January 17, 2003 |
While many of Gov. McGreevey's proposed steps to curb suburban sprawl are positive, his failure to even mention any strategy for affordable housing is very discouraging. Smart growth, sound planning and affordable housing go hand in hand. Both the American Planning Association and the Smart Growth Network agree that providing quality housing for people of all income levels in all regions is a key part of any smart-growth strategy. Creating large corporate complexes and malls in the suburbs and exurbs, and then relegating the housing for the low-wage earners at those facilities to communities miles away, is nothing more than a recipe for traffic congestion and jobs that employers can't fill.
July 25, 1999 |
Smart growth is a phrase on everyone's lips these days, but as with most politically charged catchphrases, it can have a variety of interpretations. As articulated by Vice President Gore and others, smart growth means matching housing to jobs, easing traffic gridlock, and preserving open space. The meaning for municipal planning and zoning authorities might be no growth at all, because the cost of providing municipal services, including education, to residents usually exceeds the revenue from property taxes, no matter how much homeowners are willing to pay. These municipalities prefer commercial and industrial growth, which provide much and require less.
May 14, 2003 |
I'M OFTEN asked why there's so little "smart growth" in the state. You know smart growth (aka new urbanism): that combination of state infrastructure investment, regional land-use regulation, traditional housing design, pedestrian-friendly street design and increased densities packaged as an alternative to sprawl. Smart growth has been so successfully promoted in states like Maryland, California and New Jersey that it's generating something of a backlash. But here, we've seen only small policy changes and few actual projects.
December 20, 2010 |
When the Delaware Valley Smart Growth Alliance started in 2003, its founders knew their mission would not be without considerable rigor. The nonprofit group - when created, only the second of its kind in the United States - was promoting a style of development largely absent and misunderstood here: high-density, walkable communities, where sidewalks are plentiful and housing coexists with shops and offices. The concept remains a vast departure from what dominates this region: zoning that demands that different uses stay separate and that houses be on at least a half-acre.
November 25, 2003 |
The following is excerpted from a speech on the state's "smart growth" plan given by Susan Bass Levin, commissioner of the Department of Community Affairs, to the Burlington County Chamber of Commerce on Nov. 13. If we are to make sure we have a strong economy in New Jersey - that we provide jobs, housing and economic growth, and at the same time preserve and protect our natural resources - then "smart growth" is a way of bringing it all together....
May 9, 2002 |
Gov. McGreevey recently presented the legislature with the state's annual spending plan for transportation capital improvements. The plan affects each citizen - whether he lives in a suburb or a city or in the north or the south, and whether he takes mass transit or drives. Every facet of transportation infrastructure, from rail cars and bridges to jug handles and roadwork, is included. This year's plan represents the beginning of an important policy shift for the Department of Transportation.
July 23, 2004
For years, state planners have been begging builders to stop digging up open spaces just because it's cheaper and faster, and instead to redevelop in cities and older suburbs. But laws on permits gave builders no incentive to change their habits. So the Legislature had the right intent when it aimed to streamline bureaucracy and paperwork for "designated growth areas" in about a third of the state. But the result - a loosely worded political payoff, negotiated behind closed doors, and rushed through in three days last month - won't do the job. The new law expedites building permits in areas earmarked for development far from sensitive places such as the Highlands and Pinelands.
January 26, 2001
Now that the U.S. Department of Agriculture has corrected statistics on the pace of sprawl and other land uses, Pennsylvania drops from second to fifth place in the nation. Rather than 1.1 million acres developed between 1992 and 1997, Pennsylvania saw growth rates that gobbled up only about 545,000, the USDA reports. Who wouldn't rejoice at reclaiming a half-million acres? New Jersey, too, saw its 20th place development losses shaved by about 25 percent when the USDA reworked its numbers to overcome a computer glitch.
March 3, 2003 |
As an attorney specializing in land-use and environmental law, and as someone who has lived in Haddonfield for 28 years, I think the state's smart-growth strategy is inadequate. New Jersey is projected to grow by one million people, and 800,000 jobs, by 2020. A true smart-growth plan would identify where these people will live, and ensure that housing is built for them. New housing must be affordable and available. Currently, about one million state residents live in substandard housing or pay up to half their income to keep a roof over their heads.
November 25, 2003
If you're going to declare war, you'd better have an army and a battle plan. Gov. McGreevey had neither when he took on his state's most intractable problem. "There is no single greater threat to our way of life in New Jersey than the unrestrained, uncontrolled development that has jeopardized our water supplies, made our schools more crowded, our roads congested and our open space disappear," McGreevey said in his State of the State address last January. He promised to help towns control growth and property taxes.