Browsing articles by " PlanSmart NJ"

Opinion: Resiliency — The Critical Next Stage Beyond Repair and Rebuilding

Jun 10, 2013   //   by PlanSmart NJ   //   Infrastructure, Lucy Vandenberg, New Jersey, NJ Spotlight, Opinion, PlanSmart NJ, Policy, Redevelopment, Sandy, Speaks Out Blog  //  Comments Off on Opinion: Resiliency — The Critical Next Stage Beyond Repair and Rebuilding

Spending billions to rebuild misses the crux of the issue, and only guarantees that billions more will be spent next time

Photo by Wendell A. Davis Jr./FEMA

Photo by Wendell A. Davis Jr./FEMA

Facing Our Future, a group of experts with substantial state government experience, recently released a report entitled, “Infrastructure Improvements Necessary for Economic Success.” It estimates that $70 billion in upgrades are needed to our state’s infrastructure — if you include energy, water, and transportation.

The choice is not between spending $70 billion and spending nothing. Rather, the choice is one between investing in our future to dramatically reduce the costs of tomorrow’s natural disasters or, alternatively, putting our heads in the sand by reacting to natural disasters only once they happen and spending billions of dollars to rebuild each time one comes down the pike.
The latter approach, as we have seen in the case of Sandy, results in greater loss of life, public health consequences, and severe economic losses and disruptions of residents and businesses. Read more >>

PlanSmart NJ Remembers Outstanding Board Member

Jun 10, 2013   //   by PlanSmart NJ   //   Board Member, PlanSmart NJ, Speaks Out Blog  //  Comments Off on PlanSmart NJ Remembers Outstanding Board Member

Slide1It is with great sadness that PlanSmart NJ acknowledges the passing of long-time Board member Melvin R. Lehr.  For over twenty years Mel gave generously of his time and wisdom to PlanSmart NJ (formerly MSM Regional Council).  Mel combined his public and private sector experience to guide PlanSmart NJ through numerous initiatives including several transportation studies, two name changes, purchasing a building, and moving to Trenton.  In 2005 he co-chaired the Strategic Business Plan Committee that resulted in the launching of the Smart Growth Economy Project.  During his tenure he served as Secretary, Treasurer, and Vice Chairman.  Mel led with sound judgment, a steady hand, and a sense of fairness and desire to do what is right.


Speakers at Policy Briefing: Land Preservation and the Role of Regional Planning

May 7, 2013   //   by PlanSmart NJ   //   Uncategorized  //  Comments Off on Speakers at Policy Briefing: Land Preservation and the Role of Regional Planning

