Why does NJ allow more development along already crowded roads?
You see it all the time in New Jersey.
Along major roadways that are already congested, new condos, apartment and single-family home developments are continually being built.
One example of this is along Route 206 in Hillsborough.
It makes you wonder if anybody is really considering what kind of an impact these new dwellings will have on traffic and congestion.
According to Mike Cerra, the assistant executive director of the New Jersey League of Municipalities, whenever these situations arise, “most municipalities will require a traffic impact study, particularly for developments that are anticipated to have some sort of significant impact on the area, particularly if it’s a county or state road.”
He said the local land use board usually makes the decision about whether or not to move ahead with this kind of a proposed development project.”
In many instances, even when there’s a traffic study done and a traffic expert testifies that the impact of a proposed development will be minimal, residents later complain about traffic congestion after the project is completed.
Cerra says that's because real-world impact may not have been anticipated.
“When you plan, you plan for the foreseeable future. But sometimes the market changes faster than your planning can,” he said.
“In an area that might not be anticipated to have significant growth or have significant traffic impacts, five or 10 years later the exact opposite might be the case.”
He said if a proposed development is next to a county road, “the county would be provided with a copy of the traffic impact study and would have the opportunity to weigh in on it.”
He also says New Jersey has some competing public policy objectives. For example, while development may be discouraged in areas used for farming or that are environmentally sensitive or in locations of historical significance, “municipalities are under a constitutional obligation to provide for affordable housing, as well as development and infrastructure needs. So it can be a balancing act.”
You can contact reporter David Matthau at David.Matthau@townsquaremedia.com
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