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The State Plan is Being Revised: What It Means & How to Get Involved

By Jef R. Buehler
Assistant Director, NJ Business Action Center

April 03, 2024

What is the State Plan?

The New Jersey State Development and Redevelopment Plan (SDRP) is a document prepared by the New Jersey State Planning Commission (SPC) that contains a comprehensive framework intended to guide future development, redevelopment, conservation, preservation, and restoration efforts in the State of New Jersey. The SDRP will guide NJ’s municipalities and counties to foster prosperity by enhancing economic, place, social, and civic value.

The SDRP is prepared by SPC staff in the Office of State Planning at the NJ Business Action Center in the NJ Department of State, in consultation with a variety of state agencies, and is subject to a process called cross-acceptance, which is a consultative process with county and local governments intended to align, to the extent possible, the state’s priorities and planning objectives with the priorities and planning objectives of local governments. SDRP policies and strategies reflect current principles and best practices that are widely accepted within the city and regional planning discipline with respect to land use, transportation, housing, environmental protection and enhancement, economic development, provision of public infrastructure, historic preservation, social justice and adaptation to global climate change. All of those topics touch our state’s downtowns and managed districts, to a greater and lesser extent for each community.

What the State Plan Does & Does Not Do

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The SDRP is intended to be implemented by the state agencies, through their functional plans, investment priorities, and administrative rules. It is also implemented by local governments, to the extent that they have synchronized their planning objectives with those of the SDRP.

The SDRP does not overrule, negate, or interfere with local master plans and development regulations. Local governments in New Jersey exercise total control over local land use matters, limited only by enforcement of state statutes and state agency administrative rules.  Similarly, the SDRP does not overrule, negate, or interfere with the plans independently prepared and adopted by the state’s three regional planning entities with jurisdiction over the Meadowlands, Pinelands, and Highlands regions, although a high level of consistency is sought between the SDRP and these plans.

What the SDRP does do is point local and county governments in the direction of a more prosperous future, one in which growth and change fit with the local vision, needs, and character while meeting the following goals.

The Goals of the SDRP are:

  1. Revitalize the State’s Cities and Towns
  2. Conserve the State’s Natural Resources and Systems
  3. Promote Beneficial Economic Growth, Development, and Renewal for all Residents of New Jersey
  4. Protect the Environment, Prevent and Clean Up Pollution
  5. Provide Adequate Public Facilities and Services at a Reasonable Cost
  6. Provide Adequate Housing at a Reasonable Cost
  7. Preserve and Enhance Areas with Historic, Cultural, Scenic, Open Space, and Recreational Value
  8. Ensure Sound and Integrated Planning and Implementation Statewide

Additionally, the 2024 update of the SDRP will incorporate two more goals:

  1. Address the Negative Impacts of Global Climate Change
  2. Prevent the Concentration of Adverse Environmental Impacts in Overburdened Communities

Opportunities to Participate

This current State Plan revision process is built to both move quickly and offer significant engagement opportunities to all NJ stakeholders, including district management entities, developers, businesses, property owners, County governments, municipal governments, and residents. So far, all 21 County planners are already involved in the SDRP revision process, having met with the Office of State Planning directly. There will be several online surveys that will be both broadly accessible and targeted to particular subject matter interest groups. The public will hear more about the State Plan revision through a variety of online and on-site conferences and educational sessions. Throughout October 2023, there were several online topic-focused listening sessions; the recordings are available at www.publicinput.com/njstateplan.

In Spring 2024, after feedback and guidance are received and analyzed, the Preliminary Plan will be published and shared online for public review. Throughout the process, the public may share comments online or through a dedicated email address: stateplan.comments@sos.nj.gov. After the publication of the Preliminary Plan, there will be 21 County hearings beginning in the Spring/Summer of 2024, with an additional 6 public hearings after the Final Plan is published.

Opportunities for comment are as follows:

  • Comments can also be sent via email to comments@publicinput.com
  • Alternatively, comments can be submitted through the “Community Input” or the “Surveys” tab at publicinput.com/njstateplan
  • Voice messages containing comments can be left by calling 1-855-925-2801, with the passcode 2813

Unlike past State Plan revisions, our approach and process have been streamlined to minimize work and cost for municipalities. They will not have to submit Master Plans, and any required filings can be done exclusively online. 

By creating these efficiencies and maintaining a variety of stakeholder engagement opportunities, we aim for the State Plan revision to be functional, impactful, and fair – and one that will elevate NJ’s prosperity on the state, local, and county levels for decades to come.

The New Jersey Business Action Center serves as the State’s liaison to the business community, offering free information, services, and resources across various areas such as business registration, financial programs, regulatory compliance, property selection, workforce training, and more. NJBAC, a division of the Department of State, comprises multiple offices, including Business Advocacy, Export Promotion, Small Business Advocacy, State Planning, and the Cannabis Training Academy.

For more information about NJBAC services, please visit NJ DOS – NJ Business Action Center or Business.NJ.gov: Your first stop for doing business in NJ or call 1-800-JERSEY-7.

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