ANTI-SPRAWL REGULATORY REFORM
(03/3) TRENTON --- McGreevey Administration
Cabinet members today launched the first step in the Governor's
State of the State agenda to combat overdevelopment and
congestion, outlining an innovative mapping approach that
will align state regulations and funding programs with the
Dubbed "The Big Map," this new
approach ultimately will identify areas of the state where
development will be encouraged and where growth will be
It was coordinated by the Department of
Environmental Protection (DEP), with the Departments of
Community Affairs (DCA), Transportation (DOT), and Agriculture
(DOA). A preliminary version of the map is being posted
on DEP's web site today - www.state.nj.us/dep.
"We will have one state map that we
will live by and not one dollar of taxpayer money will be
spent to subsidize sprawl anymore," said Governor James
E. McGreevey. "If you want to build and grow consistent
with smart growth, then we will help you get regulatory
approvals quickly and make sure the infrastructure is there
to support you."
A major goal of the map is to provide clear
direction to both developers and municipalities, so that
planners will be aware of state regulatory issues and funding
constraints prior to proposing new development projects.
The map also allows DEP, DCA, DOT and DOA to integrate their
data and planning so that the state's infrastructure investment
is coordinated with community planning efforts and natural
resource protection goals.
The web posting of the preliminary map
will begin an intensive process of consultation with municipal
officials, including county-by-county meetings, to reconcile
the mapping with local conditions and planning. Ultimately,
the map will be used by all state agencies and proposed
to the State Planning Commission for incorporation into
"Controlling sprawl means not only
saying 'no' to development in certain places, but also saying
'yes' to development elsewhere," said DEP Commissioner
Bradley M. Campbell. "Working with our mayors, county
officials and other community leaders, we must plan now
to provide attractive, affordable, and environmentally sound
places for people to live. This map provides builders and
planners with a transparent, predictable guide for where
the state will encourage and support development."
"I am looking forward to working with
our county and municipal partners over the coming months
to create one map that will serve as the blueprint for smart
growth and the preservation of our state," said Susan
Bass Levin, Commissioner of the Department of Community
Affairs. "I have charged the Office of Smart Growth
to work with local governments to make sure that they have
the right tools to plan for our future."
"Today marks the start of a consensus-building
process that will help New Jersey address the critical issue
of sprawl," said Agriculture Secretary Charles M. Kuperus.
"As we determine priority areas for farmland preservation
and work to ensure that our farms are economically viable,
the Department of Agriculture will continue to provide input
into the development of this map. We encourage municipalities,
counties, farmers and all other interested parties to take
an active role in this important process."
"For too long, our transportation
system has allowed sprawl and unchecked development,"
said Acting Transportation Commissioner Jack Lettiere. "Thanks
to Governor McGreevey's vision and commitment, we are finally
spending our transportation dollars wisely - fixing our
existing infrastructure and saying no to highway expansions
that will only lead to more sprawl."
The map was developed by overlaying Geographic
Information System (GIS) data for natural resources, existing
development, infrastructure availability, and state planning
areas. After integrating these various factors, the state
created three regulatory categories, identified as green,
yellow and red areas.
On the map, smart growth areas are designated
in green, indicating that these are places where the state
wants to encourage development and to channel growth. In
these areas, the state will streamline and expedite the
regulatory permitting process and dedicate funds for infrastructure
and parks. The state will also use non-regulatory programs
to sustain and to enhance the quality of life for residents
and businesses in these areas. Smart growth areas include
metropolitan planning areas, urban enterprise zones, Urban
Coordinating Council neighborhoods, coastal centers, and
areas along NJ Transit rail lines.
Yellow areas on the map indicate a cautious
approach to growth. These are places where natural resource
and infrastructure considerations do not clearly suggest
that development should be discouraged or channeled.
The state has colored critical natural
resource areas in red, indicating that the state has set
the regulatory bar higher in these areas and will exact
strict regulatory standards to limit growth. The vast majority
of New Jersey's remaining wetlands and contiguous forests
fall into these red areas. Critical natural resource areas
include dedicated open space and farmland preservation lands,
endangered and threatened species habitat, high quality
waters designated Category One (C1), and other environmentally
As the map is finalized, agencies across
State government will revamp their regulatory funding programs,
giving clear standards and fast decision times to development
proposed in "green light" areas, while setting
tougher standards and eliminating funding for development
in "red light" areas. Intermediate standards and
scrutiny will be developed for "Yellow light"
"The map will help the state curb
sprawl and protect the quality of life that every New Jersey
resident deserves," said Campbell. "Smarter regulation
and planning will cut the time parents spend stuck in traffic,
protect precious drinking water sources for our families,
and revitalize our communities."
The map unveiled today was developed through
consultation with several municipal and county leaders,
including representatives of the New Jersey State League
of Municipalities, the New Jersey Conference of Mayors,
and the New Jersey Association of Counties. After additional
updates, it will undergo a period of informal comment and
review, starting with a series of county-level meetings
for municipalities and planners around the state. These
meetings will provide an opportunity to ensure that the
data used in developing the map matches municipal information
about existing conditions and natural resources.
The administration plans to propose the
map for formal regulatory adoption this spring, after which
time there will be an official 60-day public comment period.
Prior to the formal proposal, the Department of Environmental
Protection (DEP) will provide an online discussion board
for individuals and groups to view the map and to offer
input or raise concerns.