Richard Goldman
Richard S. Goldman heads the Real Estate Practice Group in the Princeton office of Drinker Biddle & Reath, and concentrates his law practice on municipal land use law, real estate development, leasing, financing, green acres and farmland preservation, administrative law, independent school law, business transactions and real estate litigation. Real Estate Development and Transactions. Rich has broad experience in all aspects of municipal land use and real estate development. He has represented various boards, having served as counsel to the West Windsor Township Planning Board, township attorney in East Windsor Township and counsel to the Robbinsville Township Zoning Board for over ten years. He has represented many national and local real estate developers, corporations, universities and public utilities before local, county and state agencies throughout New Jersey for issues such as: subdivision/site plan review; redevelopment and pilot programs; environmental matters; Section 208 waste water treatment plan amendments; green acres and farmland preservation; State Master Plan Tier designation and comprehensive rezoning applications. He provides representation in transactional matters as well as in structuring and negotiating agreements, financing, acquisitions, sales and commercial leasing and construction contracts. He has represented public companies on a full range of real estate needs including leasing and transactions throughout the country. Business Transactions and Commercial Litigation. Rich has much experience in all types and aspects of commercial litigation in state and federal court. He served as law clerk to the Hon. James F. Madden, J.S.C. in Bergen County. He served as special litigation counsel to the West Windsor Township Planning Board involving complex Mount Laurel litigation. In addition, he has served as general counsel to many closely held corporations, nonprofit associations and independent schools including The Hun School of Princeton, Princeton Day School and Rutgers Preparatory School, providing comprehensive legal representation in all aspects of business affairs. Administrative Law. A former deputy attorney general, Rich has continued an active involvement in aspects of government law and relations. He has represented many clients before state agencies such as the Department of Environmental Protection, the Department of Transportation and the Department of Agriculture, as well as public authorities. He served as a special consultant to the New Jersey Department of Transportation and authored comprehensive legislation effecting a public takeover of private bus and rail service in New Jersey and creating N.J. Transit. Community Involvement. Dedicated to community service, Rich serves on the board of trustees of numerous civic, charitable and educational institutions including Plan Smart NJ (chair), Young Audiences of New Jersey (chair) and the D&R Greenway Land Trust. Rich joined the board of trustees of D&R Greenway in 1990, and handled the first greenacres nonprofit grant funded conservation closing in New Jersey. Since then, he has participated in the preservation of over 15,000 acres of land, primarily in central New Jersey, including several notable projects in Princeton, such as the Institute Woods, the Winant Farm and Greenway Meadows Park; the 400 acre St. Michael’s tract in Hopewell; and over 150 other properties throughout central New Jersey. Rich was elected chair in 2007, serving for six years, and completed and opened the Johnson Education Center in Princeton, which serves as the headquarters for D&R Greenway and a valuable community resource. Rich currently serves as chair of Young Audiences NJ bringing arts and arts education to nearly 500,000 children throughout New Jersey each year, and as chair of Plan Smart NJ. Personal. Rich resides with his wife Cheryl in Hopewell Township, and has two children, Joshua and Emily.

Andrew Johnson
Andy’s work seeks to advance the region’s multi-use trail network as a means of connecting communities and contributing to the revitalization of Greater Philadelphia’s urban core. He is also responsible for grantmaking to protect priority lands through innovative, multifaceted strategies in signature regional landscapes, including the Pennsylvania Highlands, the New Jersey Pinelands, and the South Jersey Bayshore. In addition, Andy handles most of the Foundation’s support for work in the city of Camden, New Jersey, and for state policy work in Pennsylvania and New Jersey focused on sustainable growth. Previously, he worked at the Pennsylvania Environmental Council, where he was chief operating officer and senior vice president, and in the policy office of New Jersey Governor Thomas Kean. Andy holds a bachelor’s degree from Gettysburg College and a master’s degree in public administration from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard.

Wade Martin
Wade Martin said, “Growing up in a small town in New Jersey and watching the farmland disappear motivated me to find out how this development could be slowed. I grew up with farms, horses, and cows around me; now there are cars, houses, and bigger schools. I graduated from high school with 111 kids in my class and now my 3 children attend the same school with 500 kids per class.” Wade’s first introduction to land preservation was with Linda Mead from D& R Greenway in Princeton, NJ at an educational seminar they hosted for local advisors where Steve Small was the speaker. That was back in 1994. Ever since that meeting Linda and D & R Greenway had him hooked on how good land preservation was for everyone. Being part of the Martin-Rizzo Group at Morgan Stanley, Wade has made their clients aware of the benefits of land preservation. Wade, along with Morgan Stanley, has now taken the land preservation model nationwide in helping other financial advisors and their land owning clients explore their various options in preserving their land and their families’ legacy. Linda Mead and Wade had a vision to train and educate land trusts and financial advisors across the country. This came to fruition in June of 2012 at the Johnson Education Center, which is D & R Greenway’s home in Princeton, NJ. Using the partnership theme, the Land Trust Alliance, D & R Greenway, and Morgan Stanley hosted the national training program for land trusts and financial advisors. Where eight land trusts coupled with eight Morgan Stanley FA’s along with eight local attorneys from the area, were all brought into Princeton for a two day seminar. The results were overwhelmingly positive. The areas represented were Colorado, Michigan, Connecticut, Alabama, New York, Virginia, Massachusetts, and Florida. Wade is also involved in the Montgomery Township Education Foundation (MTEF) which provides items for children in town that the school budget does not cover. Wade also works extensively with the disabled community such as cerebral palsy, autism, and physically handicapped people in helping them live life to the fullest. Wade has assisted in preserving land ranging from 1 acre to 2,000 acres. One of his most memorable land preservation projects was bridging the gap between a $23mm development offer to build 143 houses and a land preservation offer of $14mm to preserve the property. After working with the town, the land owner, and their advisors, they were able to bridge the gap and preserve the property where everybody came out a winner. Wade still resides in the town he grew up in, with his wife and three children. His current house is just around the corner to the house he grew up in, where his parents still live. The most rewarding experiences for Wade in dealing with land preservation are when his children see a sign that says preserved land and they ask if he helped in preserving that land.

