Home > Uncategorized > Rural White Township Farmland Purchase To Block Proposed Warehouse Development Reveals Total Failure Of State Land Use Planning and Regulation

Rural White Township Farmland Purchase To Block Proposed Warehouse Development Reveals Total Failure Of State Land Use Planning and Regulation

Developer BlackMail Extracts Premium Land Price

Political Deal Preserves Corrupt Status Quo And Avoids Real Reforms

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NJ Spotlight today reported on the deal for the State Agricultural Development Committee to purchase almost 600 acres of prime farmland in rural White Township to avoid construction of a massive warehouse development as some kind of win and a model for the future, see:

It is a terrible deal and it exposes the total failure of NJ State, regional, and local land use planning and DEP regulation.

It is a classic example of perverse incentives, where private and public sector actors are rewarded for doing all the wrong things.

It diverts environmental, land use, and local community activists from real effective solutions.

It uses public money to provide cover for the failure of State and local officials and agencies.

It wastes scarce public land preservation money on developer artificially inflated land values.

It continues a pattern of reactionary expenditure of scarce public preservation dollars on a scattershot political deal that bears no relationship to sound land use planning or environmental conservation planning or to rational science based priorities.

Here is my note to NJ Spotlight reporter Jon Hurdle, which I copied to the usual suspects:

———- Original Message ———-

From: Bill WOLFE <>

To: “jonhurdle@gmail.com” <jonhurdle@gmail.com>, “ferencem@njspotlightnews.org” <ferencem@njspotlightnews.org>, “tmoran@starledger.com” <tmoran@starledger.com>

Date: 11/13/2023 2:26 PM PST

Subject: White Twsp – warehouse land purchase

Jon – your reporting of the deal for the State ADC to purchase 600 acres of prime farmland in rural White Township gets the story exactly wrong.

You report this as some kind of win and good public policy.

In reality it is an illustration of the total failure of NJ’s State and regional land use planning and DEP’s environmental regulation. Let me be specific: 1) The toothless State Development and Redevelopment Plan; 2) the local Master Plan and zoning pursuant to the Municipal Land Use Law, and 3) the various DEP land use and water regulatory programs: a) water quality management planning (land use and sewer infrastructure); b) stormwater management; c) water quality standards (anti-degradation policy, steam buffers, and non-point source pollution) and permitting (impacts on the Delaware River).

It is an illustration of “perverse incentives” – where taxpayers bail outs of towns provide incentives for continued poor planning and zoning (and reckless private sector investment and development decisions).

It is an illustration of reactive approach and expenditure of scare preservation money based on no planning at all under NJ’s farmland preservation and Green Acres programs, where scarce public money is spent paying huge development inflated land prices for scattershot lands that bear no relationship to any land preservation or environmental conservation or land use plan.

Politically, grass roots activists are being diverted from focusing on the State planning and regulatory tools that can work and from holding government officials accountable.

There is not enough money in Trenton to buy it all – that’s why we have State land use planning and regulation.

Do better.


[End Note] A critical comment from a knowledgeable NJ reader:

Dep can kill most of these projects WQMP , stormwater etc Highlands can so can Pinelands –  so can DOT – highway access permits , dent road and intersection improvements –  Local finance board  because of TIfs or redevelopment agreements-County Planning Bds because of impact to county infrastructure – its all BS Kabuki dance 

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