The “Big Map” Lives! Christie Restores “Big Map” Debate
Getting to the heart of the matter, the Christie State Plan is all about killing the ghost of the “Big Map” – an obsession that is proven by the Plan’s own text:
The intent of the State Plan Policy Map was to give the goals and policies of the State Plan a geographic context. The State Plan Policy Map became a land use regulation tool as a result of the current linkages between the State Plan and the NJ Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) regulations for â€•planning areasâ€– and â€•centers.â€– As a result, insufficient consideration is given to essential local and regional planning priorities such as public facilities, affordable housing and economic growth. A perfect example is that the highly-criticized DEP â€•Blueprint for Intelligent Growth (BIG Map)â€™â€– lives within the current DEP Water Quality Management (WQM) regulations. In cross acceptance, DEP negotiated for revisions to the Policy Map to reflect data relied on in its WQM regulations, seeking to position flawed data (for example, DEPâ€™sLandscape Project) above local and regional planning priorities. (page 18)
The Christie economic development plan simply erases this entire debate by eliminating mapping of environmental features Â an denying the science – like the Water Quality Management Planning rules and the DEP’s Landscape Project’s mapping of rare, endangered, and threatened species.
This a corrupt practice akin to writing the policies in invisible ink.
BTW, here’s what the NJ State Planning Act mandates for the State Plan *(and just ask a simple question: how can a plan balance, protect and manage natural resources when it doesn’t know where they are, as depicted on a map?) :
Â§ 52:18A-200. State Development and Redevelopment Plan
The State Development and Redevelopment Plan shall be designed to represent a balance of development and conservation objectives best suited to meet the needs of the State. The plan shall:
a. Protect the natural resources and qualities of the State, including, but not limited to, agricultural devel- opment areas, fresh and saltwater wetlands, flood plains, stream corridors, aquifer recharge areas, steep slopes, areas of unique flora and fauna, and areas with scenic, historic, cultural and recreational values;
b. Promote development and redevelopment in a manner consistent with sound planning and where in- frastructure can be provided at private expense or with reasonable expenditures of public funds. This should not be construed to give preferential treatment to new construction;
c. Consider input from State, regional, county and municipal entities concerning their land use, environ- mental, capital and economic development plans, including to the extent practicable any State and regional plans concerning natural resources or infrastructure elements;
d. Identify areas for growth, limited growth, agriculture, open space conservation and other appropriate designations that the commission may deem necessary;
e. Incorporate a reference guide of technical planning standards and guidelines used in the preparation of the plan; and
f. Coordinate planning activities and establish Statewide planning objectives in the following areas: land use, housing, economic development, transportation, natural resource conservation, agriculture and farmland retention, recreation, urban and suburban redevelopment, historic preservation, public facilities and services, and intergovernmental coordination.