Browsing articles in "Speaks Out Blog"

Regional Planning Is the Key to Job Creation in New Jersey

Jul 15, 2011   //   by PlanSmart NJ   //   Speaks Out Blog  //  Comments Off on Regional Planning Is the Key to Job Creation in New Jersey

Last Friday, the U.S. Labor Department issued an unexpectedly gloomy jobs report. Contrary to most economists’ projections, the unemployment rate inched up to 9.2%, up from 9.1% in May. In June 2009, when the recession technically ended, the unemployment rate was just slightly higher, at 9.5%.

The news probably wasn’t particularly surprising to the New Jersey business leaders who participated in PlanSmart NJ’s Economic Development and Land Use conference last month in New Brunswick, NJ. Nor was it a surprise to those who participated in an earlier PlanSmart NJ focus group held in April with business leaders from key sectors of New Jersey’s economy. Read more >>

Greetings from PlanSmart NJ’s New Executive Director, Lucy Vandenberg, PP/AICP

May 2, 2011   //   by PlanSmart NJ   //   Speaks Out Blog  //  Comments Off on Greetings from PlanSmart NJ’s New Executive Director, Lucy Vandenberg, PP/AICP

I am honored to have been selected by the PlanSmart NJ Board of Directors as its new Executive Director. I am humbled to succeed Dianne Brake, who served the organization faithfully over the past 25 years. Dianne Brake is recognized around the State as a visionary leader, someone whose writings and ideas we will turn to again and again for years to come.

I look forward to taking PlanSmart NJ to the next level, working to further the principles of sound land use planning and regional cooperation through on-the-ground implementation, public policy advocacy and in-depth analysis of the complex planning challenges that confront us as a State. Through our research, technical assistance, and public policy work, we expect to provide new insights that will help inform decision-makers and improve quality of life in our communities. PlanSmart NJ has earned a reputation for its balanced approach to land use planning. It is this principle that is woven throughout PlanSmart NJ’s work. Read more >>

THE Tunnel: An Investment in NJ’s Economic Future and More!

Sep 27, 2010   //   by PlanSmart NJ   //   Speaks Out Blog  //  Comments Off on THE Tunnel: An Investment in NJ’s Economic Future and More!

by Dianne Brake

At Monday’s Assembly Transportation Committee hearing, NJ Transit Executive Director James Weinstein confirmed that the multi-billion dollar project currently under construction that will double transit capacity for up to 75% of the population of New Jersey is necessary for just about any new transit service improvement to be added to New Jersey’s transit system.

The project, variously known as the Access to Region’s Core (ARC) project, or the Trans Hudson Express (THE) Tunnel, has been halted this month by the Christie Administration for a 30-day review of the project’s finances. Committee Chairman Assemblyman John Wisniewski (D-19) asked Weinstein questions to determine whether this review is likely to result in a withdrawal of the Administration’s support for the project. The Director replied that the 30-day review would have to be completed before such a question could be answered. Read more >>

How Much Growth? Where? To Do What? How to stop fighting about housing policy and do what needs to be done for all!

Jun 23, 2010   //   by PlanSmart NJ   //   Speaks Out Blog  //  Comments Off on How Much Growth? Where? To Do What? How to stop fighting about housing policy and do what needs to be done for all!

S1, the so-called affordable housing bill that passed in the Senate last week, rashly throws out the Mt. Laurel Doctrine that made New Jersey’s affordable housing program a model for the rest of the country. It will lead to lawsuits, not housing.

First, it ignores the Court’s 1975 Mt. Laurel decision, which was about zoning. It said that because zoning is a police power, local officials can only apply it to support the general welfare. Like eminent domain, zoning is something the public has an interest in . We don’t want local officials doing anything they want with it. S1 takes local officials off the hook for equitable zoning. Read more >>

Minding Our R’s and E’s: Earth Day 2010

Apr 23, 2010   //   by PlanSmart NJ   //   Speaks Out Blog  //  Comments Off on Minding Our R’s and E’s: Earth Day 2010

by Dianne Brake

There is a useful conservation mantra: Reduce, Recycle, Re-use! There is also a nifty definition of sustainability: the nexus of Economy, Environment, and Equity. In honor of the Earth Day’s 40th Anniversary, PlanSmartNJ proposes to add one more “R” and one more “E” to these mnemonic messages. Each addition is intended to provide a unifying and forward-thinking focus.

The original “R’s” of conservation: Of course, we can all easily agree that we must reduce pollution (air, water, soil) and reduce waste(solid, water, energy, land). We can also agree that we must reduce the cost of living so that we have more money to restore damaged resources. Read more >>

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