On Wednesday, following months of research, input gathering and listening sessions, the New Jersey State Planning Commission adopted its Warehouse Siting Guidance.
The document was developed by the Office of Planning Advocacy in the Department of State to create comprehensive guidance for local governments to use when updating their master plans, zoning and development standards, and when reviewing development applications.
Donna Rendeiro, executive director of the office of planning advocacy, said 47 comments were received from different stakeholders and groups during the 50-day public comment period, which closed July 29.
“While OPA understands the concerns expressed by the public, it is important to keep in mind that we are as much a home rule state as we are a logistics state,” said Rendeiro. “As land-use planning and development review occur predominantly at the local level in New Jersey, our approach has been to provide technical assistance and guidance within the context of sound planning and policy that balances competing needs – including protecting important resources and impacted communities, while ensuring economic growth and viability.”
New Jersey Business Action Center Executive Director Melanie Willoughby and Gregory Larkin, an export promotion specialist, sat down with NJBIZ to talk about what the agency can do for businesses. Click here to watch.
The adoption of the guidelines comes at a critical time for this sector as the explosion of e-commerce has resulted in all-time high demand for warehouse space, especially here in New Jersey. U.S. Census Bureau data released last year found that nearly 12.2% of all jobs located in the Garden State are in the wholesale trade or transportation and warehousing sectors of the economy, the highest rate in the country. The sectors are responsible for 15.7% of New Jersey’s total payroll, also the highest proportion nationwide.
State Planning Commission Chairman Thomas Wright says the guidance encourages cooperation and coordination between agencies, municipalities and counties to take a more regional and capacity-based approach to accommodating industry needs in suitable locations.
“The guidance gives communities the tools they need to proactively plan for and locate desired warehouse development in a manner that makes for good neighbors and avoids these negative impacts,” said Melanie Willoughby, executive director of the state’s Business Action Center.
“The guidance represents the collaborative efforts and input of many state agencies, counties, communities and interests, including what we heard from the public,” said New Jersey Secretary of State Tehesha Way. “I am happy that we were able to balance concerns on both sides of this issue while working to provide implementable solutions that will allow the logistics industry to thrive more sustainably.”
The official guidance can be found here.