Home > Uncategorized > Christie DEP and Highlands Council To Present Septic Density Rollbacks Tomorrow

Christie DEP and Highlands Council To Present Septic Density Rollbacks Tomorrow

DEP Meeting Invitation Is A Pro-Development Dog-Whistle

Highlands Council Meeting Will Discuss

Tomorrow (4/21/16) morning at 9 am in the Parsippany-Troy Township Municipal Building
1001 Parsippany Boulevard, Parsippany, Christie DEP political appointees will brief municipal and County officials on DEP plans to weaken and retreat from the strongest water quality protection and development restriction in the Highlands, known as the “septic density standards”.

Those standards are designed to prevent pollution of groundwater. The standards strictly limit development, allowing 1 septic system per 88 acres in forested areas and 1 per 25 acres on agricultural lands.

Those interested in the substance, see these posts:

Later in the afternoon, at 4 pm the Highlands Council has the septic density standard on the Agenda as a “Chairman’s Report” item.

I strongly urge all Highlands advocates to attend both meetings and send a message to Governor Christie, the DEP, the Highlands Council, and local officials that we will not tolerate rollbacks in clean water protections.

My sense is that the local officials meeting is closed to the public, so it would be a great target for a protest. HINT!

The DEP invitation to local officials was cryptic:

Good Afternoon Municipal and County Official,

Please join us for a Highlands meeting to discuss DEP’s proposed changes to the Highlands Septic Density Rule and what it may mean to your Municipality or County.

Given the significance, controversy, and complexity of the land use planning and water quality protection and regulatory implications, it is amazing that DEP failed to provide a meeting agenda and supporting materials with that cryptic invitation.

No mention of what “DEP’s proposed changes” might be.

How can local officials be informed and prepared for such an important meeting?

DEP is intentionally keeping local officials in the dark so they can avoid criticism and spring a fait accompli on them.

That is the OPPOSITE of sound regional planning and transparent regulatory development. It is a completely unprofessional and manipulative practice.

But everyone knows DEP is doing a dog-whistle – to mask rollback of the septic density standards and signal an intent to promote more development in the Highlands.

Besides, how could DEP communicate their actual policy objectives:

Something honest like this would just never do:

Dear Municipal and County Official,

Please join us for a meeting where we will outline our plans to weaken groundwater protections and promote more development in the Highlands Preservation Area.

What this will mean for your community is: more water pollution; loss of forests, farms and open space and rural and historic character; loss of wildlife habitat; rising property taxes to pay to provide schools and local services to new development; and more air pollution, traffic and congestion.

Attached please find the new septic densities for your town, based on our new model – including before and after buildout analyses so you can understand the growth impacts and plan accordingly.

After tomorrow’s meetings, we will explain the significance of DEP’s proposed changes to the septic density standards – for now, just think how you’d feel if your local government up zoned ALL the land in your town from 88 and 25 acre lot size zoning to 4 – 10 acre zoning.

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