Linda Mead
Linda is the President and CEO of D&R Greenway Land Trust. She has led the organization since July, 1997 through a period of phenomenal growth, achieving statewide and national recognition for D&R Greenway as a leader among land trusts. For over 27 years, Linda has been managing multi-faceted nonprofit programs and structuring complex land preservation transactions. Her enthusiastic passion for the mission of D&R Greenway Land Trust has translated into millions of dollars of private funding to match New Jersey’s public funding for open space and farmland preservation. Linda’s vision led to restoration of the circa-1900 barn which became the ‘new’ home of D&R Greenway in 2006. The Johnson Education Center is a comprehensive resource center for land preservation and stewardship, unique in the state and the nation. A hub of activity, it houses events for the community, two art galleries that highlight the connection of art and nature, and is a focal point for educational programs that encourage conservation. Through activities at the Johnson Education Center, D&R Greenway links a broad range of individuals and groups in the cause of permanent protection of natural habitats, farms and open space. Under Linda’s leadership, in 2004 the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection recognized D&R Greenway with their 2004 Environmental Excellence Award for Open Space Protection and Preservation. New partnerships spearheaded under Linda’s leadership have included the first ever international Sister Land Trust Partnership between regional trusts, with Amigos de Calakmul in Mexico and Associacion de Privadas Reservas in Guatemala. Linda contributed to the initial community outreach that resulted in designation by Congress of the Crossroads of the American Revolution National Heritage Area, the first such designation in New Jersey. In 2002, Linda was awarded the prestigious International Paper Conservation Partnership Award from The Conservation Fund for achieving protection of over $25 million of land in 2001 through private fundraising and public partnerships, securing these lands for the public’s benefit. Linda holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Planning from Rutgers University. She was a founder of the Delaware River Sojourn, and the Delaware River Greenway Partnership, and has served on the boards of Bowman’s Hill Wildflower Preserve, and the Bucks County Open Space Fund. She has raised over $100 million to support land preservation and related efforts. She is currently a member of the Easement Advisory Committee for the New Jersey Historic Trust.

