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State Development Plan being updated with extensive public outreach

The State Development and Redevelopment Plan, a framework to guide future land use development and conservation, will get its first update in a generation, with public outreach efforts already underway.

Donna Rendeiro, executive director of the New Jersey Office of Planning, provided an update on the state plan to the NJTPA Board of Trustees during a presentation at its January 8 reorganization meeting.

She said the State Planning Commission seeks to balance the often competing goals of other state agencies, such as, the Economic Development Authority, Department of Environmental Protection, and Department of Transportation.

The plan, last updated in 2001, will add two goals focused on equity and climate change, for a total of 10. Rendeiro said they have an aggressive goal to complete the plan by the end of this year with implementation slated for 2025.

Donna Rendeiro at the podium during a presentation to the NJTPA Board of Trustees“Our initial indication is that most of the building permits have been issued in areas where the state plan encourages growth and most conservation has been happening where the state plan envisions conservation,” Rendeiro said. “It’s not perfect, it’s not 100 percent, but we do think that the plan is making a difference.”

Critical to the process of updating the plan is stakeholder engagement, according to Rendeiro, with rules requiring 27 public meetings. Once a preliminary plan is issued, hearings in each of the state’s 21 counties are required over 45 days. A final draft plan, after a cross acceptance phase that includes negotiations, requires six more public hearings. The state's engagement hub for outreach is available at publicinput.com/njstateplan.

Rendeiro said the Office of Planning already held eight stakeholder sessions last year, engaging services of the New Jersey Chapter of the American Planning Association to assist with community outreach.

Map of New Jersey with state development and redevelopment plan iconsCounties play an integral role as the State Planning Act anticipates the counties negotiating on behalf of municipalities. “We want to work very, very closely with our county partners and our regional partners,” Rendeiro said, having already met with 18 counties both formally and informally.

“We can’t force municipalities to comply with the goals of the state plan, nor can we force counties or state agencies,” Rendeiro said. Instead, they aim to collaborate and provide guidance.

A video recording of the presentation is available here.

Photo By Ed Murray
Posted: 1/10/2024 2:21:12 PM by Mark Hrywna | with 0 comments