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NJ Department of State
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Trenton, NJ 08625-0820

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State Planning Rules

The New Jersey State Planning Act authorizes the State Planning Commission to establish rules governing its administrative procedures. The State Planning Rules are in Chapter 5:85 of the New Jersey Administrative Code (N.J.A.C.). By adopting the State Planning Rules, New Jersey joins the ranks of “first” States to address growth and preservation in a Statewide-planning document for municipalities and counties. The State Planning Act (N.J.S.A. 52:18-196 et. seq.) defined a process, entitled cross-acceptance. Cross-acceptance on a statewide level involves extensive public participation and corporation with our local partners, municipalities and counties. In addition, the Act allows the State Planning Commission (Commission) to collect, analyze, and synthesize policies and implementation mechanisms into the creation of the New Jersey State Development and Redevelopment Plan (State Plan). The Act specifies that the Commission will create rules and regulations to define the process of cross-acceptance and procedures for solicitation and receipt of comments for the State Plan.

A brief review of this year’s changes to the State Planning Rules demonstrates just how dynamic planning is in New Jersey. The Rules took the legislative mandate for cross-acceptance, “. . . a process of comparison of planning policies . . . with the purpose of attaining compatibility . . . (N.J.S.A. 52:18A-202(b)) and defined the procedural aspects. The procedural aspects include several steps; first and foremost the Commission must notify interested parties and the counties of the Commission intent to begin revisions to the State Plan. The next steps for the Commission is to approval and distribute the Preliminary Plan with a Cross-Acceptance Manual and conduct 21 County Informational Meetings. The following steps represent an all inclusive process between the State and the negotiating entity and result in an opportunity to review technical reports highlighting possible modifications for the Preliminary Plan in the form of Cross-Acceptance Reports and an identification of issues formalized in a Statement of Agreements and Disagreements. The process also provides for an analyzing the planning policies and scenarios (Impact Analysis & Infrastructure Needs Assessment) to identify implementation mechanisms for the State Plan. Lastly, through a variety of public hearings, a new Final State Plan is approved. This State Plan becomes the official blueprint for which growth and preservation policies are decided on in New Jersey.

The Commission also requested that further rule refinement consider a mechanism that would effectively implement the planning policies of the State Plan. This in turn led to the Commission to establish Plan Endorsement. Plan Endorsement is a voluntary process, that considers how to ensure consistency of all local governmental plans with the State Plan and to ensure a minimum level of State technical assistance along with specified regulatory and funding priority benefits. Plan endorsement has two stages. The first stage, initial plan endorsement, allows petitioners to submit to the Commission the fundamental planning documents, such as the master plan. The second stage, advanced plan endorsement, allows petitioners to submit more extensive planning efforts; this stage is encouraged and not required.

The Commission continues to define and redefine the process and procedural aspects of the preparation, revision, and readoption of the State Plan through its State Planning Rules to significantly enhance planning strategies for the benefit of the citizens of New Jersey.