County Public Mtg on Housing Element of Master Plan

Posted on June 16, 2017

The public is invited to learn about and comment on the updated Housing Element of the Somerset County Master Plan at a meeting on Wednesday, June 28, at 6 p.m.

The location will be the third-floor freeholders’ meeting room of the county administration building at 20 Grove St.  For more information and to reserve a seat, contact the county Planning Board at (908) 231-7021 or planningbd@co.somerset.nj.us

The Somerset County Planning Board embarked on the process of updating the 1987 Housing Element of the County Master Plan over a year ago by developing a Housing Trends Assessment Report.

The report documents changing trends and issues affecting housing supply and demand, including economic and demographic forces, policies and regulations, and emerging planning priorities such as the cost-effective and reliable delivery of public infrastructure and services that support healthy lifestyles.

The draft assessment was shared with municipalities, stakeholder groups and the general public and refined to reflect the feedback the Planning Board received. Through this process, the guiding principles, planning objectives and implementation strategies that provide the framework for the draft updated Housing Element emerged.

These draft plan components were presented over the course of the past several months to county and municipal officials and planners, as well as to numerous stakeholder groups such as the Central Jersey Housing Resource Center, Leadership Somerset and the Human Services Advisory Council.

The resulting Draft Somerset County Master Plan-Housing Element document now is posted on the county Planning Board’s website at http://bit.ly/SCHousingElement for public review and comment.

The draft plan is structured around the following six guiding principles:

  • Respond to the changing needs of the county’s population by encouraging a broad range of housing types at all levels of affordability.
  • Create healthy, attractive, walkable neighborhoods with proximity and access to jobs, cultural and recreational amenities, services and transportation choices.
  • Align housing policies and strategies with the principles of regional and local smart growth and sustainability
  • Maximize the dynamic relationship between housing supply, quality of life and the strength of the economy.
  • Support efforts to advance the federal and state Fair Housing Acts and “Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing” requirements.
  • Enable informed housing policy, regulatory and investment decision-making.

 

“A key recommendation in the draft plan emphasizes that residential and mixed-use redevelopment and infill development can catalyze the revitalization of vacant and underutilized commercial and office facilities, make neighborhoods more attractive, and renew and enhance existing infrastructure and utility systems, while also providing workforce housing opportunities that attract and retain both skilled workers and employers,” said Freeholder Deputy Director Patrick Scaglione, county planning board liaison.

Planning Board Chairman Bernard Navatto Jr. describes the draft Housing Element as “a framework for strengthening the county’s housing market, overall economy and desirability as a place to live, work and play, and for meeting the needs of current and future residents.”

The Housing Element includes a link to the County Investment Framework map. The County Investment Framework is the central County Master Plan component that defines areas in the county where policies and investments that support growth and preservation are preferred, and that reinforces local master plan priorities.

For further information, contact Somerset County Planning Director Walter Lane, AICP/PP, at PlanningBd@co.somerset.nj.us or (908) 231-7021.

Source: Somerset County Office of Public Info