NJ towns balance traffic worries against new development
Is it happening where you live?
New townhouse, home and apartment developments are being built all over New Jersey, especially in areas along major roadways that are already congested.
“The building boom is happening because we are enjoying a bounce-back from the recession, as well as post-Sandy construction,” said Mike Cerra, assistant executive director of the New Jersey State League of Municipalities.
“They tend to pop up along areas that are well populated, areas along highways and near centers of population as well," he said.
So, who’s making these decisions, especially if the new developments will cause big traffic problems?
“In most cases it’s governed at the local level, the municipal land use law permits a municipality in its master plan to include a circulation plan element,” he said.
Cerra explained planning and zoning boards will review applications and sometimes they do get rejected because of traffic safety issues.
“There are a number of competing interests: There’s affordable housing policies; there’s environmental policy; as well where you might want to steer development away from portions of the town that might have some environmental constraints. It’s really a case by case basis.”
Cerra agreed the situation can be very challenging at times.
“We are very densely populated and we have industries and we have jobs and people need to be located near jobs. But we also have to maintain roads and have the funding to do so,” he said. “There are dozens and dozens of equations that factor into a final determination.”
“Areas that are already densely populated, that already have jobs and industry might be bringing on more, and we have to think five, 10, 15, 30 years ahead."
Contact reporter David Matthau at David.Matthau@townsquaremedia.com