N.J. development map to undergo changes

Trenton Times, Friday, April 25, 2003

Gov. James E. McGreevey's so-called "Big Map," which divides the state into color-coded regions slated for growth, cautious development and protection, will be taken off the state's Web site today as administration officials prepare to redraw it.

McGreevey officials will discuss the map's shadings with planners in each of the state's 21 counties over the next several months before adopting a final planning document.

"We don't want to force this down everyone's throat. We'll see where it's right and where it's wrong," said an administration official familiar with the map. "This was always just a first draft."

Patrick O'Keefe, president of the New Jersey Builder's Association, called the map "fraught with errors," charging that administration officials had used outdated information on development patterns in the state to compose it.

"The rush to get it out there was a blunder," O'Keefe said. "The map itself was premature - technologically and statistically defective."

Environmental advocates, who are urging the McGreevey administration to adopt tight controls on development, said the map had already served an important purpose, however.

"The purpose of the map is to raise awareness of where environmental constraints are, and that's been accomplished," said Jeffrey Tittel, director of the New Jersey chapter of the Sierra Club. "Now it's time to get everyone together to implement the regulations on smart growth."