State Planning Commission Honored With Smart Growth Award
Commission Cited for Work to Preserve More Than 4,000 Acres in Woolwich Township

TRENTON - New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (DCA) Commissioner Lori Grifa today announced that the State Planning Commission received a statewide award for negotiating a transfer-of-development-rights (TDR) plan to preserve more than 4,000 acres of farmland, open space and woodlands in Woolwich Township, Gloucester County. The Woolwich plan was one of six projects to receive a 2010 Smart Growth Award from New Jersey Future, a statewide research and policy group that advocates smarter land use and growth policies.

"Over the past decade, Woolwich Township has had the fastest growing population of any community in the state. Determined to protect its working farms and preserve as much of its rural character as possible, Woolwich worked hard to create a plan that directs development to those areas of the township that make the most sense," said Commissioner Grifa. "I am proud that the State Planning Commission was able to partner with the township to help them achieve this laudable goal. The Commission members and the Office of Smart Growth should be commended for their contributions to this successful project."

The Woolwich TDR plan, which was done in collaboration with township officials and residents, the State Planning Commission, and Group Melvin Design, was cited in the award category of Innovative Growth & Land Conservation Strategy.

Woolwich and six other communities were selected as TDR Demonstration Projects in 2005 by the DCA’s Office of Smart Growth. Four years later, Woolwich became the first community to adopt a TDR plan and ordinance. To avoid development sprawl, Woolwich's TDR plan designates two zones totaling 700 acres for mixed-use development while preserving 4,100 acres elsewhere in the community. Under the plan, private investors can purchase the development potential in a preservation area for use in the township's targeted growth area. In exchange for a cash payment, landowners in a preservation area place a restrictive easement on their property that will protect the land into perpetuity.

New Jersey Future hailed the Woolwich plan as functional, pedestrian friendly, and more economically and environmentally viable than the predominant sprawl development pattern.

The State Planning Commission consists of 17 members representing state government, local government, and the public. It is charged with coordinating state land use policies, implementing the New Jersey State Development and Redevelopment Plan, reviewing legislation for capital appropriations as they relate to the State Plan, and encouraging the use of effective and efficient planning resources, tools and techniques to local governments, businesses, and citizens. The DCA's Office of Smart Growth provides administrative and technical support to the Commission.

For more information on the State Planning Commission, the Office of Smart Growth and Transfer of Development Rights, please log on to or call (609) 292-7156.