recent initiatives such as the Economic Development Strategic Plan, the Coastal Resiliency Plan, and the updated Energy Master Plan are all important implementation mechanisms. But our ability to grow our economy in a meaningful way relies on our ability to form a unified strategy that includes all aspects of life in our state. In order to maximize these investments, streamline resources and set New Jersey on a path for economic resiliency, an overarching blueprint for the state is required. That blueprint is the New Jersey State Development and Redevelopment Plan. Funding initiatives and programs will benefit greatly from a State Plan that seeks to leverage our investments to create opportunities for all through the public-private partnerships that are realized through these strategies.  

The lack of attention and interest in the State Plan has created a number of development challenges at the municipal and state level. Coastal municipalities with expiring CAFRA centers need to receive plan endorsement from the State Planning Commission in order to advance their plans for development and redevelopment. However, the State Planning Commission can’t even hold a meeting to consider the centers because a large number of vacant seats prevents the commission from achieving a quorum. At the state level, well-intentioned legislation addressing redevelopment, infrastructure, and environmental issues is being introduced and passed while still referring to a State Plan that is woefully out of date.

New Jersey municipalities can benefit from the State Plan to guide smart development decisions, but with decisions being based on a 2001 snapshot of our state’s priorities and challenges, the ability to maximize local investment is limited. New Jersey has a rich history as a leader of planning for growth, which was set aside during the last administration. The result has been investments made without a long-term vision for how they are leveraged. New Jersey could be viewed once again as a leader in this space.

We, the undersigned, call on the State of New Jersey to:

  • Fill the vacant seats on the State Planning Commission;
  • Update the State Development and Redevelopment Plan, and;
  • Reconstitute the Office of State Planning.

This effort is important for New Jersey to address effectively our issues of equity, climate change, and crumbling infrastructure. Thank you for your consideration of this request. Please contact Peter Kasabach  (pkasabachatnjfuturedotorg)   of New Jersey Future with any questions or concerns.

Yes, we want to support this effort!

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