John S. Watson, Jr.
In April 2010, John “Jay” S. Watson, Jr. joined the full-time staff as Vice President of D&R Greenway Land Trust. Jay’s responsibilities at D&R Greenway Land Trust include strategic planning, managing the public outreach for St. Michael’s Farm, oversight of land preservation and stewardship, and representing D&R Greenway to foundations, public and private partners. Most recently, Jay served as the Deputy Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP). Before being appointed as Deputy, he served as Assistant Commissioner for Natural and Historic Resources for the Department. Prior to the appointment to the Commissioner’s office, he served as the Administrator for The Green Acres Program which is recognized as a national model for land preservation and park development. With the NJDEP since 1981, he managed projects across New Jersey’s diverse landscape and has played a part in the protection and enhancement of many of its special places. Jay brings vast experience in natural resource protection to D&R Greenway Land Trust. Having worked on waterfront reclamation and redevelopment projects in a number of urban centers, Jay evolved as the agency’s primary specialist and advocate for urban parks and waterfront development initiatives. He also represented Governor Jon Corzine on the Delaware River Basin Commission; Co-chaired the New Jersey Invasive Species Council; and served on the NYNJ Harbor Estuary Program Policy Committee. During his tenure with the Department, Jay has represented the NJDEP Commissioner on the New Jersey Natural Lands Trust Board of Trustees; Environmental Justice Advisory Council; State Agricultural Development Committee; Garden State Preservation Trust and others. Jay is presently on the Board of Trustees at the Princeton Area Community Foundation which promotes philanthropy to advance the well-being of our communities; and serves on the Crossroads of the American Revolution National Heritage Area Board of Trustees. Jay graduated from Mercer County Community College in West Windsor, NJ, and Florida A&M University in Tallahassee Florida. He is committed to many important environmental, community, and social organizations that promote a healthy and progressive existence in the State of New Jersey. A lifelong New Jersey resident, he lives in Lawrenceville with his wife Debra, daughter Chelsea, and son John S. Watson III.

Opinion: Revitalizing NJ for Its Newest Generation of Knowledge Workers

Apr 3, 2013   //   by PlanSmart NJ   //   Economic Development, Economic Redevelopment and Growth Grant Program (ERG), Lucy Vandenberg, New Jersey, NJ Spotlight, Opinion, PlanSmart NJ, Policy, Redevelopment, Speaks Out Blog  //  Comments Off on Opinion: Revitalizing NJ for Its Newest Generation of Knowledge Workers

The Economic Opportunity Act of 2013 could help fund the redevelopment of the state’s urban centers and suburban office parks

Earlier this month, both Senate and Assembly committees took up the Economic Opportunity Act of 2013, a mammoth piece of legislation that consolidates New Jersey’s disparate economic development incentive programs into two. Grow NJ is focused on attracting and retaining companies here in New Jersey, while the Economic Redevelopment and Growth Grant Program (ERG) creates incentives for development and redevelopment in urban and other designated areas.
The bills are moving fast and have garnered widespread support muted by some criticism.

Grow NJ provides financial incentives to companies to encourage economic growth and job creation, as well as to preserve jobs in New Jersey that are at risk of relocation. The bill links incentives to specific job creation goals based on industry type and minimum capital investment thresholds. It also provides increased tax credits to companies that locate in urban and distressed municipalities. Additional tax-credit awards are offered to companies locating in impoverished areas, building near public transit, providing jobs in New Jersey’s targeted growth industries, and adhering to green-design standards, among other categories. Read more >>

Opinion: Federal Funding Is Only One Way to Speed Recovery from Sandy

Jan 16, 2013   //   by PlanSmart NJ   //   Green Acres, Historic Preservation, NJ Keep It Green Coalition, NJ Spotlight, Opinion, Policy, Sandy, Speaks Out Blog  //  Comments Off on Opinion: Federal Funding Is Only One Way to Speed Recovery from Sandy

Long-term funding for Green Acres and other preservation programs can ease the impact of Sandy, future extreme storms

In last week’s State of the State address, Gov. Chris Christie called on congressional leaders to swiftly appropriate all $60 billion in federal disaster relief for New Jersey.

New Jersey residents are united in wanting to see these funds appropriated quickly.

New Jersey’s elected leaders also have a unique opportunity to mitigate the impacts of Hurricane Sandy and future storms. How? By creating a long-term source of state funding for acquiring, preserving, and protecting open space, waterways, parks, farmland, and historic sites.

Doing so will also help leverage federal dollars for flood protection.

Unfortunately, the funding stream for preservation efforts in New Jersey has run dry. The Legislature has appropriated the last of the funds from the 2009 voter-approved bond issue that provided $400 million for Blue Acres, Green Acres, Farmland Preservation, and Historic Preservation programs. Read more >>

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