State of New Jersey
Executive Order #4

Governor James E. McGreevey

WHEREAS, it is the law and policy of the State of New Jersey to promote smart growth and to reduce the negative effects of sprawl and disinvestments in older communities; and

WHEREAS, the State Legislature has declared that New Jersey requires sound and integrated Statewide planning and the coordination of Statewide planning with local and regional planning in order to conserve the State's natural resources, revitalize its urban centers, protect the quality of its environment, and provide needed housing and adequate public services at a reasonable cost while promoting beneficial economic growth, development and renewal; and

WHEREAS, significant economies, efficiencies and savings in the development process would be realized by private sector enterprise and by public sector development agencies if the several levels of government would cooperate in the preparation of and adherence to sound and integrated plans; and

WHEREAS, it is in the public interest to encourage development, redevelopment and economic growth in locations that are well situated with respect to present or anticipated public services and facilities, giving appropriate priority to the redevelopment, repair, rehabilitation or replacement of existing facilities and to discourage development where it may impair or destroy natural resources or environmental qualities that are vital to the health and well-being of the present and future citizens of this State; and

WHEREAS, a sound and comprehensive planning process will facilitate the provision of equal social and economic opportunity so that all of New Jersey's citizens can benefit from growth, development and redevelopment; and

WHEREAS, the State Planning Commission is charged with overseeing a cooperative planning process that involves the State, county and local governments as well as other public and private sector interests to enhance prudent and rational development, redevelopment and conservation policies and the formulation of sound and consistent regional plans and planning criteria and providing local governments in this State with the technical resources and guidance necessary to assist them in developing land use plans and procedures which are based on sound planning information and practice, and to facilitate the development of local plans which are consistent with State plans and programs; and

WHEREAS the State Development and Redevelopment Plan, commonly known as the "State Plan," embodies the State's official land use and development policies, to guide public investment, infrastructure development, economic growth, urban revitalization, sound housing and transportation policy, agriculture promotion and preservation, energy policy, and preservation of natural, environmental, coastal, historic and cultural resources; and

WHEREAS, despite these efforts, New Jersey still suffers the effects of poor land use planning and decision-making such as increased commuter times, loss of open space, loss of natural resources, declining property values in distressed areas, increasing property taxes, escalating State costs associated with aiding distressed municipalities and supporting sprawling development.

WHEREAS, the principles of smart growth would focus new growth into redevelopment of our older urban and suburban areas, protect existing open space, conserve natural resources, increase transportation options and transit availability and reduce automobile traffic and dependency, stabilize property taxes, and provide affordable housing; and

WHEREAS, plan endorsement -- meaning a process by which the State Planning Commission certifies consistency between municipal or regional planning and the State Plan - offers the potential of fostering municipal and regional implementation of the principles of smart growth; and

WHEREAS, various State agencies, including independent authorities and bi-state agencies, have not maximized the potential of incorporating the fundamental elements of the State Plan and the general principles of smart growth into their functional plans or regulations;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, JAMES E. McGREEVEY, Governor of the State of New Jersey, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and by the Statutes of this State, do hereby ORDER and DIRECT:

  1. To ensure that State agencies incorporate the principles of smart growth and the State Plan into their functional plans and regulations, there shall be created in the Office of the Governor a Smart Growth Policy Council.

  2. The Council shall consist of the following: the Secretary of Agriculture; the President of the Board of Public Utilities; the Treasurer; the Chief Executive Officer of the Commerce and Economic Growth Commission; the Commissioners of the Departments of Community Affairs, Education, Environmental Protection, and Transportation; the Executive Directors of New Jersey Transit, and the Economic Development Authority, and the Chief of the Authorities Unit. The Council shall be chaired by a senior policy advisor from the Governor's staff. The chairperson shall be supported by appropriate planning staff as needed from the various executive departments.

  3. The Council shall meet bi-monthly or as needed.

  4. The Council shall have the following responsibilities, powers and duties:

    1. Develop and implement inter- and intra-departmental procedures and programs to assure that State agency functional plans, programs, and projects are consistent with and serve to the principles of smart growth and implement the State Plan.

    2. Recommend legislative and administrative changes to advance the principles of smart growth and the State Plan.

    3. Ensure that State grants, incentives or other funding issued to promote economic activity or otherwise by any agency promote consistency with the principles of smart growth and the State Plan.

    4. Ensure that State transportation and infrastructure spending and regulation are consistent with the principles of smart growth and the State Plan.

    5. Ensure that school construction initiatives promote smart growth, open space, and revitalization of communities.

    6. Coordinate and consolidate State redevelopment initiatives especially those involving Brownfields to reduce points of entry for municipalities and

    7. Provide an interdepartmental venue for resolution of conflicts regarding specific private and public sector projects that would either advance or undermine the implementation of the State Plan, and to expedite projects that would serve to implement the Plan.

    8. Develop initiatives to assist local government and communities to achieve smart growth objectives.

    9. Review water resource capacity in the State to reduce conflicts between development and the protection of water and natural resources.

  5. In cases of statewide significance involving the integrity of the State Plan and the goals of smart growth, the State Attorney General is hereby directed, in consultation with the Smart Growth Policy Council, to defend and/or intervene on behalf of municipalities, counties or regional planning entities that have adopted plans that have been endorsed by the State Planning Commission or that are consistent with major smart growth objectives.

  6. Prior to the adoption, amendment or repeal of any rule adopted pursuant to Section 4(a) of the Administrative Procedure Act, each agency shall include a Smart Growth Impact Statement, which shall describe the impact of the proposed rule on the achievement of smart growth and implementation of the State Plan. The Smart Growth Policy Council shall also recommend guidelines for the state agencies to regularly review and consider the smart growth impacts of their major actions.

  7. The agencies represented on the Council shall undertake a review of their respective spending programs and rules and regulations to ensure that their actions are consistent with the principles of smart growth and the State Plan and report to the Council on their findings.

  8. This Executive Order shall take effect immediately.

    GIVEN under my hand and seal, this
    Thirty First day of January in the Year of
    Our Lord, Two Thousand and Two and
    of the United States, the Two Hundred and

    s/ James E. McGreevey


/s/Paul A. Levinsohn
Chief Counsel to the Governor